Sportsmen praise Sec. Vilsack for calling a timeout on roadless land development.


Sportsmen praise Sec. Vilsack for calling a timeout on roadless land development.

May 28, 2009


David Petersen (970) 259-3161

Chris Wood (703) 284-9403


Sportsmen praise Sec. Vilsack for calling a timeout on roadless land development
Forest Service instructed to use 2001 Roadless Rule for present management

DENVERHunters and anglers welcomed Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsacks announcement Thursday calling for secretarial review of road construction or timber sales in roadless areas of the national forest system.

Sec. Vilsack understands how important backcountry areas are to hunting, fishing, drinking water supplies and fish and wildlife habitat. His personal interest in the protection of these vital areas is welcome news to sportsmen and women across the West, said Trout Unlimiteds Chief Operating Officer, Chris Wood.

This is a welcome development considering the limbo many states are finding themselves in, said David Petersen, roadless lands director for Trout Unlimited in Colorado. Hopefully, Colorado and the Forest Service will take note of this action and use it to improve the Colorado roadless plan which, quite frankly, leaves a lot to be desired. Ideally, Gov. Ritter wouldnt have adopted a faulty rule created by his predecessor and instead used the 2001 rule.

Colorado and Idaho are the only two states to attempt to use the Administrative Procedures Act to create state-specific roadless land management plans Idahos plan is complete, and, in some cases, offers even more protection than the 2001 rule. Colorados rulemaking effort is still in progress, but, according to Petersen, its present draft is significantly weaker than the 2001 rule and would open up much of Colorados backcountry to road construction and associated development.

Hopefully, Sec. Vilsacks announcement will motivate Governor Ritter to take a longer look at the Colorado roadless proposal and make some needed adjustments, Petersen said.

The Idaho roadless rule was unaffected by Vilsacks announcement, and serves as a good template for Colorado, Wood said.

The Idaho rule is a good example of what can happen when people apply common sense to common problems for the common good, said Wood, a member of the U.S. Department of Agricultures Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee. He served on the RACNAC during Idahos rulemaking process. Were pleased Secretary Vilsack chose to leave the Idaho rule in place with his new roadless policy.

Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. It has over 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.

Date: 5/28/2009