Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
  Site search Web search


Boundary Waters named by USA Today as one of the Top Ten Places to Extend the Summer


Wilderness Society, May 10, 2001

On May 10, Idaho Federal District Judge Edward Lodge issued a preliminary injunction stopping the Forest Service from enforcing the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.  The Wilderness Society and other environmental intervenors in the case immediately filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals in San Francisco seeking a reversal of Lodge's decision.

While the injunction remains in effect, the Forest Service could begin building new roads into roadless areas for timber sales, oil drilling, and other projects.  It is unclear at this time whether the agency will do so, given the administration's announcement last week that it is committed to roadless protection.

On May 4, the Bush Administration announced it would allow the roadless conservation rule to go forward, but that it would propose new amendments to the rule in June.

The amendments that the administration intends to propose in June would greatly weaken the roadless area protection in the current rule. According to the administration's press release, the amendments will be based on five principles.

**1. "Informed decision-making...through the local forest planning process." The failure of local forest planning to protect roadless areas is the main reason for the Roadless Rule. Under current forest plans, 59% of the inventoried roadless areas are open to road construction (34.3
million acres out of 58.5 million). As Forest Service Chief Bosworth has stated, "From my perspective, it makes sense that the issue of whether or not to build roads into roadless areas is a matter of public policy as opposed to a forest planning question. For us to try to grind through forest plans once again with the roadless issue overshadowing everything else doesn't make sense" (The battle over roads; Missoulian; June 18, 2000; Sherry Devlin).

**2. Working together with states and local communities.  With more than 1.6 million comments, the current Roadless Rule was developed with the most public participation in the history of federal rulemaking. More than 1,000 comments came from people in each of the 50 states. Local decision-making consistently undervalues the national interest in roadless areas. The administration's proposal would allow the clear wishes of the American public for roadless area conservation to be overridden by a relative handful of development-oriented local residents and officials.

**3. Protecting roadless forests from fire and insects.  This appears to be a veiled threat to conduct extensive salvage logging in the roadless areas. There is no scientific justification to salvage log roadless areas, which typically are the healthiest parts of the forest.

**4. Protecting communities and property from fire. The Roadless Rule and EIS process have already dealt extensively with this issue and arrived at a reasonable compromise that balances the potential benefits and risks.
While thinning overly dense stands of small trees may reduce fire risk, building access roads into roadless areas will increase fire risk. The Forest Service does not intend even to begin fuel reduction work in roadless areas for at least another decade, since they are located far from homes and communities.

**5. Protecting access to property.  Access to state and private land inholdings is a non-issue, but opponents of the Roadless Rule have somehow failed to realize or admit it. The Forest Service has made it very clear that the Roadless Rule has no effect on access. Roadless areas are no
different from any other national forest lands regarding inholder access.

Click Here for More BWCA News

Free Shipping & No Sales Tax on $40 or More!
Your Banner Could be Here

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