Time to Codify the Roadless Rule

This may be a good idea-

In New West, Bill Schneider wrote: “We Americans have high expectations for President-elect Obama and the bluer-than-ever Congress, and a good way for them to convince us we did the right thing is immediately codify the Roadless Rule.”

Rest of the story. Time to Codify the roadless rule. New West






  1. Mike Avatar

    I’d like to see full wilderness protection given by this congress to the entire Roadless Rule acreage. Doing so will take care of the motorized issue as well, saving time and cost.

  2. Salle Avatar

    I think this is a great idea and quite timely. I have been thinking about the environmental issues I’d like to see addressed in the very near future and this is one of them.

    Mike, that’s an interesting and, in my opinion, valid request. I’d be glad to start with the Roadless Rule for starters, I was involved in that and would like to see it go forth with expediency.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I have to agree with Mike. I think we all realize, even if we don’t want to admit it publicly, that the Roadless Rule was a stopgap measure to protect RARE II watersheds until we could get them formally designated as Wilderness. I’m not willing to see current roadless areas swept into another land use classification over which people are going to continue to argue over the meaning of it. Wilderness is clear. I believe we should instead push NREPA.


  4. Hot Springs Guy Avatar

    I’d like to see full protection as well… I think Idaho’s biggest hurdle is as it always has been. Politicians.

  5. Salle Avatar

    “I think Idaho’s biggest hurdle is as it always has been. Politicians.”

    Yeah, politicians who are bought and paid for by the timber, mining and livestock industries.

    I would actually like to see the wilderness designation too but think that it may be more palatable, for a first round, to go with the RR thing. Robert’s right about it’s purpose, (a stop-gap measure to protect RAREII). I just think that it would take longer to go that route initially as “due process” does take time. The ONLY reason I would opt for that first.

  6. pilgrim Avatar

    I would like to see a new class of designation. One that affords protections as the wilderness act but allows flexibility for the use of mountain bikes on designated trails and allows hunters to use game carts for game retrieval. I am thinking that in doing this wildland designation activists would not have to fight these groups of public lands users and might actually form alliances with them.

  7. Mike Avatar

    ++I would like to see a new class of designation. One that affords protections as the wilderness act but allows flexibility for the use of mountain bikes on designated trails and allows hunters to use game carts for game retrieval.++

    Pilgrim, this already exists. It’s called “most of the national forest”.

  8. cobra Avatar

    Most places we hunt in north Idaho a game cart would be of little use, to steep and to brushy. I do have a question though, hopefully someone can answer. In a wilderness area could a person use a rope or chainsaw winch to retrieve their game? Just curious.

  9. Bonnie Avatar

    I too would like to see a huge expansion of wilderness protection for our public lands and think this is something we should all be pushing for. Realistically, there are a lot of problems that are going to have a higher priority for the new government so I think that it could take years to accomplish. In the meantime, by making RR a law, we could at least slow down the damage, rather like spreading a tarp over a leaky roof until we can permanently fix it.

  10. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Yes on the rope, nope on the chainsaw winch, no internal combustion engines in wilderness areas

  11. pilgrim Avatar

    Pilgrim, this already exists. It’s called “most of the national forest”.

    No,,,,what I mean is no logging, no road building, no internal combustion engine use but still allow mountain bikes and game carts.

  12. cobra Avatar

    Save bears,
    I guess you mean no on both, a rope winch also is ran by a gas engine. Guess if I hunt wilderness I’ll still have to use pack frames. Thanks

  13. cobra Avatar

    On our ski hill here, Silver Mountain they have designated mountain bike trails and those trails are tore to hell from mountian bikes, then they get rutted out more each year from spring thaws and heavy rains. Wih the trails being more narrow they actually are worse than a lot of the atv trails. Mountain bikes just like atvs need to learn how to tread lightly

  14. brian ertz Avatar


    a sure fire strategy for getting bikes into wilderness :

    Frame the issue like this.

  15. JB Avatar


    I sympathize with your position regarding mountain bikes. In my view, allowing mountain bikes on trails with hikers and backpackers would generally ruin the solitude experience that most people go into the wilderness for. However, I would not oppose designating some trails specifically for mountain bikes–especially if these trails did not intersect with hiking trails.


    I used to run quite often on trails in the Manistee National Forest in Michigan. I often encountered bikes on these trails with few problems. However, a few years ago people started showing up with horses, and now (in many places) the trails are rutted and nearly impossible to run/hike on. Of course, the soils, typography, and cover are very different in Michigan; but in my experience at least, I’d take bikes over horses any day.

  16. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    There are some possibilities for non-motorized mechanical devices in the Wilderness. An outfitter I worked for came up with a novel way to keep food out of the hands of grizzly bears in a Wilderness area. He brought in a mechanical hoist, the same type of pulley that is used to pull engine blocks, and attached it to the bear pole 20 feet above the ground. The chain went down from the hoist to a large “floating cache,” a platform upon which food and other bear attractants were stacked. We’d hoist it in the evening and lower it in the morning. We never ever had a bear problem, although once I saw a bear gazing whistfully up at the cache he couldn’t reach.

    This method of keeping attractants from bears was approved by the Forest Service and written into the outfitters’ operating permit. Given the importance of protecting grizzly bears and preventing bear incidents, it seems a reasonable use of mechanics in wilderness.



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