In 1996 the Clinton administration, led by Mike Dombeck, head of the Forest Service, declared that 58 million acres (roughly the size of Nebraska) would remain roadless, although available for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and natural habitat.
Nine lawsuits were almost immediately filed by lumber and mining interests to overturn the new Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Unfortunately, when the Bush administration took over in 2001, the Forest Service refused to support its own roadless policy.
A number of environmental organizations, with Earthjustice in the lead, then stepped up to defend the policy. Over 600 hearings were held, and over a million and a half comments were received. Over 90% of the comments were in favor of the Rule. Environmental groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in legal action. It worked. In October 2011 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Roadless Rule.
I’m a member of Earthjustice, and right now I’m feeling pretty good.