Monney: Protecting wildlife affected by the Roadless Rule
Many Utahns find solace in Utah’s national forests, but it is Utah’s diverse wildlife populations that call these forests home. Compared to other states, Utah ranks 10th in biodiversity and 5th for endemic species, and these species will likely pay the highest price for Governor Herbert’s Utah-specific Roadless Rule.
More than one-third of Utah’s sensitive species have been found in the undisturbed ecosystems of roadless areas which are currently protected by the federal Roadless Rule. As the name implies, the Roadless Rule is a designation of the National Forests that prevents road building and timber cutting (except during severe wildfire threat) in order to preserve the forests. Governor Herbert’s new rule justifies more road building, timber cutting, and commercial logging, and it fails to address the impact these practices will have on wildlife. Roads are one of the greatest threats to wildlife populations and habitat. Roads break up tracts of forests, lead to wildlife-vehicle collisions and erode hillsides, which increases sediment in streams with native and endangered fish.
Given all the threats to Utah’s special wildlife species and populations, our forests need more protection, not deregulation for profit. Governor Herbert’s Utah specific roadless rule is a backwards approach to restoring and protecting wildlife habitat, and would further imperil Utah’s most wild and invaluable forest ecosystems.
— Taylor Monney, Orem