Impacts and opportunities: logging roads of Northeast Chichagof
Visits to Hoonah rank among the highlights of my year. Especially so in late June, 2021, as this was my first trip away from homeground Áak’w Aaní since onset of covid. Planes and ferries felt surreal!
From downtown Hoonah to the distal ends of its logging-road system is about a 2-hour drive, one-way. We hear a lot—and rightfully so—about environmental impacts of roads, failing culverts, and associated liabilities of damaged forests and streams. At a time when every voice in our choir unites in complaint about that other, rogue, congregation, habitués of this website might be less apt to hear about how cool roads are.
When Bob Christensen and I, piloting the Ground-truthing Project, first started zipping down logging roads on rented 4-wheelers (he now owns em 🙂 ) he started to tease me that Cathy and I should take a 2-week ORV vacation on the mutilated timberlands of Lingít Aaní. It was beginning to occur to us that adventurous Southeasterners invariably sought the least damaged corners of the archipelago for “Recreation.” We named these play-destinations unproductive leftovers, as opposed to logged-&-roaded hammered gems that the GT Project prioritized. Understandable, I guess, that urban conservationists might not think of exploring the ‘working forest’ on their hard-earned free time, preferring Wilderness, undefiled by sounds of chainsaws. The consequence, however, is that most conservation voters have little personal experience in the richest provinces and watersheds of our bioregion, and may strongly undervalue them.
Within a year of Bob’s challenge, Cathy and I took his advice, 4-wheeling out to Kalgáxwk’u Geeyi, floating pumice bay (Shelikof), on L’úx Yadaa, around the face of Edgecumbe (Kruzof Island). Well, okay. It was actually an invasive-plant survey, not a ‘vacation.’ But to naturalists, work and play are unhelpful distinctions.
I’ve posted an 8-minute slideshow about the 2021 visit. You can play it—and an earlier one about wildlife encounters—from the page on Roads of ‘Northeast Chich’