BRC IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT
PRIORITY LEVEL: CRITICAL
ACTION REQUESTED BY FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2008****U.S. FOREST SERVICE ATTEMPTS FIRST SITE SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION OF "DE-FACTO WILDERNESS" POLICY.
"If this is not successfully changed, such a policy has the very real potential to go far beyond just closing areas with 'wilderness character.' If federal land managers are allowed to apply this sort management, America's spectacular scenic backcountry will become the exclusive playground of the politically well-connected."
- Brian Hawthorne, Public Lands Policy Director, BlueRibbon CoalitionDear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,
Idaho's Clearwater National Forest has released a "Proposed Action" for the summer and winter motorized and mountain bike Travel Plan. It is the first time a National Forest in Region 1 (in northern Idaho and Montana) has attempted site-specific implementation of their new (and unlawful) de-facto Wilderness policy. The "Proposed Action" proposes removing all motorized and mountain bike uses from "Recommended Wilderness Areas" (RWA).
In the "picture = 1000 words" department, take a look at this:
Congressionally designated Wilderness and "Recommended Wilderness Areas" all shown on the same map, in the same color. -- Same map. Same management.Speaking specifically for the Clearwater NF, implementation of this lousy policy will result in closure of 44%, or 178 miles of single-track motorcycle trails and some of the best backcountry snowmobile trails left in these parts. But that's just for the Clearwater. If allowed to continue across the Region, or worse, become a National policy, this de-facto wilderness management will be the single greatest threat to motorized and mountain bike recreation... ever. Fortunately, at this early stage in the process, a "cut and paste" email effort can be effective. Please take just a second to send a quick email to the Forest Service. The simple instructions are below.
Please help us fight this policy.
Public Lands Policy Director
208-237-1008 ext 102
PS: I want to stress the importance of this issue. If you've never responded to a BRC Action Alert, please make this your first time. Please take action today!
Clearwater National Forest Action Alert:
The deadline to comment on a draft winter and summer Travel Plan for the Clearwater National Forest is set for January 11, 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:
Obviously, any de-facto Wilderness policy is bad enough. But the situation here is even worse. I've been trying to find a clever way to explain exactly why this policy concerns BRC so much. Let me try to explain it this way:
The inventory criteria used by the FS to determine which of their lands they recommend for congressional Wilderness designation allows motorized and mountain bike uses to exist. But the management direction for lands recommended for congressional Wilderness designation mandates the elimination of motorized and mountain bike uses. This, valued BRC member, is the very definition of arbitrary and capricious.If this is not successfully changed, such a policy has the very real potential to go far beyond just closing areas with "wilderness character." If federal land managers are allowed to apply this sort management, America's spectacular scenic backcountry will become the exclusive playground of the politically well connected.More info on the web: http://www.sharetrails.org/defacto_wilderness/WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Send a simple email comment to the Clearwater.
Here is a link to Clearwater's Travel Plan webpage:
The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Leader
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. 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 RWAs?
Question 3) What level of motorized or mountain bike use would disqualify an area from being a RWA?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 Wilderness?