Congress should pass a roadless area law

Protecting the remaining roadless areas on the national forests is not nearly as controversial as designating Wilderness areas, but these areas have no real protection under the Bush Administration, or before until the executive order by President Clinton.

The New York Times says “There Ought to be a Law” to protect them.

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I want to remind folks that there is now an excellent web site on roadless areas to which you can upload your photos and comments.



  1. MP Avatar

    Yes, go to Click on the state of Idaho. Click on legend and select (show Idaho Petition). This shows how portions of Idaho roadless areas will be managed as general forest under the Idaho petition. This means those portions in bright yellow will be opened up to road building and all the other destructive land uses.
    Under the 2001 Roadless Rule, all portions of these roadless areas would be protected. The 2001 Rule is in court again.
    For example, go to the Caribou NF and then to the Caribou
    City Roadless Area. The N. Fork of Tincup Creek and the
    Tincup Canyon front are in the general forest category. This
    area is composed of highly erodible red soils, and is classified by the ID Fish and Game as the finest summer elk, moose, and deer habitat on the Caribou NF. This country is a mosaic of aspen, grasslands, and subalpine fir.
    The entire Caribou City Roadless Area is designated a biological megasite in the final Caribou NF plan.

  2. MP Avatar

    John McCain does not like the 2001 Roadless Rule. I remember reading in the Idaho Statesman that he does not like or agree
    with the 2001 Roadless Rule.
    John McCain will be another George Bush when it comes to the environment, if he is elected president.

  3. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    I remember McCain specifically using the $12 million dollars allocated by Congress to determine grizzly bear population numbers as a perfect example of pork in the budget.

    When a politician ridicules funds that are being spent on an important environmental evaluation tool as the worst of the waste in Congressional budgets… makes me cringe when I think of how similar McCain and Bush will actually be on the environment.

    I do think he will be the next President. I just don’t see Obama pulling it off. On the other hand, it is easy to see Democrats expanding their majorities in the House and Senate.

  4. JB Avatar


    Though I disagree about Obama’s chances, I agree about McCain being similar to Bush on the environment. Looks like he’s similar to Bush in other respects as well (see below)…

    “Senator John McCain has frequently cited an earmark to a bill proving funds for a study of grizzly bears in Montana as an example of the worst pork-and-barrel spending in Washington. The study was included in an ad for McCain entitled “Outrageous” during the primaries. However, according to, Senator McCain voted for the earmark he now derides.

    “Senator McCain introduced three amendments to the bill to “reduce funding for projects he considered wasteful or harmful, but none removing the grizzly bear project appropriations” writes McCain voted for the final bill, grizzly study and all.”


  5. montucky Avatar

    It’s interesting that kind of story in a New York paper, not one in Idaho or Montana. Probably for the same reason the HR1975, the “Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act” was sponsored by Rep Carolyn Maloney [D-NY].

    It’s my opinion that any real protection for the last remaining back country in the west will have to come from outside of this area where the politicians don’t have a vested interest in exploiting it. I think that’s very fitting too, because those National Forest areas belong to all of the citizens of the US, not just those in the states in which they exist.

    I love that roadless website, by the way. Nelson performed a great service by providing that! It’s also interesting that he is in Texas, a state that has only 4,000 inventoried roadless acres.

  6. SmokyMtMan Avatar


    Thanks for the link. Interesting article, but it puts the Grizzly study cost as $3 million, and I remembered it as $12 million. Seems my number was off….

    McCain has actually been a productive member of the Senate. He has authored and shepherded many bills through the Senate and into law. Yet I do not recall any environmentally-friendly bills originating with him. I don’t think McCain hates the environment as passionately as Bush obviously does; however, I see no evidence that McCain has any real love or support for the environment, either.

    Also, the roadless website isn’t working for me. Most of the pics don’t appear for me. Bummer.

  7. John Avatar

    Very interesting website! I wonder what their definition of roadless is? cause alot of the places that they list as roadless, I know for a fact have several roads. This is in reference to Caribou National Forest.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan