Find Out More

Roadless Values


How To Strengthen Upper Tier Protections

Key Areas Left out of Upper Tier Protections


2 comments on “Find Out More

  1. lenard bryer
    June 10, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    how will the new Colorado rule be affected by ongoing NFMA activity and the variety of current and possible future wilderness legislation for the state?

  2. Pete
    June 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Thanks for your good questions.

    Let me answer the second one first–since Wilderness requires an Act of Congress, once such legislation is passed it would supersede any roadless rule–state-specific or national.

    Protection of roadless area–especially in an ‘upper tier’ that does not contain the array of exceptions and loopholes that will plague other CO roadless lands–can help keep these areas intact, so that when Congress does act the lands are still suitable for wilderness preservation. Once opened for coal mine expansion, oil and gas drilling, water projects, transmission lines, etc. (all threats for non-upper tier lands under the proposed CO rule), their wilderness potential is severely weakened if not eliminated. So, strong roadless protection keeps the possibility of future wilderness alive, whether an area is part of a current proposal or legislation, or not.

    RE: NFMA, as a rulemaking, the CO-specific rule will set certain prescriptions for our state’s roadless national forests. These will act as a ‘ground floor’ during any subsequent forest planing, that would be conducted under the new NFMA regs (if/when those are finalized).

    So a future forest plan could not weaken the standards set by a roadless rulemaking for the roadless lands, but it could strengthen them. Such decisions would be made under the forest planning process, which is directed by the NFMA implementing regs. On some other matters the roadless rule(s) are silent–i.e. travel management planning. That too would be done through the NFMA planing process.

    For instance, unlike in Wilderness, mountain bikes, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and ATVs are not banned from roadless areas, depending on the travel management prescriptions. Changes to those prescriptions could be done through the NFMA-derived planning process.

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