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Nationwide Launch of “Understory: A Journey Through the Tongass”

A New Film That Traverses Alaska's Temperate Rainforest

    Poster by Lawrence Lander with photography by Colin Arisman and Gleb Mikhalev

    SITKA, ALASKA (December 9th 2021) — Understory: A Journey Through the Tongass follows a young fisherman, Elsa Sebastian, on a 350-mile coastal expedition of last stands of old-growth temperate rainforest in the Tongass National Forest. Joined by biologist Dr. Natalie Dawson and botanical illustrator Mara Menahan, the three women confront the destruction of clearcut logging and document the wild beauty of an ancient ecosystem, home to salmon spawning habitats.

    The nationwide launch of the film, which occurred on December 7th, coincides with the start of a 60-day comment period on the publication of a proposal to repeal the 2020 Alaska Roadless Rule. Through January 22, 2022, all U.S. citizens can participate in the commenting period urging the Biden administration to restore protections to the Tongass.

    Lying in our “backyard” in Sitka, the Tongass National Forest is a globally significant coastal rainforest ecosystem that plays a vital role in sustaining the wild salmon of Southeast Alaska. The Tongass also lends a big hand in combating climate change, sequestering more than 40% of the carbon stored in all the national forests in the United States. 

    “Sitka [Seafood Market] is proud to have supported the cause of Tongass protection for many years by helping to spread the word to our members, weighing in as a business, and donating to causes like the Understory film through our 1% For The Wild Fund,” said Kelly Harrell, Chief Fisheries Officer. “The Roadless Rule and protection of the Tongass directly benefits our thousands of members and many other businesses, fishermen, seafood consumers, and Alaskans that rely on healthy fisheries and the clean waters of Southeast Alaska.”

    Watch the film on December 7th and submit comments to the Biden Administration to restore protections to the Tongass by January 22nd:

    • Watch for free on YouTube:
    • Take action and send a message to the U.S. Forest Service. You can submit electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
    • Mail to: Alaska Roadless Rule, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 21628, Juneau, Alaska 99802–1628
    • Hand Delivery / Courier to: Alaska Roadless Rule, USDA Forest Service, 709 W. 9th Street, Juneau, Alaska 99802
    • Email:

    Understory: A Journey Through the Tongass is a film by Wild Confluence Media and Last Stands, and is presented by Peak Design with support from Sitka Seafood Market's 1% For The Wild Fund, Audubon Alaska, The Wilderness Society, and Patagonia.