Forest Service Directives Attempt To Open Up Roadless
Areas - Comments Due February 19th, 2002
January 2, 2001
On December 14th the Forest Service implemented several
new interim directives that will continue the Bush Administration'S
efforts to undermine protections put in place by the
Clinton Administration, including the National Forest
Roadless Area Conservation Rule. On the day that the
Clinton Policy was adopted by the Forest Service, last
January 12th, a new Transportation Policy was implemented
that included additional protections for areas not covered
by the Roadless Conservation Rule.
Under the a smokescreen of the need to remove ôredundanciesö
in the rules, the directives are a plain and simple attempt
to reopen our
National Forest roadless areas to logging. The directives
will last 18 months.
The new directives:
1. Eliminate the requirement that there must be a ôcompelling
needö to build roads in roadless areas;
2. Gives the Forest Service added discretion to determine
if an environmental impact statement will be needed,
and all small and uninventoried roadless areas that border
wilderness or inventoried areas will lose special protection;
3. Weaken protections of old growth in roadless areas.
Under the directives, logging and road building projects
in roadless areas are subject to approval by the Forest
Service Chief or Regional Foresters until local forest
managers complete a vague ôroads analysisö that would
meet a lower standard - that a road meets a documented
needö and forest plans are updated. Forests with revised
plans, such as AlaskaÆs Tongass National Forest, are
exempt from Chief-level review.
Earlier this year the Sate of Idaho and several timber
corporations, including Boise Cascade Corporation brought
suits to stop the protection of over 58 million acres
of roadless National Forest Land that would result if
the Clinton [Policy were put in force. Resolution of the
legal battles may take years. In the meantime the Bush
Administration is seeking other ways to eliminate protections.
Just this week Forest Chief Dale Bosworth and Agriculture
Undersecretary Mark Rey used ôfire salvageö and ôrestorationö
loopholes to open up over 46,000 acres, with over 50%
in roadless wildlands and endangered fish habitat, in
MontanaÆs Bitterroot National Forest.
A 60-day public comment period on the new directives
was announced in the Federal Register on December 20th.
Comments are due February 19,2002.
Send them to:
USFS CAT, Attention: Road Policy, P.O. Box 221150, Salt
Lake City, UT,
84122; via e-mail to email@example.com;
or via facsimile to USFS CAT,
Attention: Road Policy, at 801-517-1021.
* Please demand that the Forest Service cease any attempts
to undermine protections on our National Forest roadless
areas as provided by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule
and the Transportation Policy adopted last January.
* Urge the Forest Service and Administration to not
renege on their promise to uphold protections for roadless
* Our National Forests currently contain over 383,000
miles of roads and the maintenance backlog on that road
system now exceeds $8 billion dollars. The Forest Service
should eliminate roads not build new ones.
* These directives continue the Forest Service policy
of turning over all roadless area management decisions
to the local forest planning process, which has favored
logging and other development of roadless areas. This
marks a return to the same failed management policy that
created the need for the Roadless Area Conservation Rule
in the first place.
Thank you for taking time to submit comments