Unroaded Wildlands Now Open for Logging - Bush
Administration Exempts Alaska's Tongass National Forest from
Roadless Rule. Your Letters Needed Now.
One day before Christmas Eve, late in the afternoon of December 23, 2003, the
Bush Administration officially exempted Alaska's Tongass National Forest from
the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Effectively sidelining the largest showing
of public support for any previous Forest Service proposal, the Bush team announced
its plans to also allow governors of the lower 48 states to exempt federal lands
from the Roadless Rule.
The exemption of the Tongass from the Roadless Rule endangers unroaded wildlands
in our nation's largest tracts of temperate rainforest, with similar results
soon to follow for Alaska's Chugach and other National Forests across the contiguous
US. Already, governors of several states -- including Virginia Gov. Mark Warner,
Maine Gov. John Baldacci and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson - have sent letters
to the Bush administration opposing the disintegration of roadless area protection
and the Tongass Roadless Rule exemption. In addition, 115 major corporations
including REI, Black Diamond, Kelty, Marmot, and Montrail have made public statements
supporting the protection of roadless areas. Of the 250,000 comments previously
collected from the Tongass exemption comment period, only 2,000 comments --
less than 1% of the total comments -- were in favor of exempting the Tongass
from the Roadless Rule.
They're your National Forests too -- Speak up for roadless area protection,
send a letter today.
Please send a letter to Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, your state governor,
and your local newspapers urging that the Forest Service uphold protection of
roadless wildlands in the Tongass, Chugach, and other National Forests across
the nation. Ask that the original intent and purpose of the Roadless Rule be
upheld, and that values besides timber, such as non-motorized recreation and
wildlife preservation, be honored in our unprotected roadless areas.
Contact Information -- Write, Email, or call Forest Service Chief Dale
Dale Bosworth, Chief USDA, Forest Service
PO Box 96090
Washington, DC 20090
Phone: (202) 205-1305, Alaska Affairs Desk
The newspaper articles linked below provide background information to include
in your letter.
Wednesday, December 31, 2003, Pasadena Star-News
"Bush should gift pristine lands to Americans, not contributors"
Monday, December 29, 2003: Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor
"Spare those trees"
Sunday, December 28, 2003: Lakeland (Florida) Ledger
"Flying Under Santa's Sleigh"
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS/SUPPORT FOR ROADLESS RULE
… The Roadless Area Conservation Rule is the result of the most extensive
public rulemaking in history and enjoys overwhelming support from the majority
of Americans. Of the 250,000 comments previously collected from the Tongass
exemption comment period, only 2,000 comments -- less than 1% of the total comments
-- were in favor of exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.
… Wood-product businesses do NOT need or want timber from the Tongass
forest. "More than 2 million public comments have been submitted to the
Forest Service to include the Tongass in the [Road less] Rule. Staples supports
those comments and respectfully requests that the Forest Service put the Tongass
off limits to industrial scale logging and road building. National treasures
such as the Tongass are a national trust which must be preserved for future
generations and we strongly believe that granting any exemptions will threaten
-- Mark F. Buckley, VP Environmental Affairs, Staples, RT 1602, August
"Hayward Lumber is an 84- year old, fourth-generation, family operated
building materials dealer with seven locations on California's Central Coast.
With $120 million in annual sales we are one of the 75 largest building material
dealers in the United States. As much of our wealth is derived from forests,
we see great value in preserving remaining roadless areas for their inherent
ecological and aesthetic values-an interest we feel we share with the majority
of Americans. While the Tongass and the Chugach National Forests represent some
relatively easy pickings from a timber perspective, the building industry does
not need or want to see this wood in our supply chain."
-- Steven Brauneis, Director of Sustainability, Hayward Lumber, RT
1667, August 8, 2003
… The Roadless Rule is important to recreational businesses and their
customers. "We urge the Forests Service to uphold the Roadless Area Conservation
Rule, without any reduction in the acreage of protected lands, as this ensures
that these important recreational lands remain available to the American public.
The rule also makes economic sense as recreation accounts for more than 85 percent
of the revenue from National Forests."
-- Michael Collins, Vice President Public Affairs, on behalf of Recreational
Equipment, Inc. (REI), August 28, 2003
Logging the Tongass Forest hurts the local tourism and fishing industry.
"I own a family operated, fly fishing business that employs 11 local residents
each season. Both my business and those jobs depend on pristine wild areas and
streams for their continued success, The Roadless Rule would safeguard many
of the locations we presently use and that are enjoyed by some 1300 of our clients
-- Mark Kaelke, President, Bear Creek Outfitters, Juneau, AK, RT 3723,
August 10, 2003
Unroaded forests are essential for the viability of salmon fisheries. "As
a permanent forest service employee who works on the Tongass National Forest
I am ashamed of you and your administrations attempt to overturn the January
2001 Roadless Rule. As a professional fisheries biologist I am disillusioned
at your apparent disregard of comments of the Alaska Chapter of the American
Fisheries Society, a chapter of the oldest professional fisheries organization
in North America, that supported the 2001 Roadless Rule.
--James M. Beard, Thorne Bay, AK, RT 5649, September 1, 2003
… The $8.4 billion roads maintenance backlog should be addressed
before building new roads in National Forest roadless areas. "Wildlife
Forever is the nonprofit conservation arm of the North American Hunting Club
and North American Fishing Club who together have 1.3 million members. . . .
In short, the value of intact natural resources of the Tongass' roadless areas
greatly exceeds the value of these forest tracts for logging. The dismal record
of timber road culverts becoming fish impassable and the mindless pattern of
spending taxpayer subsidies to clearcut towering old growth trees flies in the
face of sound forestry and America's wildlife legacy."
-- Douglas H. Grann, President & CEO, Wildlife Forever, Brooklyn
Center, MN, August 12, 2003
… The Bush administration should keep their promise to uphold the
Roadless Rule. "Just over two years ago, Agriculture Secretary Anne Veneman
said, 'providing roadless protection for our national forests is the right thing
to do, and because it's the right thing to do, it's important to do it right,
for the land, for people, for communities, for states, and for the country as
a whole.' I strongly agree and urge you to embrace and implement the Roadless
Rule as it was issued in January, 2001."
-- Elizabeth Moorehaed, Eagle River, AK, RT 1871, August 13, 2003
… Alaska's Tongass National Forest is America's largest rainforest
- our crown jewel. "The Tongass and the Chugach are crown jewels in the
national forest system, home to awe inspiring landscapes, undamaged ecosystems,
and world class recreational opportunities. Proposals to spoil these treasures
with roads and logging ignore the wishes of the vast majority of American's
like me who support the protection of roadless areas in all of our national
-- Theodore Cochrane, Madison, WI, RT 6077, August 7, 2003