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The Roadless Area Final Rule Conservation or Preservation In 1978 the United States Forest Service USFS began the management of roadless areas ie all areas greater than 5000 acres and without constructed roads in a study called Roadless Area Review and Evaluation II RARE II The purpose of this study was to determine the suitability of these roadless areas for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System On October 13 1999 twenty-one years later President Clinton directed the Forest Service to provide long-term protection to inventoried roadless areas as well as smaller roadless areas not yet inventoried President Clintons primary motives in initiating this direction were to reduce the 84 billion backlog of road maintenance costs as well as provide a definitive statement on how inventoried roadless areas would be managed in the future The USFS developed a plan for future management of all roadless areas known as the Final Roadless Area Conservation Rule Roadless Rule and released it on January 5 2001 The Roadless Rule scheduled to become federal policy on May 12 2001 will have significant environmental economical and social impacts on 58 million acres of public land One of the major effects of the Roadless Rule is the impact it will have on the nations timber supply Because road construction and timber harvesting will be prohibited on 585 million acres of National Forest lands approximately 30 of all National Forest System NFS lands USDA Summary S-1 under the Roadless Rule this prohibition will result in an annual loss of 140 million board feet USDA FEIS 2-26 Although twenty-one states will be affected the majority of the losses will occur in the states of Alaska Idaho Oregon and Utah In fact Alaska alone will lose 766 million board feet of timber annually USDA FEIS B-5 The current timber program in Alaska averages 179 million board feet annually The problem with a reduction in timber volume is that future timber demands will have to
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