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Outdoor Alliance comments on the Wilderness and Roadless Release Act

2011-07-26 / Tom Flynn

In a letter to the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Outdoor Alliance expressed concerns with H.R. 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Release Act and the impact it would have on the future of backcountry landscapes highly valued for the recreational opportunities they provide. 

The bill, which is before Congress this week, would return land management to a binary approach that fails to recognize the importance of “middle ground” lands to the recreation community, to the environment, and to local economies. The proposed legislation would have land managed under just the Wilderness Act of 1964 or the Multiple-Use-Sustained-Yield Act of 1960. In so doing, it would remove protection from important non-wilderness backcountry areas, including Roadless areas, BLM Wilderness Study Areas and BLM Wild Lands. Over 60 million acres of Federal land could be affected.

All human powered recreation users know the importance of Roadless areas, in particular, to our favorite activities. Whether climbing in the Bitterroots, hiking the PCT, riding in North Dakota, paddling in the Sierras, or backcountry skiing throughout the West, Roadless areas provide some of the nation’s best recreation opportunities. These areas deserve protection.

Outdoor Alliance challenges the binary approach of H.R. 1581 that either protects lands as Wilderness or opens them for development. This approach fails to recognize the value of nationally-consistent management policies that solidify the middle ground, preserve continued use of backcountry landscapes and embrace the values that define the experiences we enjoy.

Please read the entire letter here.

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