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THE ROADLESS RULE EVOLVES INTO TEN FAMOUS QUESTIONS... AND YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED BY SEPTEMBER 10!

The "long and short" surrounding the roadless rule (see HUPC LYNX, June 01) is precisely where many of us knew it would be-- "tangled up in blue" --as a result of litigation in both the district and appellate courts, muddled positions by the Administration, confusion in the Forest Service, and a new rule making process initiated by the Bush Administration. Short of courage beyond belief from the Forest Service (in a separate action the USFS Chief has taken responsibility of most roadless decisions pending completion of a rule making process or forest plan allocations of roadless areas), a new world view from the Bush Administration, congressional action to protect roadless areas, clean, easy, clear, quick and final legal determinations (not likely, given the complexity and number of legal actions already taken), we are tangled up with this as well.

Again it is time for your wild voice to howl as loud as possible. You should focus on forest planning and the new roadless rule making process. While many conservationists are fearful of the planning process-- the history IS clear that forest planning has resulted in an arrogant neglect of the values of roadless areas, the history is equally clear with respect to national polices of this size and nature: they simply get swamped by the rancorous weight of national politics. Depending upon where the process teeters, one side or the other learns to stop action. That has become the credo of modern day power politics: it is easier to stop something than move it through the political process.

But here we sit with a forest plan with the plain likelihood of protecting the crucial roadless areas on the Uintas if your voice will howl out a paean of wildness. The forest plan alert will help you coalesce your thoughts on the most important roadless areas!

Furthermore, on July 10 the Forest Service initiated a new 60 day comment period on 10 questions regarding roadless protection. While all sides of the issue are gearing up to find a way to spin the message in real and e-mail postcards, sign-on letters, and a host of other high tech efforts, it is time to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and write a real letter-- the first one going to the forest plan talking about High Uintas and other real roadless areas. Nothing esoteric here. Nothing of policy-- just real living roadless areas needing your attention. And then crank out a letter responding to the formal roadless review and the 10 questions it poses.

It is important to understand you do not need to respond to all 10 question, or even any of them. Your letter can simply restate what you said last summer when the Draft EIS was released. What matters is that you write and speak to the value of maintaining roadless areas as roadless and wild places! Rather than spin out suggested answers-- we are all growing so weary of that-- we urge, plead and ask that you use your words and understanding of these issues to convey in writing your wild voice. Letters don't have to be long or detailed; just explain who you are and why you care!

Comments are needed on the Roadless Rule by SEPTEMBER 10 and should be sent to:

USDA-Forest Service--CAT
Attention: Roadless ANPR Comments
P.O. Box 221090
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84122;

via electronic mail to roadless_anpr@fs.fed.us;
or via facsimile to 1-801-296-4090 Attention: Roadless ANPR Comments.

The infamous 10 questions are:

  1. Informed Decison making. What is the appropriate role of local forest planning as required by NFMA in... management of inventoried roadless areas?
  2. Working Together. What is the best way for the Forest Service to work... in a collaborative manner to ensure that concerns about roadless values are heard...?
  3. Protecting Forests. How should inventoried roadless areas be managed to provide for healthy forests...?
  4. Protecting Communities, Homes, and Property. How should communities and private property near inventoried roadless areas be protected...?
  5. Protecting Access... What is the best way to...ensure States, tribes, organizations, and private citizens have reasonable access to property they own within inventoried roadless areas?
  6. Describing Values. What are the characteristics, environmental values... and other factors the Forest Service should consider as it evaluates inventoried roadless areas?
  7. Describing Activities. Are there specific activities that should be expressly prohibited or allowed for in inventoried roadless areas...?
  8. Designating Areas. Should inventoried roadless areas...be proposed to Congress for wilderness designation, or should they be maintained under a specific designation for roadless area management...?
  9. Competing Values and Limited Resources. How can the Forest Service work effectively...with strongly competing views...recognizing that the agency cannot meet all of the desires of all of the parties?
  10. Other Concerns. What other concerns, comments, or interests relating to the protection and management of inventoried roadless areas are important?

Go for it!
Dick Carter


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