Heritage Forests Campaign Once They're Gone, They're Gone Forever
The Roadless Rule
Threats to Roadless Areas
Politics and Policy
America's Roadless Areas
Enjoying Your Wild Forests
Roadless Areas by State
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Fact Sheets & Reports
Roadless Cartoons
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Protecting America's National Forests, a report by the Heritage Forests Campaign

In This Section


" Rulemaking

" Litigation

" Public Support

" On Capitol Hill

Policy and Politics


On May 13, 2005 the Bush administration repealed the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protected America's last wild forests from most road building and resource extraction. This new policy leaves these lands vulnerable to commodity activities and is stacked against roadless area conservation. Find out more.


The Roadless Area Conservation Rule has come under a coordinated and sustained attack by the timber industry and its allies ever since it was adopted in January 2001. Over the years, courts have found the rule to be legal in its scope. But on May 13, 2005, the Administration repealed the 2001 roadless rule and replaced it with a state petition process, thus rendering pending legal action moot. The December 2002 ruling in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is still the final legal word on the roadless rule. Find out more.

Public Support

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule was enacted following more than three decades of broad public debate, years of scientific review, and three years of broad public participation. More Americans took part in this rule-making process than in any other federal rule making in history. The rule enjoyed broad, diverse support support.from all over the country. Find out more.

On Capitol Hill

Over the years, members of Congress have supported the 2001 roadless rule and have been opposed to efforts to undercut the vital protections it provides these pristine forests. In May 2007, over 145 members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would codify the roadless rule into law. A Senate companion was also introduced with bipartisan support.

During its tenure, the Bush Administration repeatedly undercut the rule's protections, and ultimately sought to replace it with a discretionary state petition process in 2005. These actions weakened wildlife and watershed protections and increased logging under the guise of fire prevention in our national forests. Find out more.

Photos of Forests