America's Public Lands: Preserving Our Roadless National Forests

"It's up to the administration to extend the rule's protection to all of America's national forest roadless areas."

-Jane Danowitz, director, U.S. public lands program, Pew Environment Group

With two-thirds of America's national forests and grasslands already open to mining, gas and oil drilling and logging, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule protects the remaining third—58.5 million acres of backcountry—from the building of new roads. That last third of our national forests provides drinking water for more than 60 million people, vital fish and wildlife habitat, and popular recreation areas in 38 states and Puerto Rico.

The roadless rule has widespread popularity and support from the scientific community but has been the target of legal challenges from the timber, oil, gas and coal industries. The Obama administration has issued a time-out on activity in roadless areas until the conflicts in federal court can be resolved.

"The roadless rule is one of the most popular and important public lands policies on the books, and it protects America's most pristine forests. It's up to the administration to extend the rule's protection to all of America's national forest roadless areas," said Jane Danowitz, director of the Pew Environment Group's U.S. public lands program.

The Pew Environment Group's U.S. Forests Campaign continues to generate public support for the protection of America's cherished national forests.