Forest Service Needlessly Excludes Public From Site Of Forest Rescue Station In The Tongass
This Forest Rescue Station is highlighting a national crisis - the loss of treasures like the Alaskan rainforest" said Jeremy Paster, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. "For the sake of future generations, we will not leave.
On the second day of a protest against
roadbuilding and industrial logging in endangered forests,
Greenpeace activists are holding their ground at the Tonka Log
Transfer facility and the Finger Point Timber Sale on Kupreanof
Island. This morning more than a dozen law enforcement officers
from the Forest Service and Alaska State Troopers arrived on the
scene and ordered the protesters to leave. The activists are solid in
their commitment to maintain the blockade and are refusing to leave
the Forest Rescue Station. Media wishing to visit the site can
request a permit from the Forest Service to enter a "designated
media location" near the protest.
"This Forest Rescue Station is highlighting a national crisis - the loss
of treasures like the Alaskan rainforest" said Jeremy Paster,
Greenpeace Forest Campaigner. "For the sake of future
generations, we will not leave."
The order, signed by Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest
Cole, reads in part, "To ensure the safety of the protestors [sic], the
general public and road construction personnel, the road systems
and associated timber sale units will be closed until further notice."
Paster dismissed the idea that the Forest Rescue Station threatened
the safety of anyone.
"It is ridiculous for the Forest Service to close this area under the
guise of 'safety'," he said. "Safety is the paramount concern in any
Greenpeace protest and we would never do anything to place others
in jeopardy. Our peaceful protest is directed solely at logging
operations and is not interfering with those who want to use the area
for recreational purposes. Yesterday, hunters passed in and out of
this area without any problems, and this morning some local
residents visited us to show their support. This move to close the
area to the public is clearly a ploy by authorities to distract from the
real issue: the decimation of our endangered forests."
The activists, including seven Alaskans, launched the Forest
Rescue Station yesterday by blocking logging roads near the Finger
Point Timber Sale. They are demanding an end to industrial logging
in public forests across the country. The protest is the first forest
occupation in the Tongass.
Contact: Nancy Hwa, Greenpeace Media Officer currently in
Southeast Alaska, (907) 209-7580.