Outdoors

Cantwell, Inslee lead effort to protect roadless forests


Scott Stouder, the regional field director for Trout Unlimited, packs his horses and mules through old-growth ponderosa pines as he heads into the Rapid River roadless area drainage near Idaho's Seven Devils Wilderness. 
 (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Scott Stouder, the regional field director for Trout Unlimited, packs his horses and mules through old-growth ponderosa pines as he heads into the Rapid River roadless area drainage near Idaho's Seven Devils Wilderness. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

CONSERVATION — Two Washington lawmakers led a bipartisan group of 131 sponsors to introduce legislation Thursday to assure an administrative rule protecting 58.5 million acres of wild roadless areas on America's public lands

Led by Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington, a group of sponsored by 20 Senate and 111 bipartisan House co-sponsors introduced the legislation to bolster the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

The Roadless Area Conservation Act will confirm long-term protections against damaging commercial logging and road-building for vulnerable wildlands on 30 percent of the 193-million-acre National Forest System, shielding roadless areas from political tides and whims of future administrations.

Roadless areas provide many benefits to Americans and wildlife: They safeguard the source of drinking water of 60 million Americans; they contain some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat in National Forests; and they provide abundant opportunities for quality outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, and backpacking, supporting an industry that contributes an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year.

National forests cover 9.2 million acres of Washington – about one-fifth of the state’s total land mass. There are two million acres of inventoried roadless areas in the Evergreen State, including sites like Kettle River Range, Dark Divide and Lena Lake.

Sen. Cantwell's office prepared this report highlighting the economic, environmental and societal benefits that roadless areas provide.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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