ALERT: Roadless Rule

Clinton’s original Roadless Rule would have contained three classifications for recreation. Primitive, semi-primitive, and non-primitive. Only the areas designated as non-primitive would have remained open for motorized recreation. This would have literally turned the primitive and semi-primitive areas into de-facto wilderness areas. That is why U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer ruled┬áin July, 2003┬áthat the 58.5 million acres of roadless areas nationwide was a “thinly veiled attempt to designate ‘wilderness areas’ in violation of the clear and unambiguous process established by the Wilderness Act.”

Now here comes Bush’s version of the Roadless Rule. Although not nearly as painful as Clinton’s proposal, even with Bush’s new roadless policy, motorized recreation is far from being out of the woods. The new Roadless Rule “would establish administrative procedures to allow a Governor to petition the Secretary of Agriculture to undertake future rulemaking for the management of inventoried roadless areas within a specific State“. In some conservative minded states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming,┬ápetitions for roadless areas would┬ámost likely not occur, but in the more liberal states of California, Oregon and Washington, watch out!

Even if you are from some of these more conservative states,┬á and your state┬áGovernor does not petition the Secretary of Agriculture as the new policy would allow, the roadless areas will then be dealt with during the next Forest Plan Revision. The new rule states “Until promulgation of the 2001 roadless rule, the Forest Service managed roadless areas based on individual forest plans. Forest plans have been developed for each unit of the NFS through a public notice and comment process, building on years of scientific findings and extensive public involvement in forest planning. Forest plans typically identify and recommend areas that would be appropriate to be designated as wilderness by the Congress, and provide guidance on activities and uses in these areas“.

Most of you know my opinion on these forest plan revisions, I believe the forest service plans to convert much of these roadless areas into Recommended Wilderness Areas. See my article called “The Common Thread – Forest Plan Revisions and so-called Wilderness Areas“.

Please write a comment letter regarding Bush’s new roadless policy. It can be read in full at:

Public comments must be received in writing by September 14, 2004.

Written comments on the proposed rule may be sent by the following methods.

      Content Analysis Team
      ATTN: Roadless State Petitions
      USDA Forest Service
      P.O. Box 221090
      Salt Lake City , UT 84122

Fax: (801) 517-1014

Thanks for taking the time to comment on this proposal.

Snowmobile Alliance of Western States