Road to Forest Head reverts to grass

Protest against weakening of 'Roadless Rule'

Feature story - 20 November, 2003
In the US the Bush administration is trying to change the rules – specifically the "Roadless Area Conservation Rule". This rule, signed under the previous president, essentially prevents access to pristine forestlands, and placed 58.5 millions acres of national forest land under protection from the logging, mining and drilling industries. However, under proposed Bush administration amendments the two largest national forests (both in the state of Alaska) are exempted from the rule.

Alaskans, visiting Washington, DC to protest logging in Federal controlled wilderness in Alaska.

Naturally, a lot people in Alaska aren't too happy with the administration, and yesterday some of them came to Washington, DC, where they met with the Undersecretary of Agriculture (who oversees the national forests). But despite their protests, and the 2 million people who spoke out in favor of the original rule, it looks like the logging is going to go ahead.

"We asked Mr. Rey [the Undersecretary] not to log anymore in protected areas and he said no," said Don Mueller, a bookseller from Sitka, Alaska. "Americans don't want to see a single road in their forests and we wanted to show what roadless means. The roads the Bush administration wants to punch into our forests are permanent and will destroy the biggest and most beautiful trees."

The day after their meeting, the Alaskans and Greenpeace activists returned to the Department of Agriculture building, and turned it's driveway, plus the road in front of it, into a grassy field.

More on the Roadless Rule.