As we’ve mentioned before, the state of Utah has proposed rolling back protections on a ton of backcountry National Forest land in the state. They’ve asked the Forest Service to establish a Utah-specific Roadless Rule, proposing to roll back protections on nearly 90% of Utah’s roadless areas. According to analysis from Outdoor Alliance’s GIS Lab, this proposal would reduce or eliminate protections for nearly 80% of currently protected backcountry skiing, more than half of currently protected climbing, and 79% of the state’s currently protected paddling, hiking, and mountain biking. You can read our full letter to the head of the Forest Service here.
The Roadless Rule is a conservation measure that limits development and road building on backcountry areas of our National Forests. It has been an enormously popular rule that’s especially good at protecting recreation. While roadless areas are protected from new development, their management is less restrictive than in Wilderness, which gives important middle ground for many kinds of recreation, from mountain biking to groomed cross-country skiing.
Right now, the Forest Service is considering whether or not they will accept Utah’s petition. You can help by signing the letter to Secretary Perdue and Under Secretary Hubbard below, especially if you are a Utah resident.