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Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Nov 29th, 2004

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

For Immediate Release Nov. 29, 2004 Contact: Sean Wherley (612) 332-9630

Superior National Forest Deserves Better Protection Threats to wildlife, wild places spur management appeal MINNEAPOLIS – Conservationists challenged the new management plan for Superior National Forest last Friday, saying that wildlife and wild places deserve better protection under the decades-long schedule for logging and road building in the forest.

The administrative appeal asks the U.S. Forest Service to do a better job of protecting wildlife and wild lands in Superior National Forest. Under the new management plan released in August, logging will increase in areas near the Boundary Waters, and threaten 90,000 acres of remaining wild lands.

Conservationists say the plan suffers from a ‘reality gap’ because it sets goals for more old, natural forests and protecting wildlife like the Canada lynx and songbirds, but in reality it moves backward on these goals.

“Wildlife like the Canada lynx and gray wolf have a place in Minnesota’s northern forests and this gift to the logging industry doesn’t protect them,” said Clyde Hanson, conservation chair of the Sierra Club North Star Chapter.

Under the forest plan, some of Minnesota’s last remaining wild lands will be opened to logging and road building. These special places in Superior National Forest include roadless areas near Seven Beaver Lake and Hog Lake. Seven Beaver is the headwaters for the St. Louis River, a source of drinking water for Duluth. The area near Hog Lake comprises 200 acres of some of our last cathedral white and red pine that are more than 100 years old.

“These remaining wild lands are less than five percent of Superior National Forest, yet their protection is crucial toward preserving the state’s outdoor heritage of hunting, fishing, and paddling,” said Melissa Lindsay, executive director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “Once these lands are logged and covered by roads, people will stop coming to such areas because no one wants to camp in a clearcut.”

Groups joining the appeal include the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, American Lands Alliance, and Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness.

To learn more about the appeal, visit www.northstar.sierraclub.org.

Earlier this month, the last of more than 26,000 Minnesotans submitted comments to the Forest Service urging the agency to protect the remaining wild forest lands in Minnesota and across the country. This outpouring of support built upon the more than 2,500 comments Minnesotans submitted to Superior National Forest last year in support of more wilderness designation.

In May, the Forest Service recommended wilderness protection for 15,000 acres in Wisconsin and 24,000 acres in South Dakota.

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness released a study last year identifying nearly 90,000 acres in Superior National Forest in need of wilderness protection. View a map of the areas the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness recommended for wilderness protection.

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