Sharon Cissna remembers how outraged she was when, as an inexperienced yet overly confident 25-year-old, she discovered that a logging operation was planned for the Indian Valley, an area she admired for its beauty.
For years, Indian Valley had been a favorite among locals for hiking and backcountry exploration. It had been part of Chugach National Forest, but the federal government had recently made it available to Alaska under the statehood act.
A proposed logging project could put an end to the wilderness experience that Cissna and her hiking buddies enjoyed. Clear-cutting, she feared, would jeopardize old-growth spruce and harm the natural landscape.
Fortunately, that naive confidence made Cissna and her friends oblivious to the odds stacked against them. They organized late-night meetings and built consensus with everyone from city hydrologists to geologists to local politicians, creating a mountain of paperwork they took to the legislature.
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