Peak & Prairie

Rocky Mountain Chapter's
Online Newsletter
December 1999 / January 2000


Historic Opportunity for Wild Forest Protection


The Sierra Club has a key role to play in what could turn out to be one of the biggest wilderness protection success stories in history. And you can really make a difference. On October 13, President Clinton proposed a historic initiative that could protect 60 million unspoiled acres in National Forests in 38 states. Now it's up to us to make this plan a reality. 

The President has asked Americans to comment on his wild forest protection plan, and the U.S. Forest Service has set an official comment deadline of December 20. The Sierra Club's Wildlands Campaign has made this a major priority, and Club activists across the country are working to ensure that the administration receives the public support they need to move forward with a bold plan to protect our roadless wild forests. Unfortunately, industries that profit from destructive uses of our forests are also pulling out the stops to generate comments in opposition to the plan - there's no time to lose! 

Many people think that our National Forests are already protected, but of course this couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, over half of our National Forests have already been hammered by logging, mining, and other destructive activities. That's why the Club has adopted a goal of ending commercial logging in our National Forests, and why this new plan to protect our last unspoiled wild forests is so important. Of the 191 million acres in our National Forests, only 35 million acres are protected as wilderness. If we are successful in getting the word out about the President's plan, we can significantly increase the amount of our National Forests that are protected from road building, industrial destruction and off-road vehicles. 

Without the wild forest protection plan we face losing the wildlands that are left. These forests purify our drinking water, provide our families with places to hike, hunt, fish and camp, and give homes to fish and wildlife including endangered grizzly bear and salmon. The President's plan is our last, best chance to protect our wildlands and wildlife as a legacy for our children. 

Time is running out. If you want to help protect the unspoiled areas of our National Forests, the U.S. Forest Service needs to hear from you before December 20, 1999. There are some unresolved aspects of the plan that it's important to emphasize, such as the need for protection of *all* our wild forests, and the need to protect them from *all* destructive activities, not just road building and logging. The Forest Service will follow through with the plan to protect these wild forests only if Americans speak up to demand action. 

Our Forests Need Your Voice
Speaking up is the first step in the wild forest protection plan. The U.S. Forest Service has asked the public to weigh in with comments supporting or opposing the plan to save our wild National Forest areas. The Forest Service will only accept comments until December 20, 1999, so please add your voice today. In your comments, please stress the following points:

Dear U.S. Forest Service: I applaud the President's initiative and urge you to protect 60 million acres of remaining roadless wild lands in our National Forests. I support a roadless protection policy that: 
Applies to ALL National Forest roadless areas over 1,000 acres - including Alaska's Tongass and Chugach National Forests; 

Provides permanent protection for all roadless areas from new road construction, logging, mining, off-road vehicle use, oil and gas development and other harmful activities; and Protects roadless areas now rather than waiting for the forest planning process. 

The Forest Service must seize this opportunity to protect wild America and our children's inheritance. Please count this as my formal comment on the proposed rulemaking for protection of roadless areas.

Sincerely, ________

    USDA Forest Service CAET
    Attn: Roadless Areas Notice of Intent P. O. Box 221090 Salt Lake City, UT 84122 

Please don't forget to include your name and address, or your comments won't be counted. After you send in your official comment, there are lots of other ways you can get involved in this historic wildlands campaign. You can attend one of the public meetings being set up by the Forest Service, set up a table outside your local outdoor equipment store and collect comment postcards from holiday shoppers. Take a stack of postcards to the library information table, to school meetings, everywhere you go before December 20!

For more ideas, and to get your stack of postcards and lapel stickers, please contact Tanya Tolchin at 202-675-2385 or e-mail at

December 1999 Online Newsletter - Peak & Prairie Home Page - Rocky Mountain Chapter Home Page