Juneau is Alaska's capital city and the third largest city in the state. Juneau is a robust southeast Alaska city in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, which encompasses roughly 17 million acres and extends 500 miles northward along the Pacific coastline. The city rests at the base of majestic mountains overlooking the Gastineau Channel.
The Tracy Arm Fjord provides views of spectacular glaciers such as the Mendenhall Glacier, located just 13 miles from downtown Juneau, is roughly 100 feet high and 1.5 miles wide. Glaciers are also found at the Juneau Icefield and Glacier Bay National Park.
One of the largest concentrations of brown bears and nesting bald eagles can be found at Admiralty Island National Monument, just south of Juneau.
The Juneau Group of the Sierra Club Alaska is working to protect this pristine paradise and many other areas of Alaska through the Alaska Rainforest Conservation Act
In Memory of:
Dr. Clifford Dale Lobaugh
The Man Who Loved Admiralty Island
A founder of the Juneau Group of the Sierra Club, Dr. Clifford Dale Lobaugh, known as Cliff to his friends and family, passed away on Jan. 5, 2011. He was 74 years old.
Cliff was the first, and for many years, the only veterinarian in Southeast Alaska and he spread his practice into the Yukon Territory and Northern British Columbia. He held weekend clinics in communities that needed a veterinarian, including communities that were not, to say the least, pro-environment. This was helpful, because in the 1970’s Cliff was a leader in efforts to stop the largest timber sale in our nation’s history, a 8.5 billion board feet sale to fuel a new pulp mill. This sale would have devastated Admiralty Island and much of the other lands adjacent to Juneau. The pro-loggers did hate Cliff’s environmental stances against logging, but as Cliff said, even land skinners love their dogs, and therefore they needed him and they weren’t going to try to get rid of him. So as Cliff said, as the only veterinarian in Southeast Alaska, he was insulated from the land skinner’s “Sierra Go Home” campaign.
Stopping a new pulp mill was not the end of Cliff’s working to protect Admiralty Island and the Tongass National Forest. He led conservation efforts to seek Wilderness status for Admiralty Island, he worked to stop the devastation being done from the existing pulp mills, and he worked to get roadless protection for the Tongass, to name just a few of his successful efforts. Because of this Cliff received the Sierra Club’s Special Achievement Award in 1982.
Cliff’s passion for protecting Admiralty Island went beyond just stopping logging on the island. Cliff actually owned over 200 acres of the island. When he was asked to use it for a tourist destination point, in partnership with a tourist company, he refused to do it. Instead in the later years of his life he put into his will that his land be put into a conservation easement to stop future development, but would still allow his family to enjoy the place as he has.
Cliff loved his piece of the island and spent a lot of his time there pursuing another of his highest passions, which beside story telling, was gardening. He was a master gardener and was fond of raising primroses, and was a member of the Primrose Society. Cliff gave presentations at local and state wide conferences, but he did not sell his primroses, he gave them away to whoever asked for them, including me. Not only is my backyard full of Cliff’s primroses, they have spread into gardens all over Southeast Alaska. When spring comes and the primroses raise up from the ground, I am always reminded of Cliff.
Cliff did have a weird side. He would disagree with people, with the Forest Service, with other environmentalists, but never in an insulting way. Maybe this was because he was a veterinarian and saw these people from a different perspective than some of us do. After all, someone who loves their dogs can’t be all that bad.
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