Conservationists sees positives for Tongass in spending bill

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Conservation groups say a spending package negotiated by congressional leaders upholds protections for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

    The Alaska Wilderness League says the bill does not include a previously discussed provision that would have exempted the Tongass from federal restrictions on road-building and timber harvests in roadless areas.

    The group says the spending proposal also does not include language that would undo a planned transition from old-growth logging in the forest.

    Andy Moderow, with the Alaska Wilderness League, says the bill, if passed, would allow for sustainable management of the Tongass. The Tongass, in southeast Alaska, is the country's largest national forest.

    But he noted there could be future bills or administrative processes that could affect how the forest is managed.

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