About the Forest

Petersburg Lake








Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Coast Mountains and Canadian border on the east, the lush greenery of the Tongass National Forest spans 500 miles of Southeast Alaska. Comprising the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass is a place filled with islands and salmon streams, where towering mountains sweep down into thick old-growth forest and granite cliffs drop into deep fjords.

At roughly the size of West Virginia, the Tongass National Forest is also the largest national forest in the U.S. and home to approximately 70,000 people living in 32 communities, including the state capital, Juneau.

Alaska Natives have continuously inhabited the Tongass for more than 10,000 years, residing with salmon, bears, wolves, eagles, and whales. The first nations include the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. Living from the land is still a way of life here, a cultural tradition as well as a necessity, supported by the abundance of fish and wildlife in the region.

People from all over the world are passionate about the Tongass. The Forest Service strives to find the right balance, so that people may continue to find both inspiration and a way of life in this vast, unparalleled place.


Our Forests Are Alaska banner green letters with tan/brown backdrop, 5 green buttons


The Our Forests Are Alaska campaign showcases the close ties the people, communities and cultures of Southeast Alaska have to the Tongass National Forest. From the harvest of wild Alaska seafood to the clean, renewable energy of hydropower; the sustainable harvest of timber and forest products; and the celebration of cultural ties; the forest supports the Alaskan way of life culturally and economically. Learn more from members of your communities throughout the region who rely on public lands to sustain their businesses, heat their homes, and provide for their families.