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Heritage Forests Campaign News Release

July 14, 2003

Heritage Forests Campaign Launches National "Whistle Stop" Tour

Cross-Country Tour Traveling to 24 Cities to STUMP for America's Forests

WASHINGTON The Heritage Forests Campaign launched a national "Whistle Stop Tour" today to call attention to the Bush administration's continued efforts to dismantle the widely popular Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The two-prong tour is traveling on parallel routes starting in Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA and converging on Washington, D.C. with decaled vans portraying America's national forests before and after excessive development and a 6 by 8 foot inflatable tree stump.

"Our 24-city whistle stop tour is criss-crossing the nation to stump for protection of our last wild forests," said Robert Vandermark, Co-Director, Heritage Forests Campaign. "We want these events to build momentum with local citizens for stopping the Bush administration's assault on our national forests. The time is now to save our national forests; because once they are gone they are gone forever."

The roadless rule protects 58.5 million acres of America's last wild forests in 39 states from most commercial logging and road-building. In June 2003, the administration proposed exempting the Tongass and Chugach National Forests - the world's largest coastal temperate rainforest - from the rule. The proposal also allows governors to opt out of the rule. The Tongass exemption officially clears the way for 50 large-scale timber sales currently being planned by the timber industry in roadless areas of the Tongass.

"The Bush administration is poised to log America's natural heritage, and this tour gives the public an opportunity to weigh in to stop them," said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Conservation Advocate, U.S. PIRG. "Americans value our last wild places, and it is time for the Bush administration to respect the public interest instead of continuing to cater to the timber industry."

The roadless rule was adopted in January 2001 following years of scientific study, hundreds of public hearings across the country, and more than 1.6 million comments. To date, the Forest Service has received 2.2 million comments on the rule #151; 95% in favor of roadless protection. This outpouring of public participation is ten times greater than that of any other federal rulemaking in history.

"Public participation is at the heart of roadless protection," said Vandermark. "Local citizens helped craft the rule, commented on the rule, and now have a chance to save the rule."

From high-altitude aspen wilderness to low-lying grasslands, roadless areas encompass a cross section of pristine forest land, and are the last remaining strongholds for grizzly bears, wolves, elk, salmon, and trout. Every year millions of Americans hike, fish and hunt in our national forests and live off the clean drinking water from the forest headwaters and streams.

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

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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