Congressman Grijalva's

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Congressman Grijalva's Dear Colleague Letter

Support America's Last Wilderness Lands

Dear Colleague,

America's wilderness quality land is a precious resource that continues to vanish at a
rapid pace. I am writing to request your support for the attached letter to Chief Tidwell
calling on him to administratively protect those lands that the Forest Service has
recommended for wilderness designation until Congress can act.

The National Forest System contains over 60 million acres of wilderness quality land
managed by the United States Forest Service. As a part of its regular planning process,
the agency reviews these lands for their wilderness character and recommends to
Congress some of these lands for wilderness designation.

To date, the agency has recommended that Congress designate over three million acres
of national forest wilderness nationwide. Stretching from Alaska to Vermont, these lands
are truly the crown jewels of the National Forest System and are pending Congressional

As Congress considers these areas, is imperative that the Forest Service refrain from
taking actions that may undermine Congress from acting on the agency's
recommendations. Unfortunately, agency guidelines currently allow for a wide array of
non-conforming uses within their own recommended wilderness areas. These uses-
which include widespread use of motorized vehicles-undermine the agency's
recommendations, and may impede Congressional action.

A new direction is needed that ensures that wilderness caliber lands that have received
an agency recommendation are properly managed to maintain their wilderness character
and values until Congress can act. Please join me in urging Forest Service Chief Tidwell
do adopt such a policy.


Raul M. Grijalva