Posts Tagged ‘Legislation’

Support for National Wilderness Month Grows

Posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009

As you may know from last week’s announcement of President Barak Obama’s Proclamation commemorating of the 45th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, September is National Wilderness Month.

Below are statements of support for the Proclamation from the Secretaries of Interior (Ken Salazar) and Agriculture (Tom Vilsack).

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness hopes you’ll join us in celebrating National Wilderness Month! Become a Friend and join us on one of our Guided Hikes. Come see for yourself this beautiful pristine area that we are working hard to preserve for all of us through our efforts to achieve official Wilderness designation.

Be sure to read the “Extra Feature – Celebrate National Wilderness Month!” from Campaign for America’s Wilderness

And if you’re interested you can read the History of Wilderness Progress - a time line of wilderness legislation.

Secretary Salazar Joins President Obama in Commemorating 45th Anniversary of Wilderness Act

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined President Obama in commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and the creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System by President Lyndon Johnson on Sept. 3, 1964. 

“The creation of the National Wilderness Preservation System is one of the greatest events in the history of American conservation,” said Salazar, who oversees 73 million of the 109 million acres of designated wilderness in the United States. “These pristine places that are set aside to be forever wild and untouched inspire us and remind us of the bounty with which our nation is blessed in the beauty and richness of our land.” 

Wilderness areas are areas of undeveloped federal land that retain their primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which are protected and managed to preserve their natural conditions. Uses of these lands are generally restricted to non-motorized activities such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and other non-invasive activities. 

In March, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 into law. This law designates 52 new wilderness areas and adds acreage to 26 existing areas, a total addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System of more than 2 million acres.

In an official proclamation issued today, the President declared: “The Wilderness Act is widely recognized as one of this nation’s most important conservation laws.  This law and the National Wilderness Preservation System it established have served as a model for similar wilderness protection laws in a number of our States and in nations around the globe.” 

The 762 wilderness areas in the United States range in size from the 5-acre Rocks and Islands Wilderness in California to Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness in Alaska, which is more than 9 million acres.

Within the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service manages 43.9 million acres, the Fish and Wildlife Service manages 20.7 million acres, and the Bureau of Land Management oversees 8.7 million acres. The Department of Agriculture’s National Forest Service manages 36.2 million acres of wilderness.

All but six states have designated wilderness areas. Alaska has the most wilderness acres — 57.5 million – followed by California with 14.9 million.

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Release No. 0424.09
Contact:
Office of Communications 202-720-4623
  
AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK JOINS PRESIDENT OBAMA IN MARKING 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WILDERNESS ACT
 

Landmark legislation created framework that now protects over 109 million acres of wilderness around the country 
  
 
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2009 – Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Barack Obama in marking the 45th anniversary of the landmark Wilderness Act. President Obama signed a proclamation this week designating September as National Wilderness Month and calling on “all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, learn more about our wilderness heritage, and explore what can be done to protect and preserve these precious national treasures.”
 
“As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, we recognize that a healthy and prosperous America relies on the health of our wilderness areas,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Our National Forest Wilderness Areas are a national inheritance that not only help generate rural wealth through recreation and tourism, but also supply communities with clean water, shelter wildlife, and help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.”
 
The U.S. Forest Service, one of the four federal agencies administering the National Wilderness Preservation System, oversees over 36 million acres of Wilderness, which comprise roughly 19% of the entire National Forest System. The National Wilderness Preservation System, which 45 years ago started with a little over 9 million acres, has grown tenfold over this period.
 
Tom Tidwell, Chief of the US Forest Service, who administers almost 60% of the 756 areas in the National Wilderness Preservation System, said, “The Wilderness Act of 1964 and subsequent congressional designations, represent collaboration of citizens, agencies and Congress to preserve wild, undeveloped places for the benefit of current and future generations.” Chief Tidwell added, “Wilderness Areas offer an immense variety of natural, scenic, historical, and cultural settings. During this month, we will give special emphasis to stewardship of our 440 National Forest Wilderness Areas. The Forest Service is committed to quality resource management of our wilderness areas including the completion of many projects through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Efforts like the work of AmeriCorps and many other youth and partner organizations play an important role in the care and protection of these special places.”
 
2009 was a banner year for Wilderness, with over 2 million acres added to the National Wilderness Preservation System through the Omnibus Lands Act of 2009, bringing the total system acreage to over 109 million.
 
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September is National Wilderness Month

Posted on Sunday, September 6th, 2009

On September 3rd, 2009 the President of the United States, Barak Obama, signed a proclamation declaring that September be designated National Wilderness Month

What better way to celebrate than by becoming a Friend of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness?   Help us continue our effort to protect the Scotchman Peaks area so it can remain accessible to all who want to enjoy this rugged and scenic public land.   Join us for one of our Guided Hikes and experience for yourself the beauty and wildlife of the Scotchman Peaks wilderness! (PDF copy of the official Proclamation)


New Montana Wilderness Legislation

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

By now most everyone has heard about the legislation recently introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana), which includes almost 700,000 acres of wilderness. This message to the Friends of Scotchman Peaks will attempt to answer some common questions and provide links to more information.

First of all, Scotchmans is not included in this bill, and in fact we never expected it to be. Tester’s bill, S1470, makes a variety of resource allocations including logging and motorized recreation plans as well as wilderness designations for three separate areas in Montana. Plans for all three of these areas are based on recommendations developed by diverse community groups working together over several years.

One of the areas covered in the bill is in the Roderick Mountain area, northwest of Libby. Other areas in the bill are in the Blackfoot Valley area north of Missoula, and large areas of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest in south central Montana. This bill has its critics from various points of view, but most wilderness supporters in Montana have responded with great joy and hope, that we can break the long drought of protecting Montana wilderness.

By contrast our Scotchmans proposal is a far simpler project, based on advocating for the appeal and common sense of protecting the magnificent Scotchmans wild country for future generations.

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness has focused, since our inception, on working to secure wilderness designation for the 88,000 acre Scotchmans roadless area, and we have consistently avoided taking positions on all other issues. The board of FSPW considers Tester”s recently proposed legislation a very positive step forward for wilderness and forest management. It is a well conceived attempt to base forest management on common sense middle ground, instead of continuing management gridlock based on conflict over opposing views. We salute Jon Tester for being a good listener, and for being willing to step forward, recognize community efforts to work together to solve problems, and to help forge solutions.

The Scotchmans board also believes that S1470 will improve our chances to protect the wild Scotchmans.

We encourage our members to consider supporting this legislation. Tester has an interesting website with good information, and a place to register support at:

http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/forestcosponsor.cfm

Another link takes you to an interesting and informative news article at:
http://www.hcn.org/issues/41.12/taking-control-of-the-machine/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=

The Scotchman’s board considers our group’s mission to be very clear, to continue working to build community support for the Scotchmans wilderness. Strong community support will make wilderness protection for this magnificent wild country politically inevitable, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

For more information or to make a personal comment, please do not hesitate to contact Scotchmans board members:
Doug Ferrell at ferrelldoug@gmail.com (406-827-4241)
Charlie Clough at bear2th@monanasky.net (406-293-5210).

Additional Information:

Sen Tester’s Overview Page on the issue:
http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/foresthome.cfm

Text of the Legislation:
http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/upload/forest_jobs_and_recreation_act.pdf

Bill Text and Map Links:
http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/forestresources.cfm

Former MT Congressman Pat Williams Comments:
http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/lets_applaud_senator_testers_bill/C41/L41/


New – Recently Added FAQs

Q & A on Tester Wilderness Bill
Many Friends in our local communities are wondering about details of Tester’s proposed Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. Some common questions we have heard are answered below. Other info is available on Tester’s website (http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/foresthome) or by contacting Doug Ferrell at 406-827-4341 or doug@scotchmanpeaks.org

Does the bill mandate logging levels?
The bill directs the FS to “mechanically treat” a certain number of acres per year. Treatment could include logging, thinning, or fuel reduction projects. The Kootenai Forest is directed to treat 30,000 acres over ten years, or an average of 3,000 acres per year across the Three Rivers District (not just in the Yaak). The legislation steers logging towards areas that are currently degraded, roaded, and identified as suitable for harvest by the Forest Service. No permanent road construction is permitted in projects authorized by this bill.

Where would restoration money come from?
Stewardship contracts would create jobs aimed at repairing Montana’s damaged streams and wildlife habitat, and reducing road densities. Stewardship contracts ensure that income from timber sales is retained and spent locally to restore and improve forest resources.

What about our fundamental environmental laws?
Nothing in this bill changes or suspends state or national environmental laws. All logging and stewardship activities must be in compliance with all laws, regulations, and policies including NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, and multi-agency grizzly bear habitat standards.

Who supports the Tester bill?
Mainstream conservation groups including the Wilderness Society, Montana Wilderness Association, Trout Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Wildlife Federation, Yaak Valley Forest Council, Campaign for America’s Wilderness, former Congressman Pat Williams, Montana rod-and-gun clubs and many others.