Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release: July 28, 2004
National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service Commit
to Manage Roadless Areas to Protect National Parks

WASHINGTON, D.C. - National Park Service (NPS) Director Fran P. Mainella and U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale N. Bosworth have underscored a longstanding Federal partnership to manage roadless areas adjacent to America's national parks with a commitment to protect their integrity.

The correspondence follows a July 12 announcement by Agriculture Secretary Ann. M. Veneman of both an interim directive to conserve roadless areas and a proposed new rule addressing the cooperative conservation of roadless areas in national forests and grasslands. The proposed rule creates a process for state governors to work with the U.S. Forest Service to develop locally-supported rules to conserve roadless areas in their states.

The interim direction announced by Secretary Veneman on July 12 provides conservation measures for roadless areas adjacent to National Parks until state-specific rules are completed. The interim direction also includes a commitment to protect forests and communities from severe wildfire, and manage forest areas to address insect and disease activity.

"The NPS recognizes the value of roadless areas as habitat for many species of wildlife and as places that provide opportunities for nonmechanical recreation enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts today," Mainella wrote in her letter to the U.S. Forest Service chief. "The NPS very much appreciates the long history of working closely on the management of the public lands for which our agencies are responsible. We'd like to take this opportunity to emphasize how important it is for our respective land managers to work closely in partnership, especially where parks and forests share boundaries."

Bosworth assured the National Park Service director that his agency would keep Mainella informed of its progress on the proposed roadless rule and underscored the Federal commitment to professional management and conservation of roadless areas.

"We want to assure you that we will work closely with you and that we will strive to manage the national forest lands so that the integrity of National Parks is maintained," Bosworth said. "Our Forest Supervisors will continue to work with your National Park Superintendents in partnership as provided in the agreement signed by the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service at the Joint Ventures Partnership Conference in November 2003, especially on adjacent lands as management plans and projects are planned."

Twelve states contain 56.6 million acres of roadless areas, 97-percent of all such areas in the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Note to reporters: The letter from Director Fran Mainella to Chief Dale Bosworth.
The letter from Chief Dale Bosworth to Director Fran Mainella.



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