Even now as George Bush is almost walking out the door, his administration appears poised to allow a regulation that would make it easy for subdivisions full of housing to be built around your National Forests and turn them into highways. Yes, land that was set aside for public use 100 years ago and for which hundreds of millions Americans have enjoyed since they first landed on these shores are now being dropped into the bucket of housing commerce. Ansel Adams and Teddy Roosevelt would not be pleased one bit, nor will millions of American outdoorsmen and women, often those who were part of the old Republican base, the hunters, as well as those who enjoy the pristine and unspoiled beauty of the National Forests. Some choice paragraphs from the Washington Post article detailing the plan appear below, but go read the whole thing for more details:
The Bush administration appears poised to push through a change in U.S. Forest Service agreements that would make it far easier for mountain forests to be converted to housing subdivisions.
The shift is technical but with large implications. It would allow Plum Creek Timber to pave roads passing through Forest Service land. For decades, such roads were little more than trails used by logging trucks to reach timber stands.
But as Plum Creek has moved into the real estate business, paving those roads became a necessary prelude to opening vast tracts of the company’s 8 million acres to the vacation homes that are transforming landscapes across the West.
Scenic western Montana, where Plum Creek owns 1.2 million acres, would be most affected, placing fresh burdens on county governments to provide services, and undoing efforts to cluster housing near towns.
Probably because the proposal would die after Jan. 20. Obama sharply criticized Rey’s efforts during the presidential campaign, seizing on concerns that a landscape dotted with luxury homes will be less hospitable to Montanans accustomed to easy access to timberlands.
“At a time when Montana’s sportsmen are finding it increasingly hard to access lands, it is outrageous that the Bush administration would exacerbate the problem by encouraging prime hunting and fishing lands to be carved up and closed off,” Obama said.