Montana Standard: Guest Editorial: Separating myth from fact in FJRA

Shortly after Senator Jon Tester introduced his Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (FJRA), I got a call from a woman worried about Tester taking away her elderly friends’ right to drive their pickup into the East Pioneer Mountains to enjoy summer picnics.

“Wait a minute,” I replied. “Don’t you and your friends understand that wilderness only involves the wildest, most remote places where there are no roads?” I explained that the places where we drive on forest roads aren’t roadless lands. They’re not affected in any way by wilderness designations.

Unfortunately, that woman’s misconception isn’t too unusual – judging from letters to the editor that criticize Tester’s bill. This should be no real surprise, because wilderness opponents have always made the deceptive claim that wilderness “locks the public out” of public land.

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