Rebecca Hanson: Protect roadless areas

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I was disappointed and alarmed to read of the Bush administration's reversal of protections for the roadless areas in our national forests. It's another in a depressingly long list of conservation rollbacks intended to facilitate short-term economic benefits for a few while damaging America's natural heritage.

Our roadless areas are essential for big-game species, endangered species and to protect clean watersheds for human consumption. The U.S. Forest Service's studies show that roaded areas are twice as likely as roadless areas to be subjected to large-scale fires. And the timber industry is subsidized by millions of taxpayer dollars each year, thus contributing to the federal debt. Why do we continue to pay people to profit from the destruction of America the Beautiful? Does our current federal leadership have any concept of the moral value of stewardship?

To top it all off, this policy flies in the face of nearly 4 million formal citizen comments calling for roadless protections in our national forests. Do we no longer care about democracy either -- a government listening to what its citizens want to see done with their land?

When will these baseless immoral decisions end?

Rebecca Hanson

Steamboat Springs

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