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For the week of Dec. 15, 1999 through Dec. 21, 1999

Time to testify

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 nation’s roadless forest lands. The agency is wisely giving people in the Wood River Valley a chance to comment on President Clinton’s 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 evening’s hearing were faced with treacherous travel conditions—wind, snow, ice and darkness—on 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: roadless/[email protected].

Even though the season is busy, it’s 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.

Idaho’s senators, Larry Craig and Mike Crapo, have howled about Clinton’s order to the Forest Service that calls for protecting the nation’s unroaded forest lands—the remnants of the nation’s 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 acres—less than one-third—are free of roads. That’s hardly balanced use in our book.


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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.