Outdoor Alliance Text
 
about    policy platform    take action    news   blog  member organizations     contact
Homepage Photo
National Forest Stewardship

Our Forest Service platform focuses on protection of backcountry roadless areas, adressing the ongoing impacts of unmaintained roads, and the need for full public participation in the forest planning process. Forest Service lands across the nation provide accessible recreational opportunities to millions of Americans. Stewardship of these lands and the quality recreational experiences they provide is important to the human-powered outdoor recreation community. 

Preserving our National Forest Backcountry

On National Forests, backcountry areas that are accessed by trail, not road, are called “roadless areas.” The Forest Service has inventoried some 58.5 million acres of backcountry roadless areas, mostly in the Rocky Mountains. It makes common sense to leave these areas as they are - as they always have been.

Undeveloped forests are where generations of Americans have enjoyed hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing and other outdoor activities. These areas are also important sources of clean water for drinking, irrigation, fisheries and recreation. Scientists have demonstrated that these pristine areas provide important habitat for rare fish and wildlife and support an ecosystem that benefits everyone.

Since 2000, the Forest Service has had a policy against building new roads in backcountry roadless areas. The Forest Service already has a multi- million dollar maintenance backlog for its existing road network. It makes little sense to build more roads when the agency cannot afford to maintain the roads it already has.

Outdoor Alliance supports a common-sense policy of leaving roadless areas in a natural condition, in part because this fulfills the Forest Service mandate of multiple use of national forests.

Watch Video

Outdoor Alliance Fact Sheet on Recreation in Roadless Areas

National Forest Roads

Most people who enjoy national forests arrive by car and need a road to access public land. The current Forest Service road maintenance backlog threatens both our freedom to enjoy the national forest and the health of our forest and water.

Unmanaged roads are not only bumpy rides. They wash out and erode, polluting water, damage wildlife habitat and speed the spread of weeds. The current 380,000-mile Forest Service road network, an artifact of past land management strategies, needs a better, more modern balance.

The Forest Service has many miles of redundant, obsolete or unnecessary roads that are costly to maintain and do not serve the millions of people who visit national forests. Outdoor Alliance supports a common-sense policy, including retiring unnecessary roads to limit environmental damage and focusing scarce resources on maintaining the roads that best serve the public.

Currently, deferred maintenance is over $8.4 billion nationwide and increases annually as allocated funds fall far short of annual maintenance needs. This is intolerable, both for taxpayers and forest visitors.

A number of national forests have already set sound road maintenance priorities, but lack the funds to reach those goals. Recent budget requests have reduced deferred maintenance resulting in an ever increasing maintenance backlog. We can no longer afford to keep sweeping this problem under the rug -or the future costs will be much greater both in squandered tax dollars and the integrity of the forest resources we all go to enjoy.

National Forest Planning Rule

In September 2007, the Forest Service provided notice of a new National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. Outdoor Alliance has been engaged in the process to develop a new approach to Forest Planning that currently relies on the outdated 1982 planning rule.

We support the basic framework of the new proposed rule, and the concept of “sustainable recreation.” We have requested that the USFS reintegrate several necessary elements of recreational management that were present in the 1982 Rule but absent from the current Draft Rule. We have requested that USFS overhaul the treatment of the role of science and the objection process, both of which seriously undermine the Draft Rule's ability to engender confidence in future planning efforts. Lastly we have requested that the USFS clarifies language regarding potential Wild and Scenic Rivers and the management of conservation and recreational species.

These changes to the Draft Rule will enhance the role that Forest Planning will play in meeting the goals of the America's Great Outdoors initiative and the Framework for Sustainable Recreation. Our changes are designed to restore the levels of fairness and analytical power Forest Planning that were present in the 1982 Rule, while recognizing and protecting the newframework proposed in the Draft Rule.

return to full list >>


Related News Items

» Outdoor Alliance Defends Travel Management Planning
» Growing Recreation Support for Boulder-White Clouds
» Outdoor Alliance Supports Boulder-White Clouds National Monument
» Hearing on Impediments to Public Recreation on Public Lands
» Outdoor Alliance Comments on Forest Service Directives
» Outdoor Alliance Submits Maps for Chugach Forest Plan Revision
» Outdoor Alliance Provides Input on National Visitor Use Monitoring
» Colorado Roadless Rule Finalized, Conserving Landscapes and Protecting Recreation
» Outdoor Alliance's Adam Cramer Appointed to Advise on Forest Planning
» Outdoor Alliance Submits Testimony to House Appropriations Subcommitte
» USDA Releases Final Rule for National Forest System Land Management Planning
» Outdoor Alliance Comments on the Proposed Action for the Shoshone National Forest
» Outdoor Alliance comments on Michigan National Forest Plan Revision
» Outdoor Alliance Comments on Policy and Procedures Review for Indian Sacred Sites
» Outdoor Alliance and a coalition of major groups comment on the Proposed Action for Washington's Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
» Outdoor Alliance comments on the Wilderness and Roadless Release Act
» Outdoor Alliance Comments on Colorado Roadless Rule
» Outdoor Alliance praises new Travel Management Plan for Colorado's White River National Forest
» Outdoor Alliance releases new film to illustrate why the Obama Administration must keep its promise to protect Colorado's National Forest Roadless Areas
» Outdoor Alliance comments on National Forest Planning
» Outdoor Alliance Provides Comments on Forest Planning
» Adapting Forest Service Roads for Current Conservation Values, Management Objectives and Recreational Users
» Outdoor Community Bands Together to Support National Forest Planning
» Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Industry Association Comment on Colorado Roadless Rule
» Governor Ritter Responds to the Colorado Outdoor Community Letter on Colorado Roadless Areas!
» Outdoor Community Requests Colorado Governor's Intervention in Roadless Rule-Making Process
» Administration Takes Action to Safeguard Roadless Areas
» Congress Fires-Up the FLAME Act
» Outdoor Alliance Submits Testimony on Opportunities to Invest in Public Lands and Waters
» Outdoor Alliance Applauds Colorado Governor Ritter's Decision to Request More Time to Do a Proper Job on the Colorado Roadless Rule
» Outdoor Alliance Comments on Management of Colorado's Backcountry Forests
» Protection for Idaho Roadless Areas Weakened
» Outdoor Alliance Highlights Need to Protect Colorado's Backcountry Forests
» Fire Spending to Impact Outdoor Recreation
» Outdoor Alliance Speaks Out Against New Forest Planning Rule
» Outdoor Alliance Comments on Management of Idaho's Backcountry Forests
» Outdoor Alliance Releases Roadless Film
» Colorado and Idaho Roadless Area Protection
» Over the river and through the forest
» Outdoor Alliances Testifies on Forest Service Use of NEPA Categorical Exclusions

RSS Feed
   
copyright 2008 Outdoor Alliance
privacy policy & terms of use
site design by tom11.com
The Outdoor Alliance includes these national not-for-profit organizations.Partner Logos Access Fund American Whitewater American Canoe Association International Mountain Bicycling Association Winter Wildlands Alliance