Enacting the Roadless Area Conservation Act would make the landmark “Roadless Rule” a national law. President Clinton created the Roadless Rule in 2001 to protect America’s remaining forests without roads.
The Roadless Area Conservation Act in Congress
The Roadless Area Conservation Act (S. 1891/H.R. 3465) would permanently protect America’s 58.5 million acres of roadless national forests in 38 states.
A “roadless” forest has no roads or clearcuts. Roadless forests are America’s backcountry lands, providing wildlife habitat, clean water and air and outdoor experiences.
Why the Act is important
By adopting this law, Congress would protect America’s last untouched forests from threats of development, even if a future President eliminates the U.S. Forest Service’s Roadless Rule.
Here are some benefits from Roadless forests.
- Roadless forests provide pure drinking water to millions of people in hundreds of U.S. cities and towns.
- More than 2,000 threatened, endangered or sensitive species live in roadless forests.
- Roadless forests provide sustainable jobs and income to thousands of people who work in the recreation and tourism industries.
- Roadless forests give people a chance to connect with nature.
Support for the Act
The Roadless Conservation Act, like the Roadless Rule, has a lot of support. When the Clinton administration was considering the Roadless Rule, a record-breaking 1.7 million people provided comments to the government. Additionally, a variety of groups support the Act, including:
- Hunters and anglers
- Conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts
- Outdoor recreation industries
The Roadless Conservation Act and local economies
Protecting America’s national forests protects local economies.
- National forests and wilderness areas contribute $14 billion annually to the U.S. economy. This is sustainable, not boom-and-bust, income.
- Hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation in our national forests contributed $9.5 billion in annual retail sales and supported 189,400 jobs.
Opposition to the Act
Opponents of roadless area protection aim to pass a bill to repeal the Forest Service’s Roadless Rule. The Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act (S. 1087, H.R.1581), also known as the Great Outdoors Giveaway, would open national forests and other lands to logging, road building and other development.