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.

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