THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1985, I began a 2-year commission to explore the Tongass rainforest, the largest forest in the United States Forest Service (USFS) system AND the largest temperate rainforest in the world. It was a unique, old-growth environment under siege from industrial logging. The resulting investigative book I published helped to pass the Tongass Timber Reform Bill, protect 1,000,000 acres of old-growth, and create 11 new wilderness areas. This is the story of how that was achieved.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
THE TONGASS, #26: Everyone was excited to go ashore and meet Stan and “his” bears. The weather was clear for the moment, so we ate breakfast quickly, donned our gear, and climbed into the skiffs. We were at a mid-tide, so we had to be conscientious about where we beached the boats, but after finding the appropriate spot, we had a short shoreline walk and then we wound around a small grassy knoll to view a broad, beautiful meadow and cove with a sizable river flowing through it. We were standing at the mouth/delta of Pack Creek. From where we stood, the creek separated us from the meadow which made me feel more comfortable, because, sure enough, there were bears in the meadow. Three bear, in fact, a mother grizzly and two cubs - not exactly a group you want provoke. They barely acknowledged our presence, however, and continued to play and roughhouse without missing a beat. As our gaze broadened from watching the bears play, we realized that tucked into a pocket of this cove was a rambling homestead. This is Stan’s “home.” Stan’s actual house does float, as you see here, but Stan has been here SO long he also has quite a few “auxiliary” structures built onshore and a power generator is hidden back in the forest. Stan has lived here alone for many years, and loves the solitude. When asked if he got lonely he said that groups like us stop by to visit, AND he has “breakfast with my bears” everyday. Just out-of-sight to the left, there is also quite a nice strawberry and herb garden which I will tell you more about in the next post. I would visit Stan several times over the years, and I would return for my second visit in just a few weeks, because friends and I would paddle canoes down the Seymour Canal to begin our traverse of Admiralty Island.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
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