Friday, February 15, 2008

No new forest roads

Idaho has the largest contiguous roadless areas left in the lower 48 states, attracting burned-out city folks. Peace and quiet of open space is a tremendous draw for the people who live in cities with endless suburbs. The great gift, that many here take for granted, of nature, peace and quiet are being chewed up as our population grows. Denying future generations of roadless areas by building roads is one of the biggest mistakes we could make.

In January, 2001, the Interior secretary directed land management agencies to "consider and analyze potential climate change effects in management plans." Thus, saving these lands from development is essential.


1) Way too little land is public and untrammeled; we must protect what is left.

2) Land management agencies have no budget for maintaining roads—why build more?

3) Roadless areas allow all of us access—but without polluting machines.

4) Places where we need to be spending limited fire prevention budgets are not in the roadless areas but in the wildland-urban interface where

there are already plenty of roads.

For my 30 years in Idaho, I have spent some part of every day in the backcountry—much of it in the Pioneers that are slated for development.

I've observed that any place accessed by motorized vehicles is eventually degraded. Does it make any sense to turn over our natural national heritage to a few selfish and greedy folks? We must act to prevent any new roads from being developed now or into the future.

Write: or USDA Secretary Ed Schafer, Roadless Areas-Idaho, Box 162909, Sacramento, CA 95816-2909.

Christine Gertschen

Sun Valley

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