ALERT: SJM 8031 – Requesting federal action on inventoried roadless areas

SAWS Action Alert

Please send a short letter or email to your Washington State Representative and Senator as soon as possible and let them know that you oppose SJM 8031 as it is not recreation friendly. There will be a hearing in Olympia on Monday, January 30th, on this bill, so immediate action on your part is requested. Sorry for the late notice.

This alert is going out to our SAWS members in Washington State. Although I do not believe SJM 8031 has any real legal authority, the fact that our state legislation may pass this bill will lead government officials in Washington D.C. to believe that many residents in Washington State support President ClintonÔÇÖs original 2001 Roadless Rule. We need to educate our elected officials in this state on exactly what this illegal Roadless Rule would really mean to outdoor recreationists in this state and beyond if it were enacted.

State Senator Ken Jacobson (D-46) from north Seattle has introduced SJM 8031 requesting that President Bush, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Secretary of Agriculture adopt President ClintonÔÇÖs 2001 Roadless Rule for the nearly 2 million acres of so-called roadless lands within Washington State. I strongly encourage our SAWS members that live within Senator JacobsonÔÇÖs district to let him know what you think of this bill – in a professional manner please. I also hope that the rest of our SAWS members in this state will let their state Representatives and Senators know what they think of this bill.

On a related subject, I am trying to arrange for a meeting with the forest service in Cle Elum to discuss how much of the current Roadless areas in the Colville, Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests will be recommended for wilderness designation and how these areas will be managed for motorized recreation. Would some of you be interested in attending such a meeting at the Cle Elum Ranger District office on a weekday evening around 7 PM? I am thinking a Thursday might be good, and then some of us could go sledding on the following Friday. Please reply to this email if you are interested and I will inform you of the final date/time.

Some of you may recall my recent editorial titled ÔÇ£Western Governors Support Clinton Roadless RuleÔÇØ. My editorial provided some insight as to what our elected officials in the western United States are attempting to achieve with federal public land within their states that are currently considered roadless lands.

Look up your state Representative and Senator here:

Below are a few comments you may wish to include in your letter/email: 

  • Clinton’s 2001 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, and the non-primitive classified areas were in the minority. This would have literally turned the primitive and semi-primitive areas into de-facto wilderness areas.´┐¢
  • U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer ruled in July 2003 that the 58.5 million acres of roadless areas nationwide (which includes the 2 million acres in Washington State) was a “thinly veiled attempt to designate ‘wilderness areas’ in violation of the clear and unambiguous process established by the Wilderness Act.” Only the Congress has the authority to designate land as wilderness.´┐¢
  • Washington State already contains more than 4.3 million acres of designated wilderness area that is off limits to multiple-use and all forms of mechanical recreation, which does not allow mountain bike riding, snowmobiling, OHV use, and automobile viewing of wildlife and/or camping with your RV.´┐¢
  • Forest land that does not contain some minimal level of roads can not be properly managed to fight forest fires and/or contain beetle infestations that can destroy millions of acres of forest land.┬á┬á

Please let you elected officials in Washington State know where you stand on this bill.

Dave Hurwitz
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Full text of SJM 8031 is copied below


State of Washington 59th Legislature 2006 Regular Session

By Senator Jacobsen

Read first time 01/13/2006. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources, Ocean & Recreation.


We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

WHEREAS, Washington state contains over nine million acres of national forest land; and

WHEREAS, Washington state has an interest in preserving,

1protecting, and perpetuating the wildlife and fish resources of the state and in protecting the quality and quantity of water resources within the state; and

WHEREAS, On January 12, 2001, the Department of Agriculture adopted regulations, hereafter known as the 2001 roadless rule, generally prohibiting road construction, reconstruction, and timber harvest on certain national forest lands, known as inventoried roadless areas, because of the likelihood such activities would impact resources that provide such values as clean drinking water and habitat for threatened and endangered species; and

WHEREAS, Washington state contains a total of roughly two million acres of inventoried roadless areas in the Olympic, Mount Baker – Snoqualmie, Gifford Pinchot, Wenatchee, Okanogan, Colville, and Umatilla National Forests; and

WHEREAS, On May 13, 2005, the protections for inventoried Roadless areas adopted in 2001 were repealed and replaced by a process under which individual states may petition the Secretary of Agriculture to adopt requirements for the management of all, or any portion of, inventoried roadless areas within the state; and

WHEREAS, The petition process adopted by the Department of Agriculture requires that all petitions be submitted by November 13, 2006, and that such petitions include analysis of the impacts of present and recommended federal land management practices on states and state policies, including effects on state conservation policies and fish and wildlife resources; and

WHEREAS, On November 1, 2005, the Governor of the state of

Washington requested that the Secretary of Agriculture create a streamlined process by which states can opt to retain the protections of the 2001 roadless rule for inventoried roadless areas within the state. Such a process would simplify the protection of inventoried roadless areas and save administrative costs to both states and the federal government;

NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the federal government, by legislation or by regulation, either reinstate the protections of the 2001 roadless rule for all inventoried roadless areas or adopt a streamlined process by which states can opt to retain the protections of the 2001 roadless rule for inventoried Roadless areas within their boundaries.

BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.