Roadless Rule Litigation Reaching End of the Road
Roadless Rule Litigation Reaching End of the Road | Marten Law.pdf (0 downloads)
February 11, 2013
After more than a decade of litigation over the management of roadless areas in national forests, several developments over the past months have brought this long and drawn-out fight nearly to a close. All but three states will be governed by the terms of the 2001 Roadless Rule, while Idaho’s and Colorado’s state-specific rules will govern roadless areas in those two states. Alaska, with the nation’s two largest national forests, the Tongass and Chugach National Forests, as well as the most roadless acreage of any state, is the only state in which litigation continues.
In the 1970s, the Forest Service developed an “inventory” of roadless areas larger than 5,000 acres, to be considered by Congress for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. However, most of these inventoried roadless areas (IRAs) were never formally designated as “wilderness.” They remained governed by individual forest plans, which generally allowed for at least some extractive uses, including logging, mining, oil and gas development, and construction of off-road vehicle routes.
In the late 1990’s, the U.S Forest Service began developing the Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule), which it issued during the final days of the Clinton Administration. Subject to limited exceptions, the Roadless Rule prohibited road construction, reconstruction, and timber harvest in the 58.5 million acres of the IRAs within the national forests.
Resources Consultant, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs
Board of Directors, BlueRibbon Coalition