Idaho Roadless Rule Upheld in District Court

Idaho Roadless Rule Upheld in District Court
Sportsmen praise plan for management of federal backcountry lands in Idaho, reinforce need for conservation of roadless areas elsewhere.

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

WASHINGTON –-( A U.S. 9th District Court decision upholding the legality of the Idaho roadless rule – and thereby creating management certainty for Idaho’s 9.3 million acres of roadless national forests – was praised today by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

The sportsmen stressed the importance of backcountry habitat to fish and wildlife and reiterated the need for responsible management of roadless lands across the country.

“The Idaho roadless rule conserves key backcountry fish and wildlife habitat and important sporting opportunities – outcomes that hunters and anglers wholeheartedly support,” said Joel Webster, director of the TRCP Center for Western Lands. “Overall, the Idaho rule is as strong as the national roadless rule, which many sportsmen maintain has established a minimum standard for safeguarding these valuable public lands.”

Idaho has more acres of national forest roadless areas than any other state in the contiguous United States. From 2006 to 2008, the TRCP worked with sportsmen, the Idaho governor’s office, the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Council and the U.S. Forest Service to help create a state-based roadless rule that benefits fish, wildlife and Idaho’s exceptional public-lands hunting and fishing.

“From the Bannock Range in the Great Basin to the Selkirk Range in the Panhandle, Idaho’s expansive landscapes offer opportunities for backcountry hunting and fishing found nowhere else on earth,” continued Webster. “That outdoor legacy is worth conserving, and the Idaho roadless rule is a good plan that gets the job done.”

The Idaho roadless rule is the only state-based roadless rule that has been completed. Colorado, the one other state to elect to develop a state-specific rule for management of roadless areas, currently is working with the Forest Service to finalize its rule. Sportsmen have actively participated in developing the Colorado roadless rule petition and remain engaged in addressing shortfalls in the plan’s management language.

“The Colorado roadless rule must be as strong as or stronger than the national rule to uphold Colorado’s great backcountry traditions,” said Webster. “We hope that a soon-to-be-released revision of the rule will be significantly improved from previous drafts, and we will continue to help rectify any remaining deficiencies to ensure a top-quality management document for federal backcountry lands located in the state.”

Roadless areas located in 37 states outside of Idaho are managed under the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a national forest management regulation that was designed to limit road building and timber harvest on 58.5 million acres of undeveloped public lands across the country. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals presently is considering a suit brought against the 2001 rule; a ruling is expected early in 2011.

Learn more about the TRCP’s work to conserve America’s national forest roadless areas.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.