Friday, November 18, 2011

Appeals Court Upholds Roadless Areas

On October 21 a federal appeals court upheld a rule barring construction of roads in designated areas in national forests and grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.   The rule, which was enacted near the end of Clinton's presidency, has been tied up in the courts ever since.  Environmentalists are elated.  The mining industry is not.  To qualify as roadless areas, the lands should have: high quality or undisturbed soil, water, or air; sources of public drinking water; diversity of plant and animal communities; habitat for threatened, endangered, proposed, candidate, and sensitive species, and for those species dependent on large, undisturbed areas of land; primitive, semi-primitive motorized, and semi-primitive non-motorized classes of dispersed recreation; reference landscapes; natural-appearing landscapes with high scenic quality; traditional cultural properties and sacred sites; and, other locally identified unique characteristics.

Pole Creek near the headwaters of the Rio Grande River in Rio Grande National Forest
Because of concerns expressed by the mining, timber, and ski industries, the State of Colorado would like to have a specific rule that applies to Colorado only.  To learn more about the proposed Colorado Roadless Areas (CRAs) visit the Colorado Rule area of the Roadless Area Conservation website hosted by the Forest Service. 

The Government Information website also has pages on Parks, Forests, Grasslands, Wildlife Refuges, and Historic Places

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