George is paving our favorite dirt roads!

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Posted by Gene Rubin on March 03, 2003 at 12:30:56:


the National Park Service, BLM and Forest Service has for years successfully fought back the desire local governments from building new roads and paving
existing roads in our National Parks.

Thanks to a new ruling written by George Bush, Denali National Park, Capitol Reef NP, Death Valley NP (Saline Valley Road), Joshua NP, and others will
be under a siege by county paving crews. Many of our favorite back country places accessible now only by crude dirt roads will be paved. What's more, there
are provisions in the new ruling to allow development of "visitor services" (read: fast food and gas stations). Results will be great degradation of our National
Parks, fragmentation of wildlife corridors, basic "citification" of the wilds. This is not limited to the National Parks but Forest Service Lands, BLM lands
(stewards to the wildest and largest of our public lands, and my favorite lands of all, the FWS lands (Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges ie:
KOFA mountains, Cabeza Prieta).

Following is an excerpt from:

The new rule reduces a very thoughtful and careful process of evaluating the
validity of an RS 2477 claim to the whim and desire of the Secretary to transfer
a right-of-way to a state or local jurisdiction. As a result of this change, we can
expect states and local governments to make claims for dirt roads, historic
routes, wagon trails, hiking trails, and even well-used animal paths on any
federally-owned land including national parks, national forests, and wilderness
areas with the intent of building roads. National parks and wilderness areas that
we thought were permanently protected are now threatened.


According to a 1993 National Park Service memo, claims under the road statute
of the 1866 Mining Act could affect up to 17 million acres of national park lands
in the lower 48 states.

Following are just a few examples of how these claims could impact specific

Soon after the Administration issued the rule, a number of potential
roads were identified by Moffat County, Colorado throughout Dinosaur
National Monument. Virtually every one of these claimed routes lies
within the 200,000 acres the Department of the Interior recommended
for wilderness protection in 1978. In fact, a study by the Bureau of Land
Management in 1980 found more than 80,000 acres of this area to be
roadless. Since then, the area has been managed as wilderness, with no
construction of new roads. A number of the routes identified by Moffat
County appear to be little more than stream-beds, possibly misidentified
as routes based on aerial photos.

The state of Alaska has identified 164 routes totaling 2,741 miles in 14 of
its national parks. There are 24 routes covering approximately 350-miles
in Denali National Park and Preserve alone that the State contends are
valid rights-of-way. About half of the claims are in the northern part of
the park where the Toklat and Savage wolf packs and countless caribou
move along the Toklat River. Virtually all of the proposed claims are on
lands suitable for wilderness designation.

San Bernardino County in California, has surveyed land in the Mojave
National Preserve including wagon roads, trails, and horse and footpaths
that has resulted in 2,567 miles of road claims. The county is only 80
percent of the way through its survey.

In 1997 the National Park Service identified 56 primitive roads or road
segments, totaling 110 miles within the boundaries of Grand Canyon
National Park. If claims on these roads were approved the park identified
the problems that would result as including increased wildlife poaching,
theft of archeological resources, and numbers of fire. In addition it would
increase habitat fragmentation.

In 1997 the National Park Service identified 20 routs or segments
totaling about 56 miles that could be possible claims within Canyonlands
National Park in Utah - many of which have never been traveled by
motorized vehicles and areas that are the parks most popular hiking


Please take action today. Write your representative and senator today to let
them know this intrusion into our national parks is unacceptable.

Thanks for reading this, Gene Rubin

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