Take action for Colville National Forest wilderness

Take action for Colville National Forest wilderness

Conservation Northwest / Nov 04, 2014 / Columbia Highlands, Wilderness

WILD NW Action Alert #250: Important wild areas left out of draft wilderness recommendations

The Colville National Forest (CNF) is preparing to release its draft land and resource management plan which recommends certain areas on the Forest for wilderness designation.

The roadless, untouched areas of the CNF are the largest expanse of wildlands between the Cascades and the greater Rocky Mountains. But the Forest’s current draft fails to include for wilderness recommendation vast regions of these wildlands deserving of designation.

Wilderness designation would protect these wild areas for non-mechanized recreation and wildlife habitat forever. Please take action today!

Unfortunately, the Forest’s current draft only recommends three of the Forest’s 19 roadless areas for wilderness. Most importantly, the Hoodoo and Profanity roadless areas – the heart of the wild Kettle Crest – would be relegated to a lower status that lacks any meaningful protection from ATVs, mining, or salvage logging. We need your voice to help protect these amazing landscapes.

Despite extensive wild and biodiverse areas, less than three percent of the CNF is presently designated as wilderness – the least of any western National Forest in the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region (USFS Region 6). Adding the above mentioned areas would raise that amount to about 15 percent, still below the 19 percent average for national forests.

Please take action today and contact the Colville National Forest’s supervisor Rodney Smolden and regional forester Jim Pena to voice your concern of the draft plan overlooking these potential wilderness areas in Northeast Washington.

Submit a comment using this link or by email at rsmoldon@fs.fed.us and jpena@fs.fed.us. More on roadless areas and wilderness in the Columbia Highlands and Colville National Forest.

Suggested Comments on draft CNF wilderness recommendations

Forest Supervisor Rodney Smolden and Regional Forester Jim Pena,

Wilderness recommendations included in the Colville National Forests draft land and resource management plan should include at minimum the Profanity, Bald-Snow, Hoodoo, Abercrombie-Hooknose and Salmo Additions inventoried roadless areas (IRAs).

This is a small subset of the forest’s IRAs, and contains just those areas that are the very most compelling, deserving, and lacking substantive and unresolvable concern or conflict. If these areas were not to appear among your recommendations, it would be a gross shortcoming of the draft and its implications for the national public interest in a quality National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS).

Less than 3% of the CNF is presently designated as wilderness – the least of any national forest in Region 6. Adding all these areas would raise that amount to about 15%, still below the national average of 19% and far less than a reasonable balance for a western national forest. The local (and national) economic benefits of wilderness are well established, including in a report about this specific area (http://headwaterseconomics.org/newash/colville_report_final.pdf).

The CNF’s own Forest Planning Summit ending in 2007 found strong support among stakeholders for retaining the wilderness quality of these areas. Notable is the relative absence of conflict with regard to timber management in these PWA’s, which historically has been among the most challenging issues related to wilderness.

I urge you to give full consideration to these views. These wild areas of the Colville National Forest are national treasures that should be protected for future generations.