An Alaska-specific Roadless Rule is moving forward.
The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with state officials to develop Roadless Rule regulations for Alaska.
That would involve a review of currently designated roadless areas, and determining different management designations for some of those areas. The goal is to allow economic and other development, according to the announcement, while still conserving roadless areas for future generations.
A state-specific rule would amend the 2001 Roadless Rule. That rule prohibits road construction and reconstruction, and timber harvest on certain National Forest System lands nationwide.
According to the Forest Service announcement, nearly 95 percent of national forest land in Alaska is designated roadless or wilderness.
In a separate announcement, Alaska’s Congressional Delegation welcomed the process. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young all said the Roadless Rule doesn’t work in Alaska.
Alaska has requested a full exemption from the Roadless Rule. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue opted this spring to pursue a state-specific roadless rule instead, and plans to have it completed within 18 months.
The federal government has gone through a similar review for other states.
Wilderness land would not be affected by this process.