Clinton proclaims a far-reaching forest plan

  President Clinton made headlines Oct. 13, when he announced a sweeping initiative to protect 40-60 million acres of unroaded national forests. At a ceremony in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, Clinton put his full support behind permanent protection for land currently covered by an 18-month road-building moratorium, in addition to roadless areas in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska's Tongass National Forest (HCN, 4/27/98).


"The scale of this is enormous," says Ken Rait with the Oregon-based Heritage Forests Campaign. "Clinton got up on the podium today and hit a grand slam."


The president called the plan "one of the largest land preservation efforts in America's history." He belittled criticism from Western Republicans, who said it will topple the timber industry. Only 5 percent of the nation's timber cut comes from national forests, he said, and less than 5 percent of that comes from roadless areas.


But those numbers disguise reality in Western states, according to Stefany Bales, spokeswoman for the Intermountain Forest Association (formerly Intermountain Forest Industry Association) in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. She said 74 percent of Idaho's forest lands are federally owned, and half of those are roadless. "This undoes all that," Bales says. "For a lot of people who thought we had this resolved, this is a real slap in the face."


However, John McCarthy, staffer with the Idaho Conservation League, says in Idaho, the Forest Service continues to plan for 90 sales that involve some cutting in roadless areas.


Chris Wood, assistant to Forest Service Chief Michael Dombeck, says while any future timber cutting in roadless areas is unlikely, Clinton's pronouncement cancels no scheduled sales. If the sales involve helicopter logging or gaining access by existing roads, Wood says, they won't be affected. Before the agency releases a final rule in late 2000, it will complete an environmental impact statement and hold town hall meetings across the country and a 60-day public comment period.


"The president asked the Forest Service to have an open and public dialogue with the American people," Wood says. "This just starts the process."


Some say the dialogue won't be civil. "There's going to be a fight," says Ken Rait. "And I predict (timber companies) are not only going to lose, but they're going to get their nose bloodied."


* Greg Hanscom


High Country News Classifieds
  • DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS COORDINATOR
    Development & Operations Coordinator Terms: 1.0 FTE (full-time), Salary DOE ($45,000 - $55,000) Benefits: Paid Time Off (12-24 days/year depending on tenure), Paid Holidays (10/year),...
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • CARBON RANCH PLANNER
    The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education,...
  • EDUCATION AND OUTREACH DIRECTOR
    Education and Outreach Program Director The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic,...
  • WESTERN DIVISION DIRECTOR OF FIELD PROGRAMS
    DEADLINE TO APPLY: October 29, 2021 LOCATION FLEXIBLE (WESTERN HUB CITY PREFERRED) Overview The Land Trust Alliance is the voice of the land trust community....
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • DESERT LANDS ORGANIZER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo seeks a Desert Lands Organizer to assist with existing campaigns that will defend lands in the California desert, with...
  • IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE
    Want to help preserve Idaho's land, water, and air for future generations? Idaho Conservation League currently has 3 open positions. We are looking for a...