At Loggerheads

Allowing logging in part of the roadless area of the White Mountains in New Hampshire would be a reversal of the Clinton-era "roadless rule."©

Conservationists submitted an appeal to the U.S. Forest Service asking that it reconsider its recent decision to allow logging on some 300 acres of the Kilkenny Roadless Area in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The area in question is one of the largest and most isolated remaining roadless tracts in the eastern U.S. Allowing logging to take place there would signify a reversal of the contentious Clinton-era "roadless rule" banning road-building and resource extraction on 58 million untracked acres within the country’s sprawling national forest system.

"Roadless areas are islands of beauty, health, and peace—for wildlife and people—in a world that is rapidly losing such places. Logging in roadless areas is unacceptable and cannot continue," said Mollie Matteson, conservation advocate with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups behind the appeal. "Unfortunately, officials with some national forests, like the White Mountain, chose to take advantage of the political situation by trying to put roads and clearcuts in roadless areas, claiming a supposed exception to the law. The real exception, though, is their opinion of what roadless areas are for. Most Americans want to see them protected, plain and simple."

Matteson added that the conservation community hopes the Forest Service will follow the law and drop the proposed project at Kilkenny, but warned that if it doesn’t the groups will pursue legal action against the agency. "Ultimately, what’s needed is a permanent, nationally consistent, and enforceable policy to protect all roadless areas," Matteson said. "We hope to see such policy enacted in the new Congress and under the next administration."

Source: Center for Biological Diversity