Washington, DC – Idaho Senator Jim Risch and Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter hailed the ruling issued by the Idaho District Court today that upholds Idaho’s Roadless Rule. In 2006, then-Governor Risch created five management themes for Idaho’s 9.3 million roadless acres based on local and statewide input.
“This is a victory for the collaborative process. This ruling shows that the collaborative process is viable in resolving federal public land disputes at the state level. Idaho has the only roadless rule in the nation developed by a state based on input from the full spectrum of wildland users. This well-reasoned decision issued by Judge Winmill is a credit to all the Idahoans who put a great deal of time and effort into crafting the various protections for Idaho lands,” said Risch.
Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter added, “Today’s decision rightfully acknowledges the value of local input in the federal decision-making process. It is important to recognize the efforts of all those who put so much time and energy into completing and defending Idaho’s Roadless Rule. I believe this decision closes the chapter on a 40-year controversy and validates a new model for resolving natural resource issues across the West.”
At 9.3 million acres, Idaho has the largest and most diverse amount of land in the lower 48 states impacted by a 2001 nationwide roadless rule adopted by the Clinton administration.
In 2005, the Bush administration rescinded the rule and allowed states to petition the Forest Service to develop rules to manage roadless areas with variations as opposed to the blanket regulation in the Clinton Rule.
After 16 public meetings and thousands of comments by Idahoans, then-Governor Risch developed a management plan for roadless areas under four different management themes plus one special area category. The themes included: Wild Land Recreation, Primitive, Backcountry, and General Forest. The Special Areas category would preserve important tribal and historical sites.
The Idaho plan was unanimously approved by the national Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee in December 2006 and recommended for adoption to the Department of Agriculture.
“The themes developed represent the diversity that is found within the areas defined as roadless. Rather than a one-size fits all plan that changes with each new administration, we have a plan that will manage these areas not only for forest health, but for people to hunt, fish, hike and for motorized users on appropriate parcels. This is a common sense approach that benefits the land and all Idahoans,” concluded Risch.