What happened to Roadless Rule?
Tuesday, May 4 will mark the three-year anniversary of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman’s pledge to uphold the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. So this must be a time to celebrate the protection of nearly 4.4 million acres of roadless areas in Colorado’s National Forests, right? Wrong.
The fact is that the Forest Service is completely ignoring the 2001 rule that protects 58.5 million acres nationally, and is proposing to create roads into Colorado roadless areas for logging, and gas and oil development.
On May 13, the Bureau of Land Management proposes to lease 74 parcels of land in Colorado for oil and gas development. This includes the Thompson Creek Roadless Area in the White River National Forest. In addition to one of the largest stands of aspen trees in the world, this roadless area contains important habitat for the rare Colorado River Cutthroat Trout.
As a former fly-fishing guide and a member of Trout Unlimited, I know that our native trout are more than just ecologically important; they have economic value as well. The fishing and hunting industry is far more economically important, and sustainable, than logging and oil and gas development for our state. So, if the Roadless Rule is still intact, why is the state creating new roads into pristine roadless areas such as Thompson Creek?
I am asking Gov. Owens and our state elected officials to please support the Roadless Area Conservation Rule and hold Ann Veneman to her promise.