SAF Says "Roadless Policy Bad for National Forests"
The U.S. Forest Service Says It Just Ain't So...
From the U.S. Forest Service:
"There are few more irreparable marks we can
leave on the land than to build a road. Our overriding objective is to work with
local people to provide a forest road system that best serves the management
objectives and public uses of national forests and grasslands while protecting
the health of our watersheds."
-- Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck, 1998
From the Society of American Foresters:
News Report Courtesy SAF
By Jeff Ghannam, Editor, The Forestry Source
The Society of American Foresters is disappointed with the roadless area policy announced today by the USDA Forest Service.
"The banning of commercial timber harvesting in roadless areas of national forests is not good for the forests," says Bill Banzhaf, executive vice-president of the Society of American Foresters. "It removes a necessary tool and restricts management that may be necessary for the health of this nations forests. The Forest Service doesnt have to look back beyond last summers catastrophic wildfire season to see the need for active forest management."
The administrations original proposal called for a prohibition on roadbuilding in 43 million acres of roadless areas on national forests. It exempted 8.5 million acres of roadless areas in Alaskas Tongass National Forest in Alaskathe nations largest national forestbecause the Tongass is already covered under a separate forest plan completed in 1999. The original proposal applied to parcels of 5,000 acres or greater and left open the question of how to handle smaller parcels.
In the final proposal released today, the Forest Service has moved away from including roadless areas smaller than 5,000 acres in its policy.
"We were pleased that the Forest Service felt that decisions about roadless areas smaller than 5,000 acres should be made at the local level," says Banzhaf. "However, we do not understand why this logic was not applied to all roadless areas. We maintain that all decisions about roadless areas are best made at the local level."
The final rule released today calls for the prohibition of roadbuilding on at least 49 million acres. It will apply to 58.5 million acres in April 2004 when it includes the Tongass National Forest.
"We are concerned about the future inclusion in the roadless rule of the Tongass National Forest although it has an updated management plan," says Banzhaf. "This reflects an administration that does not have faith in decisions made by local management professionals."
The Society of American Foresters, a non-profit organization, represents more than 17,000 professional foresters and natural resource professionals. It is the premier scientific and educational association representing the profession of forestry in the United States. The Societys primary objective is to advance the science, technology, education, and practice of professional forestry for the benefit of all society.
From the U.S. Press:
"Clinton announced new federal regulations Friday to protect roughly one-third of the national forest system from road building and commercial logging." - CNN News
"The move, covering more than 58 million acres in 39 states, is to be cast by the White House as a capstone in the president's efforts to protect public lands from development." - The New York Times
"Some Republicans already were urging President-elect Bush to scuttle the plan." - USA Today
"Its the biggest move of its kind in US history and it comes in the
final days of the Clinton Administration." - MSNBC
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