Did you know that the Tongass National Forest is the world’s largest remaining intact temperate rain forest and the largest national forest in America? I sure didn’t … which just goes to prove that you can learn something every day … and even better if it’s only 8:34 AM.
Here’s the skinny:
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Tongass includes roughly 17,000 miles of clean, undammed creeks, rivers and lakes that provide optimal spawning and rearing conditions for the region’s copious wild Pacific salmon and trout. Each year, abundant wild salmon runs return from the ocean to Tongass streams to spawn and die. In this process, these fish bring nutrients from the productive North Pacific Ocean to the much less nutrient-rich land. Because Tongass ecosystems are sustained by the annual salmon returns, the Tongass is literally a “salmon forest.”
Thinking of that pristine Southeastern Alaska wilderness makes me want to drive all the way to Whole Foods on the other side of town, just for lunch. That place makes me salivate like a black bear eying up a river brimming with spawning salmon. (Which begs the question: have they ever offered carbon offsets as an up-sell at the register?)
There’s no better place to kick off Trivia Tuesday than the Tongass (with a question that’s far from trivial).
What is the biggest threat to the survival of these vital spawning grounds?
- privatization for development
- hydroelectric dams
- new mining activity
- climate change
- all of the above