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E-M:/ Forest Service Roadless moratorium

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

Roadless Area Moratorium finally Announced by Forest Service -- At least one
area in Michigan fits the bill:

Last Thursday, the Chief of the Forest Service Mike Dombeck at last
implemented the temporary moratorium on road building in roadless areas of
many National Forests, after a delay of more than a year and one half.  During
this moratorium, the Forest Service is to reexamine its road building
policies, following on Dombecks pronouncements about the excessive road
building and environmental damage that has been caused throughout the National
Forest system.  Nationwide, the proposed moratorium on new roads into roadless
areas is a mixed bag because extensive areas in the Pacific Northwest and
Alaska were left out of the temporary moratorium, while areas of the Southern
Appalachians and Northern Rockies got a significant, though temporary,
reprieve.  Sierra Club is calling for the moratorium to be expanded and to
made permanent at the end of the eighteen month policy review.  

In Michigan there are approximately 10,000 miles of Forest Service Roads on
the 2.7 million acres of National Forest lands already, making Michigan's
three National Forests among the most heavily roaded in the country.  Sierra
Club has determined that at least one area, the Borrowed Time project, will be
protected under the Chief's announcement.  Borrowed Time is a keystone parcel
in center of three significant protected areas of Michigan's Upper Peninsula
in the Hiawatha National Forest.  Directly adjacent to Borrowed Time is the
Big Island Lake Wilderness, to its east is the Seney National Wildlife Refuge
wilderness area, and to its north is the Scott's Marsh Research Natural Area.
The moratorium applies to roadless areas of 1000 acres or more that are
adjacent to designated roadless areas, and the proximity of Borrowed Time to
Big Island Lake Wilderness brings it under the protection of the Chief's

Borrowed Time was proposed for logging and other management activities by the
Forest Service, but a coalition of environmental organizations including Upper
Peninsula Environmental Coalition, the Michigan Biodiversity Project and the
Sierra Club filed and won an appeal of that proposal.  The environmental
organizations cited the unique opportunity this area provided for remote
habitat for creatures such as wolf, pine marten and lynx.  The project is
currently undergoing additional review within the Hiawatha NF and it has been
expected that a slightly modified project would be again released for public
review sometime soon.  The moratorium, however, will place any road building
in this area on hold, and consequently will stop any timber management
activities during the review period.

Other areas in Michigan had been promoted for inclusion under the moratorium,
including the RARE II area Fiber in the eastern half of the Hiawatha, and the
Trap Hills area in the Ottawa National Forest.  The standards set by the Chief
evidently do not apply to these areas.  

Public comments on the 

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