Resource Management

The Tongass is a healthy, abundant place—and it is the responsibility of land managers to keep it that way into the future. Maintaining this wealth while providing opportunities for people to enjoy, subsist, and work is key to the work we do on the Tongass.

Swan Lake Cabin, Petersburg Ranger District Land Use Designations (LUD) Descriptions

The Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) is subdivided and “zoned” into various land use designations (LUDs), similar to city zoning practices, which is how the Forest Service accommodates multiple uses across one land base to meet social, economic, and ecological needs.

Person holding a fish Fisheries and Watershed Management

Wild Alaska salmon is enjoyed worldwide as a premier fish—and much of that salmon comes from streams and lakes on the Tongass. The fisheries and watershed program on the Tongass works to ensure that wild salmon continue to return to abundant, high-quality habitat. Working in partnership with other agencies and non-profits, the Tongass also boasts a world-class habitat restoration and enhancement program.


Brown bear Wildlife

Alaska is known for its abundant wildlife—and the Tongass is no exception. Here, Tongass managers ensure that brown and black bears, wolves, eagles, goshawks, shorebirds, marten, and a myriad of other species will make their home here for years to come.


View of the forest from the water Tongass Young Growth Inventory

The Tongass Young Growth Inventory is part of the forest’s young growth transition plan, which is responsive to the 2013 memorandum by the Secretary of Agriculture instructing the Tongass “to speed the transition away from old-growth timber harvesting and towards a forest industry that utilizes second growth – or young growth – forests.” The State of Alaska and the Forest Service entered into a Challenge Cost-share agreement in June 2015, to complete inventory work associated with the young growth transition. Work towards the transition will include collecting, analyzing, and using forest resource information to implement sound sustainable forest management practices across Southeast Alaska, while offering training and developing job opportunities for rural residents in natural resource fields. For more infomation and to view the story map, click here.


 West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness Wilderness 

Alaska is a wild, intact place, and this is one of the things that people value most about it. In recognition of this, and the exceptional resources found here, Congress has designated almost one third of the Tongass (5.7 million acres) to be managed as wilderness. Wilderness managers monitor the 19 wilderness areas on the Tongass to ensure wilderness values are maintained.


Artifacts from the past Heritage

The cultures of Southeast Alaska are alive and provide meaningful links to our past. Stewarding and protecting important heritage resources is a critical piece of the work managers do on the Tongass.


People fishing in a river Subsistence

Many rural Alaskans, both Native and non-native, obtain basic sustenance from the harvest of wildlife and fish resources, and depend on these resources as part of their history, cultural identify, and community life. Tongass subsistence biologists work with the State, other federal agencies, and native and rural communities to protect and sustainably manage these crucial resources.


Entrance to El Capitan Cave Karst

Karst landscapes feature extensive cave systems, sinkholes, and deep pits, due to soluble carbonate bedrock such as limestone. Geologists on the Tongass are researching, monitoring, and protecting these unique and critical places across the Forest.