Moral, ethical responsibility exists to protect roadless areas
To the Editor:
Mr. Fredericksen suggests roads, logging and mining are the solution to the economic ills in Lincoln County. He also suggests the roadless area rule change could increase roadless areas by 600,000 acres. Both are wrong.
The rule change offers the governor an opportunity to create a management policy for the Montana portion of the nearly 60 million acres (about 30 percent of national forest lands) of roadless area that already exists. Otherwise, Montana roadless areas will be managed according to USFS forest plans.
More importantly (and sadly), Mr. Fredericksen rejects overwhelming information that roads, logging and mining in roadless areas will ruin habitat, pollute watersheds, increase the risk of catastrophic wildfire, drive wildlife to extinction, and that maintenance of existing roads is already backlogged and unfunded to the tune of about $9 billion.
The real long-term economic and social value of these roadless areas is in their protection for clean water, healthy forests, habitat for wildlife, and countless recreation and scientific study opportunities.
And it is our moral and ethical responsibility to protect these areas for future generations from the waste and plunder of logging, mining and motorized recreation. Tell your legislators to fulfill this responsibility.