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Forest Servive approves logging on 1,200 acres of roadless National Forest

The Forest Service has approved logging on 1,200 roadless acres of
Colorado's Routt National Forest, the stated rational for this decision is to control a beetle epidemic. This is the FIRST decision in the nation to permit roadless area logging since the Roadless Area Conservation Rule was finalized in 2001. Please tell the Forest Service to cancel its plan:
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* WILD ALERT
* Thursday, June 6, 2002
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Dear WildAlert subscriber,

The Forest Service has approved logging on 1,200 roadless acres of
Colorado's Routt National Forest. The logging will not only degrade
these lands, but has little scientific basis to suggest it will do
anything to achieve it putative goal: control a beetle epidemic. Even
the US EPA opposes it. This appears to be the *first* decision in the
nation to permit roadless area logging since the Roadless Area
Conservation Rule was finalized in 2001. This decision makes a
mockery of Bush Administration claims not to violate the Rule. Please
tell the Forest Service to cancel its plan:
 http://www.wilderness.org/takeaction/?step=2&item=1591

PRIME WILD LANDS AT RISK
The Routt National Forest in northwestern Colorado near Steamboat
Springs, includes over 30 unprotected roadless areas, many of which
deserve wilderness protection. Two of them are the targets of this
logging plan. The Nipple Peak South Roadless area's 6000 acres
include isolated rocky peaks and large open meadows. They shelter
1400 elk in summer, among other wildlife. The Forest Service recently
agreed that the area had all the qualities of a wilderness area --
naturalness, roadlessness, and opportunities for solitude and
primitive recreation.

To the east of Nipple Peak South is the 36,000-acre Dome Peak Area,
with habitats ranging from lush riparian streamsides to sagebrush,
through a mixed conifer and aspen forests, with alpine tundra above
timberline.

A SPECULATIVE, DESTRUCTIVE PROJECT
The Forest Service recently approved logging a combined total of
nearly 1,200 acres -- nearly two square miles -- in these areas.
Loggers would use helicopters to remove logs so no new roads would be
built. But a significant swath of forest within these areas will be
leveled. The claimed purpose of the logging is to limit the impact of
beetle epidemics in the area so that future commercial logging may
occur.

There is little science to suggest the logging will do much, if
anything, to repel beetle attacks by helping to strengthen remaining
trees. To the contrary, the extant science indicates that when beetles
populations reach such high levels, there's little human intervention
can do. What this intervention will without question do, though, is
destroy habitat for such wildlife as marten, goshawk, and boreal owl.
That led the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conclude that
the "environmentally preferred" method for addressing the beetle
epidemics was no logging at all of the kind approved.

The Forest Service itself concluded that the chosen course of action
would cause the greatest damage to roadless character. Virtually the
only comments on the draft proposal in support of such intensive
logging came from out-of-state timber companies.

VIOLATING THE ROADLESS RULE
Logging these two special places would be illegal under the Roadless
Area Conservation Rule of 2001. The rule would only permit logging
that is confined to small-diameter trees and where needed either to
improve imperiled species habitat or to protect forests from
uncharacteristically damaging wildfires. But the Forest Service
admits that the agency's plan will log large trees, has little benefit
for wildlife, and won't protect the forest from uncharacteristic
wildfires. This is one of the first projects anywhere in the nation
to so blatantly violate the Roadless Rule since it was adopted.

While the Roadless Rule is not in force due to court action and
Administration opposition, a bill to make the rule law was introduced
this week in Congress. In addition, top Bush administration officials
have told Congress that roadless areas are special, that such areas
deserve special protection, and that the Forest Service is not logging
in roadless areas in violation of the Roadless Rule ... yet. Approval
of logging on the Routt National Forest makes a mockery of their
assurances.

SPEAK OUT TO SAVE ROUTT NATIONAL FOREST ROADLESS AREAS
Please tell the Forest Service to cancel this destructive logging
proposal. Send a letter from
 http://www.wilderness.org/takeaction/?step=2&item=1591 or contact the
Forest Service directly with this message:

- The Forest Service should cancel its logging plan for the Nipple
Peak South and Dome Peak Roadless Areas on the Routt National Forest.
These wild forests are far more valuable FOR their wildness than as a
source of logs for timber companies.

- Logging these roadless areas would violate the Roadless Rule, a
rule I strongly support. And it would violate top Bush Administration
officials' pledges to the Congress that roadless areas are special,
that such areas deserve special protection, and that the Forest
Service is not logging in roadless areas in violation of the Roadless
Rule. Logging in these these roadless areas reduces those pledges to
meaninglessness.

- There is little scientific evidence to justify massive logging in
the roadless areas. While the Forest Service admits logging will
degrade the wild character of the areas, it also admits that logging
has little chance to slow the beetle epidemics. That's why the EPA
stated that the "environmentally preferred" course of action was no
logging at all of the type approved.

- There may be ways to protect high value areas and private
property from a beetle epidemic, but this roadless area logging scheme
isn't among them.

Send your letter to:
Mr. Dale Bosworth, Chief, US Forest Service
201 14th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20250
Tel: 202-225-1661
FAX: (202) 205-1765
EMAIL:  dbosworth@fs.fed.us

+++++++++++++++++

Draft Letter:

SUBJECT LINE: Cancel Logging in Routt National Forest Roadless Areas

Dear Chief Bosworth:

I strongly urge you to cancel the Forest Service's plan to log nearly
two square miles of wild forest in the Nipple Peak South and Dome Peak
Roadless Areas on the Routt National Forest. These wild forests are
far more valuable in their wild state standing forests than as timber.

Logging will damage the roadless character of these two areas,
including one (Nipple Peak South) that the Forest Service recently
recognized as having all the characteristics of a wilderness area.
Both areas have excellent scenic, wildlife, and recreation values;
logging will damage those values.

There is little scientific evidence to justify massive logging in
these roadless areas and the Forest Service concedes as much even as
it moves forward. The agency admits logging will degrade the wild
character of the areas. It also admits that logging to slow the
beetle epidemics is probably futile. That's why the EPA stated that
the "environmentally preferred" course of action was no logging at all
of the type approved.

In addition, logging these roadless areas would violate the Roadless
Rule, a rule I strongly support. Top Bush Administration officials -
including you -- have told the Congress that roadless areas are
special, that such areas deserve special protection, and that the
Forest Service is not logging in roadless areas in violation of the
Roadless Rule. Approval of logging in the Nipple Peak South and Dome
Peak Roadless Areas makes a mockery of such positions and promises
from Administration officials.

Finally, there may be ways to protect high value areas and private
property from a beetle epidemic, but logging in remote wildlands won't
do that.

For all these reasons, please cancel the plan to log nearly two square
miles of wild forest in the Nipple Peak South and Dome Peak Roadless
Areas on the Routt National Forest. Thank you for your attention to
this important matter.


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homepage: homepage: http://www.wilderness.org/takeaction/?step=2&item=1591