If you live in the West, chances are you live near a National Forest. Even in Los Angeles, there are four National Forests within reasonable (at least for Southern California) driving distance. If you’re reading this site, chances are you’re a hiker or otherwise enjoy the outdoors, and have probably used these National Forests pretty frequently.
Then this matters to you.
A bit o’ history — near the end of President Clinton’s second term, the Forest Service adopted the “Roadless Rule,” which prevented new roads from being built in the approximately 30% of land that didn’t already have them. The plan preserved access for recreation, but not industry, which already had permission to develop 51% of Forest Service land (hence the slogan, “land of many uses,” I guess).
Then Bush got into office, and started working on overturning this rule, for “states’ rights.” You know, over Federal land. And not, he swears, for the industry cronies he’s appointed into every level of the Park Service and Forest Service. Honest.
This week, PBS’ “Now” has a 20 minute feature on the first major battleground in this attack on our National Forests – southeastern Idaho. The state was the first to propose its own “roadless” areas, which were significantly fewer than the zones protected under the Forest Service’s rule.
Then take the Feds up on their Comment Period if and when it comes to your state. If this isn’t fought, almost 4 and a half million acres of Forest could be opened in California alone.
For more fun reading, check out Now’s list of 9 landmark environmental decisions during the Bush administration. Remember them the next time Bush tries to trick people into thinking he’s an environmentalist.