This year marks 120 years of the Creative Act of 1891, the birth of our national forest system.
As Harold Steen wrote for the Forest History Society at the 1991 centennial, "The fact that we as a nation decided a century ago to keep these forested lands under federal dominion – an atypical decision for the time – shows just how important we believed these lands to be."
Today, more than half of the national forest system of 191 million acres is open to mining, logging, grazing and drilling – a key economic development resource for the West.
House Republicans, led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy – and joined by Reps. Tom McClintock, Dan Lungren and Wally Herger in our region – seek to pass a "Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act" (HR 1581/S 1087), which would "release" roadless areas to patchwork forest-by-forest decision making.
Hal Herring, writing in Field and Stream's conservationist blog, notes that the term "release" itself is revealing – "as if, by being wild and isolated, these public lands are somehow being kept locked away from us."
The bill will be marked up in mid-November and sent to the House floor for a vote.
Read the full article, U.S. House Needs to Hear From You on Public Lands, on the Sacramento Bee website.