A dozen or more logging trucks and three busloads full of people joined convoys from around the state last Wednesday afternoon and drove into Missoula to protest the Clinton administration's roadless initiative banning new Forest Service road construction. At top the logging trucks leaving Seeley Lake, just ahead of the three buses being loaded at right. For a summary of the protest, which drew over 2,000 people to a Forest Service hearing on the intiative, see Pyramid President Roger Johnson's letter on page 2 of this issue.
G. Noland photos
By now you have surely heard of President Clinton's Roadless Initiative. This plan is nothing more than a political ploy to help enhance Clinton's environmental legacy. It is not based on science and was not developed with local input, much less professional land manager input.
A proposal of this magnitude has to have all the "i's" dotted and "t's" crossed or Congress would never approve it. This initiative is so ill-conceived and incomplete that Congress would never approve it. That is why President Clinton is using execu-tive order to promote his agenda. He does not want your elected officials to challenge this pro-posal.
In the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS), six major issues were identified. Two of those were local involvement during decision-making and ef-fects on communities with strong natural resource affiliations. The Seeley Lake Ranger District has 119,000 acres of inventoried roadless land, yet no one from Washington, D.C. involved any-one from the Seeley Lake Ranger District. Seeley Lake clearly has a strong natural resource affilia-tion, yet no one from Washing-ton, D.C. made any effort to understand the effect on our community. The DEIS does quote Tom Power, a preservation-ist economist from the University of Montana. According to Mr. Power, "Even reasonably prosperous timber-dependent communities are among the least prosperous rural communities, having high seasonal unemploy-ment, high rate of population turnover, high divorce rates, and poor housing, social services, and community infrastructures (Drielsma and others 1990, Power 1996)." Like I said, this is all about an environmental legacy, not good science.
For years, the timber and mining industries have been un-der preservationists attack. With the ban on snowmobiles in na-tional parks and this roadless initiative, it is clear the preserva-tionists are after more than tim-ber and mining. Snowmobiles, RVs, four wheelers, motorcycles, bicycles and game carts will be in their sights. We cannot afford to sit idly by and watch this happen. It is time to stand together and say enough is enough.
Next Wednesday, June 21st, Montana Wood Products is host-ing a rally protesting the roadless initiative. Our goal is to get sev-eral thousand supporters out to make a statement. It will be at 5:00 p.m. in the University of Montana's Adams Center parking lot. There is a public meeting at 7:00 p.m. to comment on the roadless proposal. We will walk, en masse, to the public meeting to show our disapproval. Buses will be available at the Pyramid Mountain Lumber mill loading at 3:15 p.m., leaving Seeley Lake at 3:30 p.m., and joining an up-per Blackfoot convoy at Clearwa-ter Junction for a 4:00 p.m. de-parture to the Missoula Rally.
I am writing this letter to help educate you on the issue and to invite you to attend the rally. Our voice needs to be heard and now is the time. Please join me at the rally on the 21st. If you want more information, you can call Montana Wood Products at 1-800-849-7510.
Roger Johnson, President
Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Inc.
Seeley Lake, Montana