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E-M:/ Interim Moratorium on Road-building?



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Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com
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***Press Release***For Immediate Release***
Feb. , 1999

Contacts: 
Frank Ambrose 812-337-1631
Murray Dailey: 248-693-9589
Doug Cornett: 906-225-1938
http://www.ourforests.org
http://www.americanlands.org

Forest Service Pause in Road Construction Falls Short of Clinton's Promise
to Protect our Last Scenic Wilderness

 The just released interim moratorium on road-building in National
Forests is welcomed.  However, the Forest Service has yet to satisfy the
Clinton-Gore Administration pledge to develop a policy for the protection
of scenic, but unprotected wilderness in all our National Forests.
 "President Clinton said in November 1997, that these last scenic
wilderness forests should be managed by science, not politics and he is
right," said Murray Dailey, Forest Policy Specialist with Northwatch. "We
need a forest policy that will permanently protect all Heritage Forests
from logging, road building and mineral development. Unfortunately, that
is not the track the Forest Service is on."
 America's Heritage Forests are comprised of our last remaining
unprotected forest wilderness: national forest areas 1,000 acres and
larger and without roads, as well as smaller areas identified as
ecologically significant. Totaling less than one-third of all National
Forests, they provide some of America's most outstanding recreational
opportunities, critical fish and wildlife habitat, and our cleanest
drinking water. More than 80% of our National Forests are completely
unprotected and threatened with long-term destruction and degradation by
road-building, logging, mining, oil exploration and drilling. "Protecting
national forest roadless areas is a sorely needed first step in gaining
full protection for all of the public's national forest lands, " said
Dailey.
 In Michigan, the Ottawa National Forest's globally significant
Trap Hills wildland complex is not included in the temporary moratorium.
"The Ottawa received numerous letters from across the US, protesting the
Old M-64 Hardwoods sale [located within the Trap Hills] and asking the
sale be withdrawn and placed in the road-building moratorium" states Doug
Cornett, Director of Northwoods Wilderness Recovery, the regional
conservation organization spearheading protection of the Trap Hills.
"Although the Ottawa responded by putting the sale 'on hold' and reducing
the acreage of the cut, a unique hiking area, hosting numerous rare and
and endangered plants and animals, will be sorely compromised if the
Forest Service proceeds with any cutting" says Cornett.  "To add insult to
injury, the Ottawa recently announced plans to log hundreds of acres at
Northeast Ridge, another sale located in the Trap Hills."
 Currently the U.S. Forest Service is developing a four-pronged
policy to: 1) develop new ways to build roads; 2) remove some existing
roads; 3) upgrade some existing roads; and 4) determine how to pay for the
roads on the National Forest System. These four goals, completely ignore
the underlying direction provided by President Clinton in November 1997,
when he stated:
 
"...the Forest Service is developing a scientifically based policy for
managing roadless areas in our national forests. These last remaining wild
areas are precious to millions of Americans and key to protecting clean
water and abundant wildlife habitat, and providing recreation
opportunities. These unspoiled places must be managed through science, not
politics."

If the final policy leads to nothing more than a new way to build roads in
our last unspoiled forests instead of permanent protection of America's
heritage Forests, we will know that President Clinton was not at all
sincere in his statements about managing these areas through science and
not politics.  "The Administration must make protection of our national
forests the centerpiece of their recently-announced 'Lands Legacy'" says
Frank Ambrose of the American Lands Alliance.

The Clinton-Gore Administration's Forest Chief, Mike Dombeck, received
more than 70,000 public comments supporting wilderness when this
initiative was announced in January 1998. In a Feb. 3 speech in Missoula,
Montana, Dombeck stated that "the Forest Service will rarely build new
roads into roadless areas." The final policy unveiled today contains no
requirement or hint that such areas should be protected.

"This is the least we can do for future generations," according to the
joint letter to Gore.

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