Administration will defend the Clinton version in the 10th Circuit Court-

President sides with environmentalists to reinstate roadless rule. By Gary Harmon. Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Note that while this article emphasizes Colorado, this applies to all the states with national forest roadless areas that have not been designated as Wilderness areas.

I like the roadless rule. One major reason is that it reduces the need to accept bad provisions in Wilderness bills. If you have abusive livestock grazing, and get the “traditional” language when such an area is designated Wilderness, it actually makes it harder to bring abusive livestock operator to account or rid the area of these animals incompatible with real wilderness. That’s because, like proposed Tester bill in Montana, politicians usually grandfather the livestock. They pretend, or don’t know, that cows are not compatible with real wilderness.

In a roadless area, the Forest Service can (doesn’t mean  they will), crack down on the grazing, close the grazing allotment, etc.

There are other arguments to consider, however.  A roadless area might be getting torn apart by off-road vehicles, for example. In many of the past Wilderness designations, the amount of livestock was so small that other arguments for the otherwise strong legal protection a congressional act gives to an area were probably more important.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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