The recent restoration of the roadless rule by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 is a major victory for America's wild public lands.
Alaska is also a winner in this ruling as over 13 million acres of roadless wildlands are protected for their fish and wildlife, their subsistence and recreational values. Many rural Alaska communities are more dependent than ever on the natural beauty of local wildlands and the wealth of subsistence opportunities these un-roaded lands still contain.
Local hunters on North Prince of Wales Island most often abandon the road, thick with battle wagons full of deer hunters and head for un-roaded hunting grounds where better chances for success might still be found.
Alaska's new governor, Frank Murkowski, and his pulp mill-era cronies think Alaska can still clearcut our way to prosperity. More likely is that you end up clearcutting your way to poverty, and Prince of Wales is the poster child for industrial Wall Street forestry excesses. Even today with commercial wood production in a slump, U.S. Forest Service figures show that 40 percent or more of Tongass logs are being exported in the round. Even more wood is left to rot on the site as unsalable.
The roadless rule is more important than ever to stop the piecemeal destruction of our dwindling wild public lands.