The Roadless Rule governs the management of about 1/3 of undeveloped areas of the National Forest System or about 2% of the land mass in the continental United States. These roadless areas include 58 million acres of inventoried roadless areas across the nation including over 4 million acres in Utah. Roadless areas in the Wasatch and beyond support diverse, year round, recreational opportunities and are prime habitat for bears, elk, bighorn sheep, eagles and many, many other unique creatures.
The State of Utah's alterations to the Roadless Rule:
The State of Utah asserts that elimination of the roadless rule in Utah is needed to “manage unhealthy forests and prevent catastrophic wildfires.” While we appreciate the need to protect Utah’s forests and keep Utahns safe from wildfire, this rationale simply does not hold water. The roadless rule permits forest restoration activities where necessary to protect habitat, restore degraded ecosystems, or reduce the threat of catastrophic fire. Keeping Utah communities safe from wildfire means reducing fuels in the wildland urban interface—the land in and around communities—and over 90% of this land in Utah is outside of roadless areas. And the vast majority of Utah fires in recent years have burned outside roadless areas.
We need you to submit comments and perspectives to ensure protections of the roadless rule remain in place for these treasured lands that the Governor seeks to erode. Proposals that impact in excess of 4 million acres should be subject to more public scrutiny and robust, scientific data to inform decisions that will impact the legacy of our public lands for generations.
Please submit your comment in the form below to help us take a stand for these unique and intact forested lands and valuable watersheds.
I want to uphold the 2001 Roadless Rule because I value ecologically healthy forests, clean water and diverse landscapes. In the State of Utah's hasty attempt to alter the protections for these important lands across our state, we are missing the opportunity to make use of the scientific data that has been gathered by many agencies and scholars. This research should be guiding the Governor's decision on public lands protected under the roadless rule rather than politics or ill-conceived assaults on one of our most protective designations. We all value healthy forests, but petitioning for a watered down version of the roadless rule in Utah will do nothing to achieve that goal.