Paper pub. date
January 2005
ISBN 9780870710568 (paperback)
352 pages. Illustrations. Bibliography. Index.


Pulp Politics and the Fight for the Alaska Rain Forest
Second Edition
Kathie Durbin

The fate of the Tongass National Forest is one of today's most closely watched environmental issues. Praised by Publishers Weekly as a "blow-by-blow account of a messy controversy and an impressive example of thorough journalism," Kathie Durbin's acclaimed volume is now available in an expanded edition that updates the story of this remote, wild, beautiful land.

After World War II, the U.S. government lured two pulp companies to Southeast Alaska by promising them low-cost timber from the Tongass National Forest, the planet's largest coastal temperate rain forest. The mills brought jobs and growth to a sparsely settled region. They also wreaked ecological havoc and created a timber industry that broke labor unions, drove competitors out of business, and controlled politicians and the U.S. Forest Service. It took a national campaign, led by grassroots environmentalists, to bring sanity and sustainability to management of the Tongass.

In her insightful account of Alaska's era of pulp, Durbin draws on the voices of the people most affected: independent loggers who fought back when the pulp companies conspired to drive them out of business; courageous biologists who warned that logging was destroying critical fish and wildlife habitat; Tlingit Indians who saw their traditional hunting grounds vanish; young activists and lawyers who found their lives transformed by the battle for the Alaska rain forest.

In this new edition, Durbin updates the story of the Tongass with a new chapter describing political and economic developments since 1999. Among the changes: a dramatic growth in cruise ship tourism, a new governor's plan for a system of roads and bridges to link remote Southeast Alaska communities, and a renewed push by the Forest Service under a timber-friendly administration in Washington, D.C., to open vast roadless areas to logging. Yet the fight for the Alaska rain forest is becoming a broader movement as appreciation for the true value of the region's wilderness grows.

About the author

Kathie Durbin was an award-winning journalist who worked at the Eugene Register-Guard, Willamette Week, The Oregonian, and The Columbian. She is also the author of Tree Huggers: Victory, Defeat, and Renewal in the Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign and Tongass: Pulp Politics and the Fight for the Alaska Rain Forest (OSU Press). She was born in Eugene and lived in Oregon for most of her life.

Read more about this author

"Tongass is an important, revealing history of corporate harvesting of America's largest, and last, great rain forest… This is advocacy at its best, based on the evidence, tough and honest, and marvelously written."

—Stephen Haycox, author of Frigid Embrace: Politics, Economics, and Environment in Alaska

Sign Up for Our Newsletter