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 action.
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.