SAWS/BRC Action Alert: Region 1 RWA
De-Facto Wilderness Policy Possibly Going Nationwide
Many of you may recall that SAWS
has been fighting the Region 1 Recommended Wilderness Area (RWA)
de-facto Wilderness policy for many year now, along with several
other organizations, including the BRC.
Here is a link to a previous SAWS Action Alert from December, 2006 regarding the de-facto Region 1 RWA Wilderness policy
Here is a link to one of the
BRC Action Alerts from January, 2008:
Arizona Congressman Circulating Sign-On
Letter to Expand the USFS Unlawful "de-facto Wilderness"
Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ), Chairman
of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks,
Forests and Public Lands, is generating increased Congressional
attention to a controversial management plan currently being
implemented in Region 1 of the U.S. Forest Service (Region 1 =
Montana and N. Idaho).
Recreationists across Montana
have been fighting an attempt by Region 1 to manage all Recommended
Wilderness Areas (RWAs) as de-facto Wilderness areas, banning
motorized recreation and mountain bike use.
Congress can designate Wilderness. This is logical because Wilderness
is the most restrictive land management designation on the planet. It
is not wise, nor legal, for any federal land management agency to
establish de-facto Wilderness areas.
has written a letter in support of the Region 1 RWA policy and he is
urging the Forest Service to expand it to all National Forests,
nationwide. Grijalva is also circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter among members of the House of Representatives for
BRC had warned our members to expect a push for
the Region 1 policy to go nationwide, so Grijalva's letter is not
unexpected. What is unexpected, however, is that the International
Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) is asking their members to contact
their Congressman in support of Grijalva's request. I can not explain
IMBA's actions here, but I can say that IMBA's backing places this
issue in the "TOP PRIORITY" category.
legislators get the idea that the Grijalvia's letter is good for
recreation, that could be just what the FS needs to grease the skids
on this lousy policy. If the policy goes nationwide it will give
a devastating blow to single track motorcycle trails, mountain bike
trails and snowmobile areas across the West.
you to contact your Congress person IMMEDIATELY and make certain they
DO NOT sign on to Grijalva's letter.
We've prepared one
of our famous 3-step action items below. As always, we've tried to
make it easy as possible to minimize time away from work and
Please forward to friends, family and riding
237-1008 ext 102
URGENT ACTION ALERT:
TELL YOUR CONGRESSMAN NO! ON GRIJALVA
LETTER TO USFS
THREE STEP ACTION ITEM:
1) Go to the Blue Ribbon Coalition Rapid Response Center and enter your zip code
to find the phone number for your Representative. Then use the
tallking points below in your call. Be brief and be polite, but make
it clear: NO on Grijalva's Dear Colleague letter.
you live in a state with a member of the House Natural Resources
Committee, your call is particularly important. Key states include:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii,
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Texas, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia,
Wisconsin and Wyoming.
3) Ask your friends and
family to sign up for BRC's Action Alerts. BRC will keep an eye on
this issue and we'll let you know if YOUR Congress Critter signed on
to the letter.
Talking Points to Use In Your Calls and
Congressman Raul Grijalva, Chairman of the House
Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public
Lands, is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter regarding
the management of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands that have
been recommended by the agency for Wilderness designation. Please DO
NOT sign Representative Grijalva's letter.
are commonly known as Recommended Wilderness Areas or "RWAs."
The letter expresses a concern about the agency's continued
authorization of activities in RWAs that are disallowed in Wilderness
areas, including the use of motorized vehicles. It supports managing
RWAs as if Congress had actually designated them as
Only Congress can designate Wilderness. This
is logical because Wilderness is the most restrictive land management
designation on the planet. It is not wise, nor legal, for any federal
land management agency to establish de-facto Wilderness areas.
policy suggested by Representative Grijalva creates a situation where
currently authorized mountain bike and motorized recreation does not
preclude lands becoming RWA's - but then mandates those uses be all
but eliminated. If the existing uses do not stop the lands from being
recommended as Wilderness, then why should those activities not be
allowed to continue until Congress acts?
importantly, the RWA policy precludes collaborative solutions such as
those reached in recent land use legislation. This policy presupposes
the agency's desires on what is properly between Congress and the
American people. By doing so, it eliminates the opportunity for
mountain bike and motorized users to reach acceptable compromise with
Wilderness advocates, State and local governments, and other
Please DO NOT sign Representative