The Obama Administration has called a “time-out” in a land use contest the last three presidential administrations have waged over the nation’s remaining roadless areas.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an order late last week requiring that any new projects in U.S. Forest Service-managed roadless areas must be approved by his office. The temporary order lasts for one year.
Previously, under a George W. Bush administration policy, projects in areas not accessible by road, needed the clearance only of local land managers. Before that, President Bill Clinton approved a plan that stopped all logging and road-building in the nation’s 58.5 million acres or roadless lands.
The Washington Post has a comprehensive story on the policy change HERE.
Apart from the permanently protected Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, the Superior National Forest contains roughly 62,000 acres of roadless areas, mostly adjoining the BWCAW.
John Myers of the Duluth News-Tribune has THIS story about the rule’s effects in Minnesota.