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H.R. 980 - Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act

2427 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Honda1971
"H.R. 980 the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act was first introduced in 1993 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and proposes to designate 24 million acres of Wilderness across five Western states, (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming).

The bill has also been described as the modern incarnation of the Wildlands Project, an ambitious proposal first conceived by Dave Foreman, the co-founder of Earth First!. The Wildlands Project would "re-wild" approximately half of North America by outlawing most human use and occupancy."

Protect 24 Million Acres from OHV Restrictions - Oppose H.R. 980!

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H.R. 980 - Quick and Easy Letter Generator to Keep OUR Public Lands Open

Here's the BRC's "letter generator" direct link . . . Please Oppose H.R. 980 - BlueRibbon Coalition

And here is a copy of the "personalized" letter I sent along with responses from my Senators to it . . . .

"I am writing you today to voice my strong opposition to H.R. 980, the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act", and to ask that you oppose this legislation.

We in the OHV community generally support the idea of travel being limited to designated roads, trails and areas. We are also in support of a thorough environmental review and analysis as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the OHV infrastructure. Indeed, we as an OHV community have voluntarily taxed ourselves in order to provide funds to the agencies involved so they can actively and effectively accomplish these tasks. What the OHV community does not support is being presented with a "range" of management alternatives where many or all of the alternatives represent a significant reduction in OHV opportunity.

My family and friends spend many enjoyable hours recreating in our National Forests, National Parks and on BLM lands. We generally travel to our chosen destination via a four wheel drive vehicle as it allows us to get away from paved roads and into areas we could not otherwise reach. Upon arrival at our final destination we spend our time camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and traveling the trails in the vicinity with our Jeep and other OHVs taking in the beautiful scenery that our public lands afford us.

H.R. 980 would designate 23 million acres of land in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming as Wilderness. This means each of these 23 million acres would be made permanently off-limits to motorized and mechanized recreation, including off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, 4x4s, snowmobiles, mountain bikes and wheel chairs that do not meet standard “hospital” specifications, closing all trails in these areas to responsible motorized and mechanized access. Forest Service studies show that less than 4% of total forest visitors use the existing wilderness and that the demand for motorized recreation is rising.

Additionally, much of the land that would be designated as Wilderness does not meet the criteria set forth in the 1964 Wilderness Act. Many of the federal lands addressed by H.R. 980 include roads, bridges, campgrounds, trails, etc. This contradicts the intent of the original Wilderness Act, which essentially defines wilderness areas as lands that show little or no signs of human involvement.

Lost in all this legislation are those whose mobility is impaired, including veterans like myself who incurred disabilities while serving our country and the elderly who cannot walk into or nearby many of the areas under consideration.

These areas are not National Parks, they are lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service and should managed as such. Most importantly, Congress should honor the established protocol of respecting State and local rights by not imposing wilderness designations on people whose elected Congressional delegation are not in full support of the designations.

Back in the 60s development of America's wild lands and backcountry was a threat. Now the threats are the Wilderness Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and many other environmental protection laws passed by Congress due to the way they are being used by Wilderness lobbies to lock recreationalists out of our public lands via “Wilderness” designations.

Public lands are important recreational opportunities; there are other alternatives like National Conservation Areas or National Recreation Areas which would provide the same level of protection from development that the “Wilderness” designation carries while still preserving a diverse array of opportunities for recreation.

In closing I want to reiterate that my family, friends and fellow public land users oppose closures such as this and ask that you support alternatives that do not restrict America’s ability to enjoy our public lands.

We ask that you please oppose H.R 980.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue."

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Dear Mr. XXXXX:

Thank you for writing to express your opposition to the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act." I appreciate hearing your thoughts about this legislation, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

On February 11, 2009, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act" (H.R. 980), which would designate more than 24 million acres of wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, wildland recovery areas and biological corridors on public lands in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington State. I understand that you are opposed to H.R. 980 because you are concerned that the bill would result in the closure of off-highway vehicle areas and limit recreational opportunities.

Please know that I recognize that driving off-road vehicles is an important recreational opportunity, and I support reasonable access and fair use of our public lands. I will be sure to keep your concerns in mind should H.R. 980, or similar legislation, come before the Senate.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours, Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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Dear Mr. XXXXXX:

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your views with me. Your comments will help me continue to represent you and other Californians to the best of my ability. Be assured that I will keep your views in mind as the Senate considers legislation on this or similar issues.

If you would like additional information about my work in the U.S. Senate, I invite you to visit my website, From this site, you can send a message to me about current events or pending legislation, access my statements and press releases, request copies of legislation and government reports, and receive detailed information about the many services that I am privileged to provide for my constituents. You may also wish to visit to track current and past federal legislation.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate hearing from you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator
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