Over the past two decades, The Pew Charitable Trusts has played a prominent role in increasing the portion of public lands in the United States that are preserved through measurable standards. One of the results of that work is the landmark Roadless Area Conservation Rule, issued in 2001 to preserve nearly 60 million acres of the country’s last pristine forestland from most commercial road-building and development. In the decade since it was enacted, the roadless rule has proved resilient, weathering multiple lawsuits and a series of regulatory maneuvers to undo it, including efforts to block protection of the rule in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest – America’s largest national forest. The popular conservation policy also has been endorsed by more than 500 scientists who believe that “the 2001 Roadless Rule remains the most scientifically credible approach for managing and protecting our last undeveloped national forests.”
To complement this effort, Pew is advocating for stronger federal safeguards for wildlife and water across all 193 million acres of America’s national forests and grasslands through new rules the Obama administration is developing under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA).
Pew also is working with a broad base of conservationists, hunting and angling organizations and outdoor recreation industry and user groups to ensure that landmark protections for our public lands are retained. This includes educating the public about the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, which would open up more than 60 million acres of public lands—an area the size of Wyoming—to new development.