The public comment period for the Bush administration's proposed rule that would eliminate the Roadless Area Conservation Rule has been extended to Nov. 15.

We need to send as many letters as we can to the Forest Service to let them know the strength of the opposition to its ill-conceived new rule.

The Forest Service announced its intention to change the Clinton-era roadless rule on July 9, with the comment period scheduled to close on Sept. 15. But the response from the public was so strong that the agency extended the comment period another 60 days. (Our thanks to all of you whose letters brought this extension about!)

The original roadless rule was developed after 600 public meetings, and received 2.5 million public comments, the overwhelming majority of them supportive. The rule protects 58.5 million roadless acres of federal forest from logging, mining, and oil drilling, and helps ensure clean water, wilderness recreation, and habitat protection.

The Bush administration's proposed rule change would require state governors to petition the Secretary of Agriculture if they wanted to protect inventoried roadless areas in their states. The language of the proposed rule, however, leaves the final decision on these petitions in the hands of the Secretary of Agriculture.

If a petition is accepted, the Forest Service would begin a state-specific rulemaking process. The proposed rule makes it clear, however, that a governor's petition to protect roadless areas would not guarantee that such protection would be included in the final rule.

If a governor fails to file a petition, or if his or her petition is rejected, roadless area management would default to the Forest Service's forest management plans, 59 percent of which allow roadbuilding in roadless areas.


The period for public comment on the proposed rule began in July and has now been extended to Nov. 15, 2004. We are working with other organizations to send a million letters protesting the rule change to the Forest Service by then.

The proposed rule is available at:

Send your comments to:

Content Analysis Team
ATTN: Roadless State Petitions
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 221090
Salt Lake City, UT 84122

Fax: (801) 517-1014
E-mail: statepetitionroadless@fs.fed.us.

Comments also may be submitted from: http://www.regulations.gov.

SAMPLE LETTER (Please feel free to rewrite it in your own words.)

Dear Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth:

Please accept this letter as official public comment for the roadless area management state petition proposal.

I strongly oppose the elimination of the existing Roadless Area Conservation Rule. This enormously popular rule provides protection for fish and wildlife habitat, watersheds, and wilderness recreation. It protects the last undeveloped portions of our national forest heritage.

I object to the proposed rule's delegation of roadless area protection to state governors. Our public forests belong to all Americans, and should be administered at the federal level.
I oppose any changes that would leave roadless areas in our national forests open to roadbuilding, logging, mining, drilling, or any other development.

I urge you to abandon this misguided proposal and leave the Roadless Area Conservation Rule in place in the Lower 48 states and Alaska's Chugach National Forest, and reinstate the rule in the Tongass National Forest.

Please help preserve the experience of wilderness for all Americans, and for the generations to come.


Your name
Your address

Please send a copy of your letter to us at:

Forests Forever
50 First St. #401
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 974-3636 (Ph)
(415) 974-3664 (Fax)



Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places