Logging supporters begin yellow ribbon campaign

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2000

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce is countering efforts of an environmental group to win the hearts and minds of cruise ship visitors regarding timber development.

The chamber on Wednesday revived a yellow ribbon campaign to symbolize support for resource industries to tourists.

''These (cruise passengers) are being told information that is not correct for our community,'' said Scott Habberstad of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau.

Friends of the Tongass, an environmental organization founded by Ketchikan resident Donna Anderson, is urging that the nation's largest forest be included in President Bill Clinton's initiative to protect roadless areas.

The Clinton administration has so far excluded the Tongass from a draft version of the roadless initiative -- at least until 2004.

Friends of the Tongass is seeking 20,000 comments in support of including the Tongass. Anderson and other volunteers are talking to residents and cruise ship passengers about the issue.

The Ketchikan chamber launched a yellow ribbon campaign in 1996 to symbolize support for the timber industry's preferred version of a Tongass land management plan. Ribbons also came to symbolize support for a 15-year extension on Ketchikan Pulp Co.'s long-term contract and for resource-based industry in general.

Rachael Moreland, associate director of the Alaska Forest Association, told the Ketchikan Daily News the chamber decided to relaunch the campaign to project a positive image of resource industries.

Moreland said the delay in a decision regarding the Tongass and the roadless initiative is no comfort for business interests.

''If I were the veneer mill (now under construction at Ward Cove), I'd be shaking in my boots,'' Moreland said.

Friends of the Tongass volunteer Martin Lazimy said some studies show that far more money may be earned by tourism operators in standing forests than by logging activities.

''I don't think they're aware that there are a lot of people here locally who support the roadless initiative and want to see the clearcutting on the Tongass end,'' Martin said. ''I'm surprised at how many.''

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