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News Archive

For the most recent news from HFC, please go to our site front page.

First Annual "Roadless Recreation Week" Launched

August 7, 2010

Thanks to the protections of the national roadless rule, people around the country went "all out" from August 7-15 to celebrate Roadless Recreation Week and enjoy the outdoor opportunities national forest roadless areas provide. Check out activities hosted by sporting and conservation groups in 13 states.

  • Visit our Roadless Recreation Week page
  • See photos from Roadless Recreation Week events
  • Find out more

Obama Administration Extends "Time Out" on New Activity in Roadless Areas

May 28, 2010

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has renewed the "time out" on new activity in undeveloped national forests protected by the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The one-year interim directive includes the Tongass National Forest and requires the Secretary’s approval for most projects in roadless national forests. The Obama Administration is on record in support of the 2001 Roadless Rule and is currently defending it in federal court.

500 Scientists Ask Obama to Keep Promise on Roadless

April 14, 2010

A week after the Obama administration offered initial praise for a proposal to open Colorado roadless areas to new coal mining and oil and gas development, more than 500 scientists from across the country are calling on the Obama administration to stand behind the national roadless rule, which would preclude this activity.

  • Find out more
  • View the ad running in The Washington Post and Politico (PDF)

USDA Exempts Coal Industry from Roadless Rule

February 26, 2010

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a decision to allow a coal mining company to expand its operation into national forest roadless areas in Colorado.

Obama administration considers Colorado plan to open roadless areas to new mining & drilling

April 7, 2010

The Obama administration announces that it will move forward with Colorado's proposal to allow new mining and drilling in national forest roadless areas.

Secretary Vilsack: Stop new Tongass logging

Stop New Tongass Logging

October 22, 2009

Prominent green groups call on the Obama administration to stop two controversial timber sales in roadless areas of Southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest, one of the last intact temperate rainforests in the world.

200,000 Comments: Rethink Colorado's Flawed Proposal

October 1, 2009

Over 200,000 comments were sent to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and the Obama Administration asking for protection of Colorado's national forest roadless areas. This call was echoed in Washington, DC today, as Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) introduced bipartisan legislation, supported by 25 senators and 150 House members, to codify the 2001 Roadless Rule.

Federal Court Upholds Roadless Rule

August 5, 2009

Ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstates the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule – protecting the majority of America’s undeveloped national forests. We congratulate our allies for a hard-won legal victory.

Draft Rule Endangers Colorado's Pristine Forests

August 3, 2009

The state of Colorado issued a draft rule that would reduce protection for 4.4 million acres of national forest roadless areas in Colorado, and the Pew Environment Group responded by calling for national forests to be protected by national policy. Read the statement here.

Ads call on Obama to uphold Roadless Rule

July 15, 2009

National environmental organizations ran ads this week encouraging the Obama administration to follow through on its support for strong national roadless protections. The Administration has taken the first step by calling a "time out" on all activity in roadless areas, but these pristine national forests remain at risk until the Administration fulfils its commitment to uphold and defend the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

Click here to view the ads and read more about the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

Colorado's Pristine Forests at Risk

July 2, 2009

Colorado conservation organizations are urging the Obama administration to forego a state rulemaking for national forests that would leave Colorado's national forest roadless areas less protected than those in other states. Although the Obama administration called a "time out" on activity in roadless areas on May 28, the U.S. Forest Service and state continue to pursue a proposal that is considerably less protective than the 2001 Rule, with major exemptions for coal mining and oil & gas drilling.

"Time Out" on New Activity in Undeveloped National Forests

May 29, 2009

The Obama administration has called for a time out on new activity in areas protected under the popular 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protects roughly 60 million acres of undeveloped national forests. Currently, the rule's legal status is uncertain. Pew and its allies urge the administration to take swift action to reinstate the roadless rule.

Colorado's Roadless Backcountry at Risk

December 5, 2008

The Administration is currently moving forward with a rule-making that would remove the protections of the 2001 roadless rule and replace it with one that offers less protection for these landscapes. At stake are some of Colorado's most scenic backcountry forests. If adopted, the new rule would dramatically increase logging and road-building in 4.4 million acres of Colorado's best backcountry, while giving the green light to roughly 100 new oil and gas drilling projects, impacting valuable fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Update: In a letter from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources to the U.S. Forest Service, the Ritter administration is asking for additional time to work on final revisions to the Colorado Roadless rule, which may carry the rulemaking into the Obama administration.

Nez Perce NF, Idaho

A Legal Detour. . .But Roadless Still Rules

On August 12th, a Wyoming federal district court judge ruled again to overturn the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protects roughly 60 million acres of the country's undeveloped national forests. The decision by Judge Clarence Brimmer, who also attempted to undo the Clinton-era policy in 2003, conflicts with, but does not overturn, a 2006 decision by a California federal district court that upheld the rule as the law of the land. Conservationists involved in the lawsuit are expected to quickly appeal the decision.


Bush Proposal Opens Colorado Roadless Areas to Drilling

A new report, released today by the Pew Environment Group, finds that a proposed rule expected next week from the Bush administration would allow approximately 100 new oil and gas leases to be developed in Colorado national forests that are currently protected from drilling by federal rule.

Shale Mountain, Clearwater NF, Idaho

Shale Mountain, Clearwater NF, Idaho
Photo: Chuck Pezeshkil

Thousands of Americans Call for Protecting Idaho's Roadless Backcountry

The U.S. Forest Service released a report on July 3rd summarizing public comments on a Bush Administration proposal that would remove current protections for millions of acres of Idaho's roadless backcountry forests. More than 95% of the comments urged greater protections for Idaho's National Forest Roadless Areas.


Over 80,000 Voice Support for Roadless Area Protection

In less than 60 days, more than 80,000 people submitted comments opposing a controversial proposal that would remove current protections for more than 4.4 million acres of Colorado's roadless national forests leaving them vulnerable to industrial development, including coal mining and new oil and gas development. For more on this overwhelming response, read a press release.

Roadless on PBS

Roadless Issue Featured on NOW Television Program

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule is the focus of a recent episode of the PBS television program NOW. Robert C. Vandermark, Manager of the Heritage Forest Campaign, is featured along with other representatives from the ranching, environmental, and mining communities. Watch the program now!

Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest

New Land Management Plan for Tongass National Forest

On January 25, 2008, the Bush administration released a new Land Management Plan for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska--the world's last intact temperate rainforest.

Colorado's Roadless National Forests

Roadless Area in Colorado

Pike-San Isabel National Forest, Colorado
© Penelope Purdy

On December 26, 2007, the Bush administration published its Notice of Intent to begin a federal roadless rulemaking to weaken regulations currently protecting 4.1 million acres of national forest land in Colorado.

This rulemaking could open the door to the mining industry, the oil and gas industry, the logging industry, and the skiing industry for new development in the most peaceful, unspoiled areas of Colorado's National Forests.

When we say roadless, we mean BUSINESS!

Our last remaining pristine roadless areas are America's playground and offer some of the most amazing recreation destinations in the country. These national forest lands are good for business and need protection from commercial interests such as mining, logging and road-building. A study by the Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor business and recreation contribute $730 billion to the U.S. economy every year.

Recently, legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress that would protect 58.5 million acres of wild roadless areas. Outdoor businesses have played an integral part in conserving these valuable recreation lands and it is important to continue to demonstrate this support.

Find out more about roadless areas and their importance to outdoor recreation and businesses.

Statement: Judge Brimmer's Denial of Wyoming's Motion to Reinstate a Nationwide Injunction on the 2001 Roadless Rule

On June 8th, Judge Brimmer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming denied the State of Wyoming's motion to reinsetate his prior ruling and nationwide injunction of the 2001 roadless rule. As a result, Judge Brimmer's ruling confirms that the Roadless Area Conservation Rule remains the law of the land. Read HFC's Statement

Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest

House and Senate Introduce Legislation to Protect Our Last Wild Forests

More than 140 House Democrats and Republicans, led by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Christopher Shays (R-CT), George Miller (D-CA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) introduced legislation today that would provide permanent protection for 58.5 million acres of pristine forest land in 39 states. This would include 9.3 million acres of North America's only coastal temperate rainforest Alaska's Tongass National Forest. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Warner (R-VA), along with 16 of their colleagues, introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

Congressional efforts today represent the will of the American people and sound science ensuring a natural legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Conservation Groups Seek Extended Public Comment Period for Idaho's Roadless Plan

In a letter sent to the U.S. Forest Service, conservation organizations throughout the country are calling for an extension of the brief 30-day public comment period on the management of more than nine million acres of intact roadless forest in the state of Idaho. Read HFC's press release or find out more:

Colorado Governor Submits Roadless Petition

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter has submitted recommendations to the U.S. Forest Service for the management of roadless areas in Colorado. Governor Ritter's decision follows the Bush administration's continued efforts to undermine roadless area conservation through legal action but aims too low in terms of protecting Colorado's roadless areas. Read HFC's statement or find out more:

Statement: U.S. Forest Service Moving Forward on Idaho's Roadless Petition

The U.S. Forest Service announced its intent to begin a new federal rule to replace existing protections of national forest roadless areas in the state of Idaho. This is the first state-specific federal rulemaking on the management of national roadless areas. Read HFC's statement. More information.

Bush Administration Appeals Roadless Court Ruling

The Bush administration filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a judgment that affirmed the status of legal protections for inventoried roadless areas in national forests. This final judgment also enjoined the U.S. Forest Service from taking any further action contrary to the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Read HFC's statement.

Utah Governor Pulls a U-Turn on Roadless Forest Protections

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has indicated that he will abandon his plan to petition the Forest Service to lift protections from Utah's more than 4 million acres of roadless federal forest land. Had it succeeded, this effort would have left Utah's roadless national forest land vulnerable to development, mining and road construction. Find out more.

Ruling: Judge Stops Projects that Violate 2001 Roadless Rule

Judge Elizabeth LaPorte, Magistrate for the U.S. District Court for Northern California, issued an injunction November 29th halting all activities inconsistent with the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Find out more.

Court Reinstates Roadless Rule

A California federal judge has reinstated the 2001 Roadless Rule, throwing out the Bush administration's plan to weaken protections for our national forests. The decision protects approximately 50 million acres of National Forest roadless areas. If challenged, it will go before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read the decision [PDF], HFC's statement, or legal documents related to the case:

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