Protect America's Last Wild National Forests
I support the U.S. Forest Service's ROADLESS AREA CONSERVATION RULE as it now stands. This policy is the product of extensive public input including more than 600 public hearings and 1.6 million public comments, 95% of which support the strongest protection. The rule protects 58.5 million acres of national forest land in 39 states from logging, mining and drilling; thereby maintaining current public access for hiking, camping, and fishing; protecting critical habitat for fish and wildlife; and safeguarding clean water from forest headwaters and streams, the source of drinking water for 60 million Americans.
The rule represents a balanced approach to forest conservation, saving the last 30% of America's wild national forests from logging, mining, and drilling -- activities already allowed on most national forest lands. As written, it also adequately addresses issues of fire management, forest health, access, and local input. I also strongly oppose weakening of national forest protection through forest-by-forest decisions on logging and development in roadless areas, a practice that has led to steady decline of these precious lands.
The best way to protect what you term "roadless values" is to let the rule stand, with its inclusion of the Tongass National Forest, as it was written in the January 12, 2001 Record of Decision.
Please consider these official comments.