Decision ends legal uncertainty surrounding rule, conserves prime habitat, safeguards quality hunting and angling on backcountry lands
This morning’s decision by the Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule concludes a nearly decade-long legal battle over the management of inventoried roadless areas, sustaining valuable fish and wildlife habitat and unique public-lands hunting and fishing opportunities, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership announced today.
The so-called “roadless rule” is a multiple-use national forest management regulation designed to limit road building and timber harvest on undeveloped public lands managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The rule determines the management of 45 million acres of national forests and grasslands outside of Idaho and Colorado.
Today’s decision resolves legal uncertainty surrounding the rule and denies a challenge brought by the state of Wyoming and Colorado Mining Association, which claimed that the rule unduly impacts industrial development.
A broad cross-section of sportsmen, conservationists and recreationists has consistently voiced its support of conservation of roadless areas and the outdoor opportunities they foster. The TRCP, which has led a coalition of hunters and anglers in promoting responsible roadless area management, declared today’s determination a victory for sportsmen.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court affirms the value of backcountry areas in sustaining healthy and secure habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Joel Webster, director of the TRCP Center for Western Lands. “These are values hunters and anglers both have benefitted from and supported for years.
“Sound roadless conservation policies safeguard big-game habitat security, productive trout and salmon fisheries and our sporting traditions,” Webster continued. “The 2001 roadless rule remains a strong mechanism for conserving America’s outdoor heritage. With the fall hunting season upon us, sportsmen can celebrate this legal victory by enjoying our favorite pastimes on America’s prime publicly owned hunting and fishing lands.”
Logo courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership