First approved timber sale in a national forest roadless area to be announced later this week

Later this week, the White Mountain National Forest is expected to announce the first approved timber sale in a national forest roadless area outside of Alaska since the Bush administration repealed the Roadless Area Conservation Rule of 2001. This rule protected roadless areas from road construction, commercial logging and most forms of development. The Than Timber Sale includes 117 acres of commercial logging and one-tenth of a mile of road construction in the Wild River Roadless Area (http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/pro... s /than/than.html). It's one of four timber sales currently being proposed in roadless areas on the White Mountain National Forest. The other three include: * The Batchelder Brook Timber Sale - 171 acres of commercial logging in the South Carr Mountain Roadless Area http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/pro... / batchelder_brk/batchelder_brook.htm * The Wildwood Timber Sale - 552 acres of commercial logging in the Jobildunk Roadless Area http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/pro... / wiildwood/wildwood.html * The Mill Brook Timber Sale - 1,796 acres of commercial logging and .9 miles road building in Kilkenny Roadless Area http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/pro... / mill_brk_vmp/mill_brk.html On another note…The Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee (RACNAC) met last week to review the first three roadless area conservation petitions submitted by the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All three petitions asked for protections for these public lands that are in accordance with the 2001 rule and in compliance to the standards in the 2005 Roadless Rule. The petitions were forwarded by RACNAC to the secretary of agriculture for the initiation of a federal rulemaking. Undersecretary Mark Rey and other agency representatives made clear that the petitions submitted by VA, NC and SC would be merely a starting point for a federal rule-making for a final rule in each state. A great deal of emphasis was placed on giving the agency "flexibility" to accomplish its management goals and to reconcile discrepancies with existing forest plans in the final rules (http://roadless.fs.fed.us/). ON BACKGROUND * According to recent research, the U.S. Forest Service is moving ahead with new activities in more than 20 inventoried roadless areas, despite agency assurances that these areas will be protected while their fate is in dispute. When the new rule was put in place, the Administration made a commitment, now broken, that roadless areas would remain protected until the timeline for submitting state specific petitions expired (http://www.ourforests.org/brokenground/release.htm...). * Instead of maintaining the strong protections of the 2001 roadless rule, the administration implemented a burdensome and uncertain process. Rather than promote strong, clear federal protections, this new process requires individual governors to develop and submit petitions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in order for the roadless areas in their respective states to remain protected from development. * For more information, please visit www.ourforests.org. Dave Bard Deputy Communications Director National Environmental Trust 1200 18th Street, NW, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20036 202.778.4551 (o) 202.486.4426 (c) [email protected]