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Dedicated to conservation and multiple use of public lands for recreation opportunities.

Edited by: John Stewart

What Goes Around Comes Around

Greens Crying Foul Play on Roadless Issue

By Don Amador

As I read about green preservationists crying foul because a number of lawsuits filed by recreation and resource groups are threatening to unravel their land lock-up scheme, I remember that my dad once told me what "goes around comes around."

For eight long years, I have seen eco-groups file an endless parade of legal briefs to "protect" a frog or owl. It appeared that in many cases the Clinton administration welcomed these actions because a settlement could be reached that would further the goals of both Al Gore and his buddies in the "environmental movement" while bypassing Congress and the American people.

These lawsuits often resulted in the shutdown of a family owned ranch or timber company. Sometimes a campground or trail was closed. Even the proposed building of new electric power plants were pronounced dead on arrival by green advocates.

I remember when Clinton appointees testified before Congress in the winter of 1998 about what was then the embryonic stages of the "roadless" initiative. We learned that government officials met in secret in 1997 with the Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and other green groups to craft the administration's road closing program. Multiple-use groups like ranchers, American Indians, off-roaders, and timber companies were not invited.

Because we were excluded in the early drafting of the roadless initiative, resource and recreation groups were forced to turn to the courts for relief. How ironic it is for the "masters of lawsuits" our good friends the greens to wring their hands and say things are unfair.

If all of us had been given a seat at Clinton's roadless table we might have been able to come up with a program that works for everyone. Initiatives crafted in the dark of the forest serve neither the public or our natural environment.

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Note: Don Amador was a key spokesman for the BlueRibbon Coalition on the roadless issue. He presented the recreation viewpoint on the roadless initiative at the 2000 Outdoor Writers Association of America's annual convention. He also participated in the Forest Service's National Recreation Agenda, spoke at the 1999 Co;orado State University's Recreation Congress, and was a recreation delegate to the 1995 Forest Congress in Washington, DC

Don writes on land-use issues from his home in Oakley, CA.

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