The U.S. Forest Service has hastily reversed its decision not to hold a
hearing in the Wood River Valley about the future of the nations roadless forest
lands. The agency is wisely giving people in the Wood River Valley a chance to comment on
President Clintons Roadless Initiative.
The weather and requests from local residents convinced the Forest
Service to change its mind. People who set out to go to Twin Falls to attend Monday
evenings hearing were faced with treacherous travel conditionswind, snow, ice
and darknesson the hour-and-a-half trip to Twin Falls. Now, comments may be recorded
on the record tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Avenue North.
The Forest Service had not scheduled a hearing here in the Wood River
Valley where support for wilderness and roadless areas is strong.
The deadline for either written or oral comments is Monday, Dec. 20.
Written comments may be sent to: USDA, FS, Attn: Roadless, P.O. Box 221090, Salt Lake City
UT 84122. Or they may be e-mailed to: email@example.com.
Even though the season is busy, its important for people to get
on the record. Opponents of more wilderness are powerful, well-funded and well-organized.
Reports from North Idaho said hundreds of people turned out in Orofino
to oppose the initiative. Opponents captured the headlines and the airwaves in Twin Falls
on Monday night.
Idahos senators, Larry Craig and Mike Crapo, have howled about
Clintons order to the Forest Service that calls for protecting the nations
unroaded forest landsthe remnants of the nations once vast wilderness.
The initiative could ensure protection of 9.4 million acres in Idaho
and up to 40 million acres nationwide. Of 192 million acres of federal forest lands, just
60 million acresless than one-thirdare free of roads. Thats hardly
balanced use in our book.