Clinton bars logging on roadless areas

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Thu Nov 16 04:25:44 EST 2000

truffler1635 at wrote:

> From The Oregonian, Nov. 14, 2000, p A1
> Landmark logging ban protects roadless forests
> The oreder would protect two-thirds of the nation's forests, plus the
> Tongass in Alaska, and is a key element of Clinton's legacy

And if that world class moron GW Bush gets in the white house and attempts to
throw out this action by Clinton, he'll be surprised to find one big fight on
his hands.

> By MICHAEL MILSTEN, The Oregonian
>         The Clinton administration on Monday declared it would bar commerial
> logging on millions of roadless acres that make up nearly two-thirds of
> America's national forests by year's end and extend the ban to Alaska's
> massive Tongass National Forest in 2004.
>         The action fulfilled most conservationists' hopes for a wildland
> protection plant President Clinton proposed last fall as a key element of
> his environmental legacy.
>         Affected are 58.5 million acres nationwide, an area nearly the size
> of Oregon, blocked together in parcels 5,000 acres and larger.
>         Conservation groups had wanted roadless parcels as small as 1,000
> acres safeguarded, too, potentially doubling the protected acreage, but
> the final plan announced Monday leaves the fate of those fragments up to
> individual forest supervisors.
>         U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dobeck likened the sweeping ation,
> released in the warning days of Clinton's tenure, to President Theodore
> Roosevel't creation of 16 million acres of new national forests just
> before his authority to do so ran out in 1907.
>         "Was it controversial? You bet it was," Dombeck said of Roosevelt's
> landmark decision. "Was it the right thing to do? I'd ask the American
> people to answer that question.
>         "They were taking the long view, and that's what we have to do."
>         A draft of the roadless plan released earlier this year left the
> Tongass out and prohibited new road construction, but not logging, in
> about 40 million acres. The final plan, released Monday, goes several
> steps further by banning logging, except for "stewardship" purposes such
> as relieving fire hazards or aiding wildlife habitat, on 49 million
> roadless acres of national forests nationwide including 4 million acres
> in the Northwest.
>         About 1.7 million of those acres in the Northwest might have been
> suitable for logging.
>         In 2004, after four years to allow the economy of Southeast Alaska
> to adjust, 9.5 million acres of the Tongass Naitonal Forest's lush rain
> forests would fall under the same protections. The Tongass is the
> nation's largest national forest and was expected to produce half of the
> timber the Forest Service had planned to harvest from roadless areas
> nationwide.
>         "This is probably the most significant policy decision related to
> national forests since the national forests were established," said Paul
> Hirt, an environmental historian at Washington State University and
> author of a book about national forest management. "I can't think of an
> action more far-reaching and visionary than this."
>         With the roadless plan, he said, the public and the administration
> are finally giving direction to a Forest Service that for too long has
> tried to please both the timber industry and the conservation movement
> without actually pleasing anyone.
>         "They promised all sides everything they wanted, but in the end they
> couldn't deliver." Hirt said.
>         Indeed, the roadless-area protection plan drew more than 1.6 million
> public comments, more than any other federal planning effort, Dombeck
> said. Conservation groups said most of thos comments favored additional
> protection of the remote reaches of forest still untouched by a vast
> national forest road system now falling into severe disrepair.
>         "This basically says we're going to manage lands with a lighter
> touch than a bulldozer," said Andy Stahl,a golden opportunity to rebuild
> these facilities and to do it in the right way."
>         Within days, the park service took the sign from nature to develop a
> comprehensive plan for the valley.
>         While much of the 1980 plan had languished without action, the flood
> brought $176 million in congressional financing that a previous lack of
> political will had failed to do.
>         A draft of the valley plan earned a mix of criticism and praise at
> public forums this spring and from more than 10,500 written comments.
> Park Servi federal land. Less than 4 percent of the federal timber
> harvested from 1993 to 1999 came from roadless lands, the Forest Service
> said.
>         With the roadless debate at rest, the Forest Service can stop
> spending money on lawsuits and instead spend it on fixing decaying roads
> and reducing fire hazards, which should create more jobs than logging
> roadless areas ever woiuld, Dombeck said.
>         "We have literally been in gridlock while other areas that needed
> work went unattended to," he said.
>         "This at least brings all that to a conclusion, and if Congress
> doesn't like it, they can change it," agreed former Forest Service Chief
> Jack Ward Thomas, now a professor at the University of Montana.
>         It remained unclear just how lasting a part of Clinton's
> environmental legacy the roadless initiative would be. Agriculture
> Secretary Dan Glickman, at the likely direction of the White House, will
> sign a decision in 30 days that either could stick to the strengthened
> plan unveiled Monday or go even further.
>         "The ante has really been bumped up now," said Chris West, vice
> president of the Portland-based American Forest Resource Council. "This
> is a third of the national forests, and the decision has been made from
> on high, and we may not have seen the end of it.
>         "This ignores people's needs; it's strictly building a legacy."
>         In contract, some conservationists said that by delaying action on
> the Tongass until 2004 and allowing logging for loosely defined
> stewardship reasons, the roadless plan leaves open loopholes that an
> unfriendly administration coiuld use to dismantle it.
>         "They've taken a great step forward, but at the same time they've
> left the door open to serious mischief," said Nathaniel Lawrence of the
> National Resources Defense Council. "If they wait four years on the
> Tongass, a huge amount of forest will have been lost, and it will be
> harder than ever to curtail things."
> Michael Milsten can be reached by email at
> michaelmilstein at
> COMMENT BY POSTER: This executive ban has good points and bad. The
> decreased _potential_ logging from roadless areas should increase water
> quality and decrease endangered salmon habitat, plus increase smolt
> survival. However, it still leaves open extensive thinning operations
> disguised as "stewardship". Some of these thinning operations will
> undoubtedly look to the untrained eye as "clearcuts". As experience has
> already shown, taking more than 10-15% too many trees from a stand at one
> time can result in windfall, when the remaining trees are insufficient
> sheltered from strong winds that they topple during even relatively mild
> winds. Removal 60-70% of trees largely ensures the remaining trees will
> likely _not_ withstand moderate windstorms, and result in "clearcut"
> conditions.
> So the real question in this ban is: who decides "stewardship" goals? The
> logging and recreational communities have two vastly differing opinions.
> Posted as a courtesy by
> Daniel B. Wheeler
> Sent via
> Before you buy.

Joe  Zorzin, Ecoforester

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"Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river." Lao Tse

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