King of the Roadless
Environmentalists are pushing hard to convince the Clinton administration to expand its proposed plan to prohibit road-building on millions of acres of national forest land. The first version of the plan, unveiled in May, would ban roads on 43 million acres of roadless lands, primarily in Western states; the next version, which will take into account more than 1 million comments from the public, is due out in mid-November and is expected to be finalized in mid-December. Enviros are calling for the new version to ban not just road-building but also logging, and to include the 8.5 million-acre Tongass National Forest in Alaska. U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck says there is high public support for protecting forestland. “Society no longer views these forests as warehouses of commodities to market,” Dombeck said. Still, Republicans are suggesting that a new president could overturn the road ban next year.