Recently the Obama Administration issued a major rewrite of forest planning rules, causing quite an uproar throughout various government sectors and among environmentalists. The Washington Post wrote of this decision, as well as some of the comments made by government officials, scientists and environmentalists in this article. The plan itself establishes “a new blueprint to guide everything from logging to recreation and renewable energy development.” This plan will apply to all 155 national forests, 20 grasslands and one prairie,” though it will give a considerable amount of power to the local supervisors, a fact that concerned some environmentalists. Lauded as a “‘vision of protection, restoration and water preservation,'” this plan does not specifically address the uniqueness of each forest and wilderness area involved. The plan itself is here, and details the proposed changes that have been made thus far, as well as other comments and related items.
Edward Abbey long awaited a government rule that sought to protect the wilderness he loved so much, and although this plan has its critics, it seems slightly preferable to the outdated forest plans that were in place. It appears as though the words that resonate so strongly throughout Desert Solitaire have finally taken hold in larger society. The Obama Administration, along with other environmentalists and scientists, hope this plan will shift the focus of forest management to something more sustainable, thus enabling future generations to experience these wilderness areas.