***PRESS RELEASE July, 17, 2009***
Moscow, Idaho– Friends of the Clearwater would like to issue a statement on behalf of the recent draft Travel Plan released by the Clearwater National Forest. Despite the listing of alternatives, it is our belief the plan continues to fail to protect critical wildlife habitat and maintain important water quality levels throughout the National Forest. Instead of starting with a baseline of all roads and trails being open to motorized recreation and then choosing which ones to close, just the opposite should occur. A responsible travel plan should emphasize resource protection and outline objectives which reflect land stewardship.
In 1987, the Clearwater National Forest issued a forest plan to protect the natural resources and Wilderness values of our public lands. Since then, motorized recreation users have been allowed to freely travel on both roads and trails, severely degrading both terrestrial and aquatic habitat. Motorized recreation users have also been permitted to travel through many roadless areas. Friends of the Clearwater feels that the allowance of such actions is in direct violation of managing for Wilderness integrity. The current plan to allow motorized recreation into the Weitas Creek roadless area is unacceptable.
Trail systems throughout the Clearwater National Forest were never designed for motorized recreation vehicle use. The continued allowance of these activities will only further degrade the resource and lead to increased erosion and soil compaction.
Please feel free to contact our office at 208-882-9755 if you wish to learn more about our perspective on this important public lands matter. Thank you.