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Roadless forests will remain roadless

Oct 23, 2011

"The public forests we've fought so hard to protect are now safe," said Tim Preso, an Earthjustice attorney representing the conservation groups, including Conservation Northwest.

Roadless forests will remain roadless

Roadless protection! Hungry Mtn roadless area in the Colville Nat'l Forest south of Spokane. Photo: Aaron Theisen

Happily for wildlife and habitat, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule created by President Clinton in 2001 is again the law of the land after a federal circuit court unanimously decided to overturn Bush-era changes to the rule.

In Washington State, 2 million acres of roadless forests will remain wild and roadless, continuing to amass biocarbon and help slow climate change. Wildlife keep quality habitat and habitat connectivity and escape roadkill, poaching, and habitat loss. Opportunities for non-mechanized travel are retained.

"The public forests we've fought so hard to protect are now safe," added Tim Preso, an Earthjustice attorney representing the conservation groups, including Conservation Northwest.

US Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell also applauded the decision.

The path to roadless area protection has been a real rollercoaster ride. The Clinton Roadless Rule in 2001 protected 58 million acres of national forest lands. The Rule was repealed by President Bush. Conservation Northwest fought for the rule in the 9th Circuit Court in 2002, and again in 2003 against a nationwide injunction from the 10th Circuit Court.

This latest ruling aligns the 10th and 9th Circuit Court rulings, asserting the validity of the Rule and protecting roadless forests as part of America’s heritage.

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