Top Ten Ancient Forests of the United States

Tongass Forest, Alaska

The largest temperate rain forest in the United States, indeed in the world, is also the least protected. President Clinton had declared a moratorium on roadbuilding in all the extensive roadless areas of the national forests—all, that is, except for the Tongass. This leaves a 17-million-acre sleeping giant, vulnerable to massive clear-cutting and irreparable erosion.

The forest really is a trackless wilderness, with only a modest 600 miles of trail, much of that hardly used. Most of the trails can be found near the small communities along the Inside Passage. Perhaps the forest is best experienced on the coastal islands. The Kootznoowoo Wilderness on Admiralty Island is a good pick to experience the spruce-hemlock rain forest with pockets of boggy muskeg.

More on the Tongass National Forest



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