January 5, 2001

President Clinton, in an event today at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., will announce the adoption of a comprehensive strategy to protect 58.5 million acres of pristine forestland – nearly one-third of America’s national forests. Today’s action, which will protect these lands from road building and logging, builds on the Administration’s strong conservation record and culminates an unprecedented public outreach process launched more than a year ago by the President. The new protections, encompassing an area larger than all of our national parks combined, will protect water quality and biodiversity, and ensure that much of America’s last, best wildland is preserved for future generations. With today’s action, the Clinton Administration has protected more land in the continental United States than any administration since Theodore Roosevelt.

Broad Public Participation in Forest Protection. In October, 1999, President Clinton directed the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service to develop and propose for public comment a comprehensive plan to provide appropriate long-term protection for "roadless" areas of the national forests. The President said the "degree of protection afforded should reflect the best available science and a careful consideration of the full range of ecological, economic, and social values inherent in these lands." The final plan adopted today reflects input received at more than 600 public meetings held nationwide with an estimated 39,000 people attending. In developing the strategy, the Forest Service consulted with more than 180 American Indian and Alaska Native groups were consulted, received 1.6 million comments from the public, and collaborated with seven other federal agencies.

Strong Protection for Our Last, Best Wildlands. Roadless areas in the national forests – some of largest pristine wildlands remaining in the United States – provide an extraordinary array of irreplaceable benefits. They are a major source of clean drinking water for millions of Americans in communities across the country, and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife, including more than 200 plant and animal species protected or proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Roadless areas also provide extraordinary opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hunting, fishing, mountain biking, off-road vehicle use on designated trails, and hiking.

Today’s action will preserve these benefits on 58.5 million acres of national forestland in 39 states – including the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, America’s largest temperate rain forest. The new rule bars road building and logging – with carefully crafted exemptions to protect public safety and forest health – while ensuring continued public access for recreation. On other areas of the national forests, the Forest Service will continue to work with local communities and the timber industry to ensure a reliable, sustainable supply of commercial timber.

Flexibility to Protect Communities and Public Safety. The new rule includes provisions to help ease potential economic impacts on local communities, preserve or enhance forest values, and guard against the risk of catastrophic wildlfire:

Additional details on the new roadless protections can be found on the web at

The Clinton Administration Record: Restoring Balance to Our National Forests. Over the past eight years, the Clinton-Gore Administration has dramatically improved management of the 192 million-acre national forest system, proving again and again that environmental protection and economic growth can, and must, go hand in hand. The Administration:

What's New at the White House

What's New - December 2000

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What's New Archives 1997-1999

What's New Archives: 1994-1996

Presidential Webcast: Meeting the Challenge of Global Warming

President Clinton Joins International Religious and Domestic Aids Policy Leaders to Mark World Aids Day

Urging Congress to Keep its Commitment and Complete this Year's Education Budget

To Implement Title V of the Trade and Development Act of 2000 and to Modify the Generalized System of Preferences

Preserving America’s Coral Reefs

Human Rights Day: The Eleanor Roosevelt Award and The Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Clinton Launches New Effort to Increase Immunization Rates Among Children

President Clinton and Vice President Gore: Restoring an American Natural Treasure

Progress in Efforts to Combat International Crime

President Clinton’s New Markets Initiative: Revitalizing America’s Underserved Communities

President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Congressional Democrats Win a Landmark Budget

Announcing Welfare Reform Achievements and Budget Wins for America’s Families

President Clinton Issues Strong New Consumer Protections to Ensure the Privacy of Medical Records

Enacting a Budget that Invests in Education, Health Care, and America’

President Clinton Appoints Roger Gregory to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

President Clinton Announces New Steps to Improve Nutrition and Education for Children in Developing Countries

The United States on Track to Pay Off the Debt by End of the Decade

President Clinton: Strengthening the Federal Government-University Research Partnership

Keeping the Heat and Lights On During Unusually Cold Weather

President Clinton and First Lady Promote Screenings and Treatment for Breast, Cervical and Other Cancers

Strengthening and Supporting the Military

President Clinton: Strong Action to Preserve America’s Forests

Protecting America’s Natural Treasures

President Clinton: Raising the Minimum Wage -- An Overdue Pay Raise for America’s Working Families

President Clinton Awards the Presidential Citizens Medals

President Clinton Unveils the Completion of the FDR Memorial and Honors FDR’s Legacy

Highlights of the 2001 Economic Report of the President

Prevention Resources For America

President Clinton Honors Martin Luther King Through Words and Deeds

New Efforts to Fight Sweatshops and Child Labor Around the World & Put A More Human Face on the

Leadership for the New Millennium -- A Record of Digital Progress and Prosperity

President Clinton: Celebrating the Legacy of Lewis and Clark and Preserving America’s Natural Treasures

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