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USFS failed in genuine citizens engagement

Letter to the Editor

The public comment period for recommending roadless areas as wilderness on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests just ended.

Despite efforts of some, Forest Service Supervisor Cheryl Probert failed to engage citizens through genuine public involvement. Weekday afternoon collaborative sessions should not replace weeknight meetings more convenient for the overall public. Online story maps are helpful, but face-to-face interaction is what people need and expect. Citizens from Lewiston, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene and Spokane were deliberately never given the opportunity to attend a meeting in their community. The collaborative session in Missoula was orchestrated so snowmobile “stakeholders” could tell the agency to carve the Kelly Creek Roadless Area into a sub-alpine motorized playground.

Shame on Brad Smith and the Idaho Conservation League, too. There is no “correct” way to log a roadless wildland containing important fish and wildlife habitat. The Idaho Roadless Rule was designed to log the majority of roadless areas in the Clearwater, and around the state, under the guise of “restoration.” It’s completely absurd to believe that wildlands never roaded or developed need restoring! The league should stop drinking the Kool-Aid and drop out of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative.

Logging in roadless areas is a non-starter for the majority of Americans, whether it’s Eldorado Creek, Pot Mountain or Cove-Mallard.

Less than 3 percent of the Lower 48 is designated wilderness. It is 5 percent when including Alaska. Every acre of roadless wildland on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests should be recommended wilderness, including the spectacular 260,000-acre Weitas Creek Roadless Area.

Brett Haverstick



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