USFS Continues Unlawful "De Facto Wilderness" Policy - IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED!

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September 27, 2013 7:23 PM

U.S. Forest Service Continues Unlawful "De Facto Wilderness" Policy in Two More National Forests!


Greetings BRC Action Alert Subscribers,

The Forest Service has just released the final drafts and draft Record of Decisions (RODs) for the Kootenai National Forest and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

Normally, these Forest Plans are akin to a master zoning plan, outlining general management guidance for large geographic areas, leaving site specific decisions for a later time or for a local Ranger District. This makes sense, because in today's world the agency simply does not have the resources to render defensible site specific decisions at the Forest Plan stage.

Specifically, the USFS is creating "De Facto Wilderness."

While the revised Plan decisions are generally programmatic, this Record of Decision also incorporates the following decisions:
  • Restrict motorized (85,800 acres) and mechanized (176,827 acres) use in management areas allocated to recommended wilderness and research natural areas. This decision authorizes an accompanying closure order as per 36 CFR 261 Subpart B and aligns the allowed uses within the management area direction established in the revised Plan.
  • Restrict the use of hand-held motorized equipment in management areas allocated to recommended wilderness or primitive areas, except for administrative use. This decision authorizes an accompanying order as per 36 CFR 261 Subpart B and aligns the allowed uses within the management area direction established in the revised Plan.

You're probably saying, "That's not legal! Only Congress can create Wilderness!!"

Well, just like Emperor Palpatine in George Lucas "Star Wars" films, the USFS wants to make it legal!

But like the plucky hero rebels in Star Wars, BRC and the Idaho State Snowmobile Association are fighting back!

Last year, BRC and ISSA joined forces in the courtroom to challenge the 2011 Clearwater National Forest Travel Plan and its rollout of the Northern Region Recommended Wilderness Area ("RWA") Policy.  Under the Policy, RWAs will effectively be managed as formally designated Wilderness.

Like a slow moving virus, this unlawful policy has now spread to the Idaho Panhandle and the Kootenai National Forests. The documents are now available on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests planning web page and the Kootenai-Idaho Panhandle Zone forest plan revision website. Additional information, including maps, supporting documents, and how to participate in the objection process, can also be found on their website. The FS responses to your comments on the draft EIS and draft Forest Plan are in Appendix G of the FEIS.

These draft decisions are subject to a pre-decisional administrative review process (objection process),
pursuant to the 2012 Planning Rule (Subpart B of36 CFR 219). That "objection process" provides us an opportunity to challenge this flagrant disregard of the law.

Now, we don't want to be "Pollyannaish" here. The "objection process" is like appealing to the King for something the Prince did wrong. The USFS has "gone rogue" as they say. The fact is, they really are intent on "making this legal."

In other words, we'll file a formal objection, but we aren't optimistic the USFS will change their mind.

That means we're going to need your help fighting this in the courts and also on the political playing field. Toward that end, we have a important 3-STEP ACTION ITEM below.

Please forward this to your friends and family, and please take action NOW!

Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

Brian Hawthorne                                                 Ric Foster
Public Lands Policy Director                            Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition                                        BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102                                       208-237-1008 ext 107


Below is one of BRC's famous  INSANELY EASY 3-Step Action Items.

Please take action today!

ACTION ITEM 1: - Forward this Alert, Like or Share this on Facebook.








 Tweet this action alert

ACTION ITEM 2: - Please support our lawsuit against this outrageous "de-facto Wilderness" policy.

Click Here

ACTION ITEM 3: - Contact Congress Immediately.

Our National partners, Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA) have created one of their excellent "click and send" action items. This is the quickest and easiest way to send a message to Congress about what the USFS is doing.


The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib -

As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!


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