The Wilderness Society condemns bill by Sen. Barrasso rolling back protection for millions of acres of wilderness

May 26, 2011

Legislation would wipe out favorite places for hunting, fishing and more

WASHINGTON (May 26, 2011) The Wilderness Society today condemned the introduction of a bill by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) that would roll back existing protections and place at risk tens of millions more acres of wilderness-quality but unprotected National Forest and BLM public lands.

"Like its twin brother that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) introduced in the House last month, this is another punch from Congress in what has been the biggest attack on wilderness we have seen in the history of The Wilderness Society,” The Wilderness Society’s Paul Spitler said of the Senate version of the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act. "These proposals fly in the face of values Americans hold dear with respect to the stewardship of our American lands. It also flies in the face of nearly fifty years of legislation designating new wilderness areas.”

Spitler, a policy analyst, said the twin bills pose great risk to everything from supplies of cleaning drinking water to favorite destinations for hiking, camping, fishing and hunting.

If passed, this legislation would open wilderness-caliber lands to destructive threats, including oil and gas development, uncontrolled off-road vehicle use and other unchecked development. It would essentially prohibit the Forest Service and BLM from managing pristine lands to protect their wilderness values.

Read more about the attacks on our public lands and natural resources on The Wilderness Society’s Web site at: