BRC NATION-WIDE ACTION ALERT PRIORITY LEVEL:
UPDATE! NEW COMMENT DEADLINE ON U.S. FOREST
SERVICE ATTEMPT TO IMPLEMENT AN UNLAWFUL
"DE-FACTO WILDERNESS" POLICY.
A few years ago, a small select group of
employees in the U.S. Forest Service in
Missoula, Montana developed an unlawful,
de-facto Wilderness policy designed to close 1.3
million acres to all mountain bike, snowmobile
and OHV use.
1.3 million acres of de-facto Wilderness
established in the dead of the night, with a
stroke of a pen, and without any public
Idaho's Clearwater National Forest is the
first individual Forest in Region 1 (in northern
Idaho and Montana) that has attempted
site-specific implementation of the de-facto
Wilderness policy. But it won't be the last.
We need your help. Please read the Action Alert
below and take action today!
The comment period deadline on the draft winter
and summer Travel Plan for the Clearwater
National Forest is set for February 29, 2008.
This is the first time a National Forest in
Region 1 has attempted site-specific
implementation of their new (and unlawful)
de-facto Wilderness policy.
COMMENTS ARE URGENTLY NEEDED!
WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:
What De-Facto Wilderness Means to You:
Clearwater NF RWA: 200,000 acres
Number of acres of snowmobiling
closed = 200,000 acres
Miles of single track motorcycle trails closed
= 140 miles
Miles of mountain bike trails closed
Gallatin NF RWA:
Lewis & Clark RWA:
Lolo NF RWA: 216,000
Kooteni NF RWA:
Idaho Panhandle NF RWA:
Helena NF RWA:
Flathead NF RWA:
Custer NF RWA:
Bitterroot NF RWA:
TOTAL CLOSED = 1,303,000 ACRES
Warning: Information above is estimated.
Actual acreage figures are likely to increase
when new Forest Plans become final.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Send a simple email comment to the Clearwater.
Here is a link to Clearwater's Travel Plan
The email address is:
IMPORTANT: Put "Comments on Clearwater
National Forest Travel Plan" in the subject line
and be certain to include your name and address
at the end of the comments. A return email
address is NOT sufficient! (FS often discards
"anonymous" email comments.) Copy the text below
and paste into your email.
Lois Foster, Travel Plan Interdisciplinary Team
Lochsa Ranger District, Kamiah Ranger Station
Rt. 2 Box 191
Kamiah, ID 83536
I would like to make the following comments on
the Clearwater National Forest Travel Plan. The
comment is made using the "issues in the form of
questions" format. Please consider these
questions in the Alternative development and
please also include a full discussion of each
question in the EIS. I also request the EIS
include a discussion and brief analysis of
previous Congressional Wilderness designations
so the public may understand how the existence
of motorized uses actually impacts Congress's
ability to designate Wilderness. I also request
that the Clearwater provide a true range of
management Alternatives, including one "action"
alternative that, at the very minimum, does not
reduce the current motorized and mountain bike
Question 1) In Montana Wilderness Assoc. v. U.S.
Forest Service, the U.S. District Court of
Montana found that Congress required the Forest
Service to strike--and maintain--a balance
between wilderness character and motorized use
in WSAs established by that Act. Given that
Congress envisioned motorized uses in Wilderness
Study Areas they established, what is the Forest
Service's rationale for excluding motorized uses
in Recommended Wilderness Areas (RWAs)?
Question 2) If the existence of motorized uses
does not preclude an area from being designated
as an RWA, then what is the Forest Service's
rationale for eliminating motorized uses in
Question 3) What level of motorized or mountain
bike use would disqualify an area from being a
Question 4) In the Eastern Wilderness Act,
Congress designated areas Wilderness that
contained motorized uses, structures, maintained
roads and even sections of paved roads. Has the
Forest Service studied the level of motorized
uses that actually precludes Congress from
designating an area as Wilderness?