Future of Bighorn National Forest Roadless Areas Hangs in the Balance
The Bighorn Forest Roadless Collaborative (BFRC) was formed this summer in response to the Governor’s Task Force on Forests, which recommends assessing roadless areas in each forest.
Because the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (RACR) bans building new roads and limits timber harvesting, the collaborative has been tasked with reconciling a discrepancy between the Bighorn National Forest’s 2005 Forest Plan and the RACR in a 126,000-acre area of the forest. It will also focus on logging and the accompanying road status of more than half the 1.1 million acres of the BNF that are in Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs). The BNF’s 2005 Forest Plan designated half of its “suitable timber” areas inside IRA boundaries.
Members of the collaborative will determine which areas are suitable for Wilderness designation, which should be released from roadless, and which should remain roadless. WWA holds a conservation seat on this collaborative. To contribute public comment, go to http://tinyurl.com/bnfroadlesscomment.
Bighorn National Forest | Photo courtesy Kate Seymour