I went to a Nov. 14 public hearing on the fate of America’s iconic wilderness in Alaska — the Tongass. The U.S. Forest Service provided six options for future development. The agriculture secretary is likely to greenlight the most extreme alternative: opening 9 million acres of Tongass to logging, much of it old-growth trees hundreds of years old.

Alaska Natives said they were being shoved aside by the federal government, which is able to quantify the forest but doesn’t understand it. We all live in the natural world, and we must learn to live with it, not against it. Or pay the price. The current administration doesn’t recognize that, instead making decisions unilaterally. My impression was that the officials at the hearing were listening but not hearing the people. Until that changes, we’ll all be voices crying in the wilderness, instead of empowered American citizens.

Matthew Liptak, Severn