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HFC Roadless Update
January 12, 2004

Contact: Tony Iallonardo, NET
(202) 887-8855


Today is the three year anniversary of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a landmark conservation law protecting nearly 60 million acres of America’s last wild forests. Unprecedented in its overwhelming popularity, this rule garnered ten times more public comments than any other federal rule in history. Unfortunately, today will not be marked by celebration. The Bush administration has worked relentlessly to gut the rule since the day it took office. Most recently the Bush administration exempted the Tongass National Forest from the rule in a stealth move two days before Christmas. The administration has also stated its intent to strip federal protections for other wild forests.

But support for roadless protection is equally relentless. On the three-year anniversary of the roadless rule, those lining up to support the rule include: Members of Congress, major corporations such as Staples, outdoor retailers such as REI, hundreds of gun groups in states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan and Governors from New Mexico, Virginia, Maine, Washington, and Pennsylvania. To date, nearly 2.5 million comments have been received on the rule.

Please read below for more information on the Alaska exemption and roadless support from Governors, businesses and Congress.

On Roadless Anniversary, Senators Call on President to Uphold the Rule

January 12, 2004 marks the three-year anniversary of finalization Roadless Area Conservation Rule was finalized. On January 20, 2001, the Bush Administration took office and froze implementation of the rule. See the full timeline of roadless actions.

Senator Cantwell and a number of other Senators are sending letter today calling on the Bush administration to abandon its plans to weaken roadless protections in the lower-48 states.

Bush Administration Finalizes Rainforest Logging Proposal, Ignores Public

Late in the afternoon, two days before Christmas, the Bush Administration quietly released its decision to exempt Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from the roadless rule, despite widespread public disapproval. Nearly 250,000 public comments were received on this proposal, with less than 2,000 in favor of opening this pristine forest to logging. Opposition to the proposal came from major wood supply-users such as Staples and Haywood Lumber, outdoor retailers such as REI, more than 50 prominent scientists, and Americans from across the country. Read HFC’s comment analysis.

Outdoor Retailers Support Permanent Federal Roadless Protection

Citing the overwhelming economic and ecological importance of federal protection for roadless areas in our national forests, major outdoor recreation companies based in Colorado, California, Utah and Oregon wrote to the Bush administration and their governors voicing support for permanent federal protection of these areas. In total, 115 companies signed the letters, including REI, Black Diamond, Kelty, Marmot, and Montrail. Read the letters.

Governors Oppose Bush Plan to Strip Federal Protections For Local Wild Forests

Virginia Governor Mark Warner, Maine Gov. John Baldacci and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, have all sent letters to the Bush administration objecting to its plans to weaken the roadless rule in the lower 48. Read the letters.


The Heritage Forests Campaign is an alliance of conservationists, wildlife advocates, clergy, educators, scientists, and other Americans who are working together to uphold protection of our National Forests.

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