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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Roadless forests

Obama’s encouraging first step

I was happy to read that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Obama administration took an important initial step in ensuring that our roadless areas are protected [“Salvaging roadless policy,” Opinion, editorial, May 31]. Here in Washington state, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule protects 2 million acres of backcountry national forest lands from road-building and most economic development.

As a sportsman, wilderness and roadless backcountry areas are an essential element to the American and democratic hunting and fishing tradition. These wild landscapes allow us access to some of the best fish and wildlife habitat in Washington’s national forests.

Conserving these undeveloped forestlands protects diverse wildlife habitat for many nongame species and gives opportunities to hunt deer, elk, black bear and mountain lion (just to name a few) in true wilderness settings. Big-game animals benefit from the security and habitat that roadless areas provide, which allows them to mature and grow.

The temporary moratorium is an encouraging first step, but Obama must continue to strengthen the protections and permanently and fully implemented the Roadless Rule.

— Gregg Bafundo, Normandy Park

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