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2001 Roadless Rule Directive

Trip date: 05/28/2009
Reported by: Jeff Lambert



Background: The 2001 roadless rule was an administrative rule approved by the Clinton administration after years of scientific study and public input. It became the most popular rule in U.S. history. (More than 1.7 million people submitted comments to the government in support of the rule.) The rule originally protected some 58.5 million acres of unroaded forests, keeping them free from road building, logging, mining and other destructive activities. For most of the past eight years, the rule that has protected these forests – the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule – has survived on-going legal attacks. The Spokane Mountaineers have joined with many other organizations across the country to repel these attempts to weaken protection for our roadless forests. Until today, the numerous court battles had left the majority of roadless forests vulnerable to road building and logging.

The Roadless Rule that protects unroaded National Forest land has been in litigation since introduced in 2001. So over the years, sometimes courts have allowed or not allowed the rule to be enforced. The Obama administration has issued an interim directive that would stop local forest supervisors from approving future development projects on roadless forests without consent from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The goal is to limit the ability of local supervisors to approve road building, mining and logging projects in all states with roadless forests except Idaho.

The Spokane Mountaineers worked hard for strong protections for roadless forest areas under the 2001 Roadless Rule. About 49 million acres across the country were protected under the Rule. The Rule would protect the Pacific Northwest’s beloved roadless forests that provide vibrant habitat for fish and wildlife, clean drinking water for communities and outstanding recreational opportunities for the Spokane region. They deserve protection under the 2001 Roadless Rule including the 9.3 million acres in Idaho.

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