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Boundary Waters named by USA Today as one of the Top Ten Places to Extend the Summer
The Roadless Area Conservation Rule: One Year Later
Statement by Bill Meadows, Wilderness Society President
The Wilderness Society

Jan. 10, 2002--What a difference a year makes. A year ago there was celebration for one of the most sweeping public lands achievement of the past century, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. There was rejoicing for its protection of 58.5 million acres of our most treasured wildlands; and by its implementation, the prospect for clean drinking water for millions of Americans, safe harbor for vanishing wildlife and fish species and immeasurable recreational opportunities for hikers, hunters, and anglers. Yet, as we observe the first anniversary of this landmark policy, we Americans find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of skirmishing with an antagonistic Bush Administration to insure that our pristine wildforests remain an enduring heritage for our children and grandchildren.

While publicly feigning support, the Bush Administration has surreptitiously chipped away at a reasonable and balanced policy through a series of obscure directives. In addition, it has failed to show up in court to defend the Rule even though Attorney General Ashcroft promised to do just that during his confirmation hearings last winter.

It is particularly disturbing that the Administration would choose to pursue such a zealous path against one of the most broadly popular environmental measures in American history. Participatory democracy shaped the Roadless Rule, confirming the value of public opinion in the management of our public lands. More than 2 million Americans responded when asked to comment on this policy, with at least 90% in favor of the strongest protections possible for these pristine areas. Extensive grassroots involvement nationwide included more than 600 public meetings held by the Forest Service in 37 states, many on, or in communities near, National Forests. Numerous polls, cutting across regional and political lines, have consistently affirmed this steadfast support as well.

So why at a time when the public has been so forthcoming in its support of the President's fight against terrorism, is his Administration turning a deaf ear to Americans' unwavering desire to see the our country's natural treasures protected? Could it be to placate those who contributed so generously to the President's 2000 campaign coffers and stand to benefit by the policy's demise? Could it also be that the people he has entrusted with being stewards of our natural treasures are too close to those same special interests of logging, mining, and oil and gas companies?

Protection of the last 30 percent of our National Forests' wildlands is an admirable achievement for all Americans that honors future generations and their need for open space and wild places. President Bush should stand with the American people and implement the January 12, 2001, Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

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2002 Roadless Area Archives:

Implementation of Roadless Area Urged

Jan 10 Roadless Anniversary

Jan 4 Reconsider ATV Trail

2001 Roadless Area Archives:

Sept 5 Roadless Input Needed

Aug 22 Roadless Input Needed

Aug 20 OHV User Group Forming

Aug 8 Threatening BWCA

Aug 8 Input Needed

June 28 Dayton to Overturn

April 26 Roadless Appeal

April 11 OHV Legislation

March 28 Roadless

March 23 Roadless at Risk

March 13 ATV

March 12 Wild Alert

2000 Roadless Archives:

Proposed Roadless Mtgs

Roadless Area Proposal

Additional Information