Sierra Club Honors Roadless Champions
On Wednesday, December 2, the Sierra Club partnered with a coalition of other environmental organizations to honor members of Congress who have championed efforts to protect our national forests' roadless areas. In 2001, President Clinton issued the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which added protections to our country's remaining 58.5 million acres of roadless forests. These ecologically rich areas serve as vital wildlife habitat, provide clean water, store large amounts of carbon, and offer exemplary recreational opportunities.
Photography copyrighted: John Hyde, Wild Things Photography
Despite President Bush's efforts to undermine the Roadless Rule, the majority of our country's remaining roadless forests remain protected, and thankfully President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have made commitments to upholding and defending this landmark conservation policy. Congressional leaders have been instrumental in the success of protecting our roadless forests and Wednesday gave us the opportunity to honor them for their efforts to build support for legislation that would more permanently protect these precious areas. Receiving awards in person were Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and former Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY).
Although the majority of our country's roadless areas are currently protected, areas remain that are still at risk. Idaho and Colorado submitted state-specific plans that greatly reduce the level of proections that their roadless areas receive, and the Tongass National Forest in Alaska is not protected under the national rule thanks to a temporary exemption that the Bush administration made in 2003. As a result, there is still the need to weigh in with the Obama administration.
Take action and encourage them to uphold and defend the 2001 Roadless Rule to ensure protections of all our roadless forests, including the Tongass.