People don't like roadless forests

snowangel at snowangel at
Fri Feb 18 17:08:51 EST 2000

In article <9bdf81bd& at>,
  wafcdc at wrote:
> From: "wafcdc at" <wafcdc at>
> Subject: Senators Urge Clinton To Stand Firm in Protecting National
> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    February 17, 2000
> Contact: Steve Holmer, 202/547-9105
> Senators Urge Clinton To Stand Firm in Protecting National Forests

                  People don't like
                  roadless forests
                  New survey on Clinton plan
                  for wilderness protectionism

                  By Stephan Archer
                  © 1999

                  A recent poll taken by a non-profit
                  organization shows a majority of respondents
                  oppose the Clinton administration's recent
                  proposal to set aside 40 million acres to be
                  designated as "roadless" area, contradicting
                  earlier data gathered by the Mellman Group,
                  which indicated a majority of the public would
                  support the White House proposal.

                  The Paragon Foundation, a public education,
                  constitutional rights organization in
                  Alamogordo, N.M., conducted its poll to "give
                  the average rank-and-file American a chance to
                  vote." The poll was conducted by publishing a
                  questionnaire nationwide in newspapers,
                  magazines and on the Internet. Respondents
                  either clipped out the survey and mailed it to
                  the foundation or participated in the poll via
                  the group's website.

                  In the counting process, which was open to the
                  public and conducted by volunteers, 2,229
                  people responded to the Paragon Poll. Jay
                  Walley, public relations director for the
                  foundation, said the poll had a margin of error
                  of plus or minus 2 percent.

                  In the poll, an overwhelming 68 percent of the
                  respondents said protecting jobs, communities
                  and industries that depend on public lands
                  was more important than protecting land from
                  commercial use. Thirty percent thought public
                  lands should be protected from commercial
                  use while two percent were undecided.

                  Another 68 percent thought that building roads
                  on public lands should be allowed while 67
                  percent thought the United States had enough
                  protected wilderness. Only 27 percent and 30
                  percent said "no" to both questions
                  respectively with a small contingency being

                  These survey results sharply contradict the
                  earlier Mellman poll paid for by the Pew
                  Charitable Trust and commissioned by the
                  Heritage Forests Campaign, The Wilderness
                  Society and The National Audubon Society. In
                  the Mellman poll, 63 percent of the
                  respondents thought not enough of the nation's
                  forests were protected, and 74 percent of them
                  would support a plan that would not exempt
                  any national forests from a roadless protection

                  The Wilderness society noted that the Mellman
                  poll, conducted in June of this year, was an
                  important factor in persuading the Clinton
                  administration to announce the roadless area
                  plan last Wednesday while speaking before an
                  audience in the George Washington and
                  Jefferson National Forest in Virginia.

                  Explaining his roadless protection policy to his
                  listeners, Clinton had said, "Through this
                  action, we will protect more than 40 million
                  acres, 20 percent of the total forest land in
                  America in the national forests from activities,
                  such as new road construction, which would
                  degrade the land."

                  During the speech, Clinton boasted that his
                  administration has now protected more land
                  than any other administration in the history of
                  the country except those of Franklin and
                  Theodore Roosevelt. He also took the
                  opportunity to announce a second proposal -- a
                  $1 billion Lands Legacy Initiative, which
                  would guarantee permanent funding over the
                  years for continued protection and restoration
                  of public lands throughout the nation.

                  Although 40 million acres could be set aside as
                  "roadless" areas, George Frampton, chairman
                  of the President's Council on Environmental
                  Quality, said the day after Clinton's
                  announcement that a potential "50 or 55 million
                  acres of roadless area on the national forests
                  nationwide could be protected."

                  Although admitting that his foundation's poll
                  was timely, Walley said the poll was not

                  "We did not know at the time that Clinton was
                  going to announce his roadless area plan,"
                  Walley said. "It just so happened we were
                  compiling our results when that statement
                  came out, so it was just a really timely

                  Walley told WorldNetDaily his group wanted
                  to do the poll because it believes those
                  working in the resource-based industries
                  weren't well represented in the Mellman poll.
                  The group also did the poll, Walley said,
                  because, in the foundation's view, the Mellman
                  poll was flawed.

                  "We considered the poll flawed because of the
                  fact of who paid for it," Mellman said.

                  Even though Walley said the foundation's poll
                  was not a response to the president's proposal
                  but rather a response to the Mellman poll, a
                  timely question regarding Clinton's proposal
                  was asked.

                  "Would you favor a proposal that permanently
                  protects all roadless areas of 1,000 acres or
                  greater on public lands?" asked one of the
                  poll's questions.

                  Only 29 percent of the respondents said "yes"
                  to this question, while 69 percent said "no."

                  Other questions asked in the Paragon poll
                  were related to the possibility of prohibitions
                  in wilderness areas including use of off-road
                  vehicles, oil and mineral exploration, logging,
                  and livestock grazing. For each question,
                  respondents decisively opposed any
                  prohibition in public wilderness areas.

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