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|CONTACT:||Ray Massey • email@example.com
P.O. Box 21628, Juneau AK 99802
|August 8, 2008|
Forest Service and Cruise Industry Protect Wilderness Values, Alaska Wildlife and Recreation Experience at Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness
JUNEAU, Alaska- How do you protect a wilderness area and its wildlife while still providing hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers an opportunity to observe its natural wonders? Three Forest Service employees did it at Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness in Southeast Alaska, and they did it by communicating- they had no authority to regulate.
Over the years, Forest Service wilderness rangers received growing numbers of complaints about noise, overcrowding and worsening air quality in the Wilderness. Juneau Ranger District Lead Kayak Ranger Tim Lydon began by working with state and federal agencies to monitor air quality and study seals. He was drawing interest to the problems.
In 2007, the District Wilderness Program Manager Ed Grossman suggested they work with the cruise industry to develop voluntary “best practices” to benefit the resources inTracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. Lydon, Grossman, and District Wilderness Program Leader John Neary met with cruise officials in April 2007 to propose best practices. The list of proposals included:
Cruise representatives asked the Forest Service to develop guidelines and include the small and mid-sized tour operators as well. Once Lydon, Grossman and Neary completed changes, they met with all interested cruising companies and, together, the Forest Service and the industry came up with Wilderness Best Management Practices for vessels within Tracy Arm-Fords Terror.
The Forest Service invited all tour operators in the Wilderness to support the practices and principles. By May 2008, twenty companies were participating in the program.
Lydon, Grossman and Neary succeeded in preserving quiet and solitude, protecting wildlife, and maintaining clean air simply by communicating information to companies that can make a difference in the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness. For their efforts, the group received the Alaska Regional Forester’s 2008 award for Promoting Recreation.