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E-M:/ Polls on Roadless Areas -- including in Michigan



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Forwarded Press Release -- roadless areas polling data, including from Michigan:


Voters Say "Yes" to National Forest Protection
     
They've remained untouched by chainsaw or ax for generations, 
but the permanent fate of America's last wild forests 
may be decided by the U.S. Forest Service within the next 90 days.
     
Eleven New State Polls Show 
Widespread Support for "Roadless" Initiative
     
WASHINGTON - Apologists for the timber industry argue that a Forest Service 
initiative to stop new road construction and logging in large, currently 
roadless areas of wild forest is part of a "plot" to keep the public out of 
public lands.  But 11 state polls conducted in California, New Mexico, 
Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, 
Washington and Oregon suggest the American people aren't buying that 
message. 
     
In Wisconsin, for example, when voters were told exactly how much National 
Forest land was at stake in the roadless initiative, and that such land 
would still be open for hunting, camping and fishing, support for the Forest 
Service roadless initiative soared to 88 percent. 
     
"What the polls make clear is that the roadless initiative is more popular 
than most politicians," said Ken Rait, director of the Heritage Forests 
Campaign, a broad coalition of local, state and national environmental groups 
pushing the forest protection initiative.  "We've heard a lot of noise from a 
handful of politicians indebted to timber and mining interests, but the real 
story is that the opposition to this initiative is like a Hollywood western 
town:  one board thick with nothing but the desert behind it."
     
Rait and other environmental experts note that only 5 percent of U.S. timber 
production is cut on National Forest land and that less than 5 percent of 
the 40 to 60 million acres of currently roadless forest is suitable for 
logging.  The Forest Service itself estimates that recreation on National 
Forest land generates 30 times more economic growth than timber sales.
     
Public opinion polls suggest roadless area protection is tremendously 
popular across the political and geographic spectrum.  A recent poll by 
respected Republican pollster Linda DiVall found 62 percent of Republicans - 
and two-thirds of those living in western states - support an administration 
proposal to protect roadless areas in our National Forests.  To date over a 
half a million citizens have made public comments to the Forest Service 
about the proposal - most of them supportive. 
     
A new round of public meetings and comments is expected to begin in May 
following the release of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). 
Whatever shape the final plan takes, Rait and others suggest it must meet 
five key criteria to provide real and lasting protection for our nation's 
remnant wildernesses: 1) safeguard all National Forests, without loopholes, 
exemptions or waivers, including the 
Tongass National Forest in Alaska; 2) permanently and immediately halt road 
building, logging, mining, off-road vehicle use and other harmful activities 
in all roadless forests; 3) protect all roadless areas of at 
     
Page 1 of 4
     
least 1,000 acres in all National Forests; 4) institute a moratorium on all 
development in and damaging use of wild forests until they are permanently 
protected; and 5) be based on sound science rather than short-term political 
considerations.
     
"The future of our best wild forests will be determined in the next 90 
days," said Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, an 
environmental group working on the forest initiative.  "The current debate 
is about whether we are going to continue to allow special interests to 
profit from the destruction of our last remaining wild forest lands -- lands 
vital to the recreational interests of hunters, anglers, campers and 
birdwatchers."
     
Jim Scarantino, executive director of Republicans for Environmental 
Protection (www.repamerica.org), said he was not surprised to find 
overwhelming support for the Forest Service's roadless initiative. 
"Preserving the last of the best is not a Republican vs. Democrats issue, 
it's not an East vs. West issue, it's not a soccer-mom vs. hunter issue; 
it's a question of what we want to leave for our children and grandchildren 
to come.  With so much already gone, the conservative approach is to 
conserve what little remains." 
###
     
     
Complete Poll Results with questions, methodology and results are available 
online at:  http://www.ourforests.org/info/poll2000.
     
     
Pie chart graphics to illustrate your polling story are available at 
http://www.ourforests.org/info/poll2000.   The pie charts feature a line-art 
illustration of a cut log as the "pie."
     
Real People, Real Experts:  Whether you are looking for an expert on forest 
fire prevention, data on the economics of recreation in our National 
Forests, or an analysis of big timber's political contributions, we can help 
you pull your story together.  Call Patrick Burns at the Heritage Forests 
Campaign  (202-861-2242, ext. 3004).
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
Page 2 of 4Summary of State Poll Results
On the National Forest "Roadless" Forest Initiative
     
     
QUESTION: Half of the National Forest lands in the United States have 
already been logged, mined, have roads and remain open to commercial 
development.  An additional 18 percent are permanently protected, and the 
remaining 31percent are unprotected, wild, roadless areas.  The Clinton 
administration has proposed to protect nearly all of these remaining 
unprotected wild areas.  This means that they could be used for most types 
of recreation, including hunting, camping and fishing, but that logging, new 
roads, mining, oil drilling and off-road vehicles would be prohibited.  Do 
you support or oppose this proposal?  (Is that strongly support/oppose or 
somewhat support/oppose?)
     
	STATE	POLLSTER	SUPPORT	OPPOSE	
	CA	Fairbanks, Masslin & Maulin	72%	22%	 
	CO	Ridder / Braden	75%	20%	
	ID	Ridder / Braden	57%	38%	
	MI	Mellman Group	69%	23%	
	MN	The Feldman Group	76%	21%	
	MT	Fairbanks, Masslin & Maulin	53%	41%	 
	NM	Polling and Research	71%	20%	
	OR 	Ridder / Braden	67%	27%	
	TN	Mason-Dixon Research	72%	12%	
	WA	Ridder / Braden	72%	20%	
	WI	Chamberlain Research Consultants	83%	11.8%	
Poll sample size varied from 500-800 per state, with confidence intervals 
ranging of 4 percent to 4.38 percent.  This means there is a 95 percent 
probability that the "true figure" would fall within that range if the 
entire population were sampled.  New Mexico's question was abbreviated. 
There were some minor phrasing differences between polling firms.
     
QUESTION: What if you learned that included in this proposal would be 
protection for up to (STATE DATA)% of National Forest lands in (INSERT STATE 
NAME ) - or about (INSERT STATE DATA) thousand acres - which would still stay 
open for hunting, camping and fishing?  Then would you support or oppose the 
proposal? (Is that strongly support/oppose or somewhat support/oppose?)
     
	STATE	POLLSTER	SUPPORT	OPPOSE	
	CA	Fairbanks, Masslin & Maulin	76%	18%	 
	CO	Ridder / Braden	78%	16%	
	ID	Ridder / Braden	64%	30%	
	MI	Mellman Group	74%	18%	
	MN	The Feldman Group	83%	14%	
	MT	Fairbanks, Masslin & Maulin	59%	35%	 
	NM	Polling and Research	72%	20%	
	OR 	Ridder / Braden	69%	23%	
	TN	Mason-Dixon Research	76%	12%	
	WA	Ridder / Braden	72%	20%	
	WI	Chamberlain Research Consultants	88.3%	9%	
Poll sample size varied from 500-800 per state, with confidence intervals 
ranging of 4 percent to 4.38 percent.  This means there is a 95 percent 
probability that the "true figure" would fall within that range if the 
entire population were sampled.  New Mexico's question was abbreviated. 
There were some minor phrasing differences between polling firms.
Page 3 of 4
Summary of Recent Polls 
on National Forest Protection
*	A national poll conducted by the Mellman Group in June 1999 showed
that 63 percent of Americans believe that the amount of National Forest land 
currently protected (18 percent) is insufficient.  Just 6 percent thought 
that the country is protecting too much land.
     
*	A national December 1999 poll by the Republican polling firm,
American Viewpoint, found that 62 percent of Republicans - and two-thirds of 
those living in the western states - support an administration proposal to 
protect roadless areas.
     
*	A national 1999 poll by Republican pollsters Frank Luntz found that
88 percent of Americans worry that many of the country's special places may 
be lost unless our government acts to protect them.  
     
*	A 1999 Zogby International survey interviewed 1,000 likely GOP
voters in Iowa, California, New Hampshire, New York and South Carolina and 
found that half of GOP voters identified themselves as "environmentalists," 
putting these issues above such traditional GOP causes as cutting taxes or 
restricting abortion.  
     
*	A February 2000 poll of America's 50 million hunters and fishermen 
sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Alliance - a coalition that 
includes the Izaak Walton League of America, the Mule Deer Foundation, the 
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Trout Unlimited - found that 86 percent of 
anglers and 83 percent of hunters support efforts by sportsmen and women to 
keep the remaining roadless areas in our National Forests free of roads.
     
Page 4 of 4
     
     
_______________________________________________________________________ 
Ken Rait
Director, Heritage Forests Campaign
www.ourforests.org
Conservation Director, Oregon Natural Resources Council        www.onrc.org 
5825 North Greeley
Portland, OR  97217
503-283-6343 x.210 (v)
503-283-0756 (f)
503-804-2940 (c)
kr@onrc.org
     
     
     
     


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