Freedom to move has always been important to wild life, and barriers to movement always dangerous for the wild.
With climate change, the freedom to move has become more important than ever. James Hansen, for example, has said that animals have no choice but to move, because it is essential to their very survival.
Americans now have opportunity to protect freedom of movement in one of the nation’s last remaining hotspots for the wild — the region from Yellowstone northward to Glacier National Park. This opportunity has been endorsed by former President Jimmy Carter, Native American religious leaders, famed biologists including grizzly expert John Craighead, conservative political columnist James Kilpatrick, local county commissioners, and many others.
PS – Australia and Scotland have been considering policy like that pioneered for the Northern US Rockies
“The Northern Rockies is the only place in the lower 48 states where native species and wildlife are protected on lands that are virtually unchanged since Lewis and Clark saw them.”
“The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act: Connects natural, biological corridors, ensuring the continued existence of native plants and animals and mitigating the effects of global warming.”
***PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER 4, 2007***
U.S. House of Representatives announces hearing
on the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act,
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater and President,
Alliance for the Wild Rockies 208 882-9755
Michael Garrity, Executive Director,
Alliance for the Wild Rockies 406 459-5936
Meghan O’Shaughnessy, Office of Congresswoman Maloney 202 225-7944
Dave Natonski, Office of Congressman Christopher Shays 202-225-5541
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee announced today that its subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold a hearing on October 18, 2007 on the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, H.R. 1975, sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) and 114 other Representatives. NREPA will designate all of the inventoried roadless areas in the Northern Rockies as wilderness; protect some of America’s most beautiful and ecologically important lands while saving taxpayers money and creating jobs.
To preserve the biological integrity of the Northern Rockies ecosystem, NREPA will designate as wilderness over 24 million acres of wilderness in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington on federal public land. Included in this total is over 3 million acres in Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks.
The Northern Rockies is the only place in the lower 48 states where native species and wildlife are protected on lands that are virtually unchanged since Lewis and Clark saw them. This is public land belonging to all Americans. NREPA designates all of the remaining roadless lands in the Northern Rockies as wilderness, the strongest protection the federal government can confer on public lands.
NREPA establishes a pilot wildland recovery system. Over 6,000 miles of damaging or unused roads will be restored to roadless conditions, providing employment for over 2,000 workers while saving tax-dollars from subsidized development.
“NREPA is a common sense bill that will save taxpayer dollars, create thousands of good jobs, and protect vast expanses of treasured public land – land that belongs to the American people,” said Rep. Maloney. “NREPA’s time has come. I want to thank Chairman Rahall andSubcommittee Chairman Grijalva for holding the first hearing on this important issue in nearly a decade.”
Rep. Shays added, “The Northern Rocky Mountains are one of America’s great wilderness preserves–a living treasure, and home to a critical component of the continent’s ecosystem. It is imperative we preserve and protect our environment. We simply will not have a world to live in if we continue our neglectful ways.”
“The bipartisan Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act protects public land owned by all Americans and saves taxpayers money,” avers musician and wilderness advocate Carole King. “NREPA is a win/win bill whose time has come.”
Grizzly bears, caribou, elk, bison, wolves, bull trout and salmon still thrive in the Northern Rockies. The bill seeks to safeguard both these species and the lands on which they live.
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater and a board member for the Alliance said “NREPA would provide the core habitat protection plus the connectivity needed for grizzlies to thrive in the Clearwater region. The grizzly that was recently killed in the Clearwater shows that the great bear can recover if we give the species a chance.”
A 2001 study from noted biologists Carlos Carroll, Paul Paquet and Reed Noss shows the Clearwater region to be the best place for all large carnivores in the entire Rockies, including the Canadian Rockies. Without protected corridors and core habitat, grizzly recovery in the Clearwater may not occur.
“The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act will create high paying jobs by recovering old roads and clearcuts, save taxpayers money and protect the environment,” said Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.
NREPA would save taxpayers $245 million over a ten-year period by managing the land as wilderness. Additionally, more than 2,300 jobs would be created in the region through NREPA’s program to restore Northern Rockies habitats to their natural state.
Wilderness guide/outfitter Howie Wolke of the Paradise Valley notes that “This is our chance to do it right. NREPA represents a rapidly fading opportunity to prevent more endangered species listings, more resource extraction-induced watershed disasters, more soil destruction and noise pollution from all terrain vehicles, and more losses of the irreplaceable values that we in the Northern Rockies hold dear. And equally important, it a chance to avoid all of the expensive band-aid mitigation measures plus the controversy and polarization that are inevitable when we fail to properly protect the habitat to begin with.”
The Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act:
Connects natural, biological corridors, ensuring the continued existence of native plants and animals and mitigating the effects of global warming;
Restores habitat that has been severely damaged from roads that were built, creating more than 2,000 jobs and leading to a more sustainable economic base in the region;
Keeps water available for ranchers and farmers downstream until it is most needed; and
Eliminates subsidized development in the designated wilderness areas, saving taxpayers $245 million over a 10-year period.
More information about the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act can be found by visiting
Alliance for the Wi