Our public land managers need the ability to improve the health of our forests through forest-restoration projects, like removing beetle-infested trees, thinning overgrown areas or conducting prescribed burns. The health of our forests affect all of us, along with our air and water quality, wildlife and agriculture — not to mention our opportunities to hike and camp in the forests we love.
Utah’s forest managers face major challenges because of the “Roadless Rule.” This federal rule from the 1990s was intended to protect forests, but it has instead led to overgrown and unhealthy forests, choked by dead trees.
It’s time for Utah to work with the U.S. Forest Service to give our forest managers the tools and flexibility they need to improve the health of our forests and watersheds, and to reduce wildfire risks.
On February 28, the State asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service to develop a Utah-specific Roadless Rule in order to improve forest health, promote resilient landscapes, and give local Forest Service professionals greater ability to protect Utah’s air quality, drinking water, wildlife habitat, and other Roadless Area Characteristics.