"It does not require a majority to prevail, 
but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."
 --Samuel Adams - Leader in our Fight for Independence

NREPA Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act

The radical "Wildlands" Project" legislation pushed by Alliance For Wild Rockies  COMES TO LIFE AGAIN AS H.R. 980 in the 111th Congress.  This bill has been brought up in each of the last NINE congressional sessions.  The people behind this are determined to keep pushing it until it passes.  We, who desire to preserve our access to public lands, must be as diligent and as perseverant as they are to prevent this portion of the wildlands project from ever becoming law.  

The Subcommittee Hearing Was Held on May 5, 2009

As of May 5, no further action has been scheduled but they could decide to vote on NREPA with short notice.  You can find a list of committee members with contact information at www.savethewest.net/takeAction.htm   Ask them to vote against HR 980

This legislation implements a large part of the Wildlands Project agenda for the North American continent.  It designates 25 million acres of new wilderness and defacto wilderness - 21 million actual wilderness, including 5 million acres in corridors, with an additional 4 million acres of defacto wilderness from recovery areas and corridors.  This does NOT include 3 million acres of Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks that are also designated as wilderness.  The act ties up over 1 million acres in recovery areas which when recovered will be slated for wilderness study and probable inclusion.  NREPA creates biological corridors that connect wilderness areas.  These corridors are made up of wilderness and non-willderness federal lands that will be managed as wilderness.  NREPA designates 2056 miles of river on 64 rivers and creeks as National Scenic, Recreation or Wild Rivers with the attendant restrictions on usage public and private those designations require.

Most of this massive lockout of the people in favor of animals, plants, rocks and government biologists will occur in just 3 of the 50 states: Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, which presently contain 14 million acres of wilderness and National Park lands.  NREPA represents an increase of wilderness in these states of almost 200%. Some new wilderness will also be created in the eastern third of Oregon and Washington  

The entire nation has 10,000 miles of river designated Wild and Scenic.  The new designations in just three states represent a 20% increase for the entire nation.

There are almost 50 million acres of wilderness in the federal system outside of Alaska.  This bill which affects only five states will increase the federal wilderness acreage in the lower 48 states by 50%

On Flathead and Kootenai Forests this bill would create:

New Wilderness

The Flathead NF will convert appoximately 447,000 acres of multiple use forest to wilderness. Affected areas are: Swan front, Swan crest, Limestone Caves/Lost Jack, the Middle Fork, the South Fork, the Missions, LeBeau, and Mt Hefty/Tuchuck/Thompson-Seton.  All of the inventoried roadless areas on the Flathead will be converted to wilderness.

The Kootenai will have approximately 350,000 acres converted. The areas are too numerous to list but the principal ones are: The Cabinets (100,000), Saddle Mtn, Galena Cr., Northwest Peaks, Roderick and Mt Henry.  

Studying the map obtained from Alliance for the Wild Rockies, it appears that most of the Yaak will be put into wilderness, wild land recovery or biological corridor, designations which prohibit virtually all use by man.  

The acreage figures given above do not include hundreds of thousands of defacto wilderness in recovery and corridor areas newly created from multiple use forest.

Wild land recovery areas

NREPA mandates the purpose of management in these area is to "restore, as much as possible, such lands to their natural condition as existed prior to their entry and development." After restoration is complete the area will be evaluated for "...suitability of such component for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System...."

On the Flathead, 215,107 acres will be converted from multiple use to a wildland recovery designation. The South Fork is the primary area selected for restoration to wilderness status - 204,981 acres. On the map it would appear that this would include the entire South Fork. We are not sure what they intend to do with Hungry Horse Dam.

99,591 acres will be converted in the Kootenai. This is all in the Yaak and constitutes roughly one third of that area.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

The following rivers and streams will be designated Wild, Scenic, or Recreational with attendant federal restrictions on public and private use: most of the Yaak - recreational and wild, most of the free flowing Kootenai - recreational, most of the Bull - recreational, and most of the Vermillion - recreational. The forks of the Flathead are already designated.

Biological Corridors

The purpose of the corridors is to provide animals free passage from wilderness to wilderness and they will be managed as much like wilderness as possible.  Approximately 2,900,000 acres of non-wilderness will be set aside for corridors in addition to approximately 5,000,000 acres of wilderness in corridors.

"(a) ROADLESS LANDS DESIGNATED AS WILDERNESS- The roadless areas identified as part of the biological connecting corridors on the maps referred to in section 202 and the areas described on such maps as wilderness are hereby designated as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

(b) SPECIAL CORRIDOR MANAGEMENT AREAS- Those portions of the biological connecting corridors identified on the maps referred to in 202 that are not covered by subsection (a) are hereby designated as special corridor management areas. The portions shall be managed in the following manner:

(1) The practice of even-aged silvicultural management and timber harvesting is hereby prohibited on the portions.

(2) Mining, oil, and gas exploration and development and new road construction or reconstruction is hereby prohibited with regard to the portions.

(3) The Federal land management agencies responsible for the portions shall take immediate steps to ensure that road densities within the biological connecting corridors approach, as nearly as possible, zero miles of road per square mile of land area. Such road density shall not exceed 0.25 miles per square mile, using the method known as the ‘moving window’ method."

The federal lands affected in this area would be 69,506 acres on the Kootenai NF. This would be part of a corridor extending from the North Fork/Tuchuck to the Cabinets. 100+ miles perhaps? It will cross both US 93 and US 2 as well as thousands of private acres in the Fortine/Trego and Libby/Troy areas.


After three years a panel will report to congress on the implementation of NREPA

The Panel

"The report shall be produced by a panel of independent scientists appointed by the National Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the Society for Conservation Biology."  

Society for Conservation Biology

Reed Noss, Michael Soule and others. These are the folks who put together the pseudo-science of conservation biology which is supposed to justify the Wildlands Project.

Roadless Evaluation

THE PANEL will have sole authority to select NEW areas in addition to those designated by NREPA from the 5 states of WA, OR, MT, ID, AND WY for inclusion into the wilderness system. The only requirements for these areas are that they be within the 5 states; that they be at least 1000 acres in size and that they be part of the National Forest System. The panel will make their recommendations - to someone??. Until and unless Congress enacts legislation to the contrary these lands, selected by non-elected bureaucrats who were recommended by a private organization, will remain roadless and unavailable for anything "which impairs the natural and roadless qualities of these lands...."   

There are many thousands of areas like this that must be studied and will be locked up until the studies are complete.  There is not limitation on shape so that these areas could be drawn like gerry mandered political districts with no regard for usage or common sense.  Long twisted areas with cutouts for high use roads would be common.  Current definitions of roadless allow for old roads that are not in use and even for recently obliterated roads.  This section of the bill by itself will eliminate virtually all multiple use including mining, timber harvest, oil and gas, and motorized recreation on the national forests in these five states.

This small mention of THE PANEL innocently tucked away in a seemingly unimportant small section towards the end of the HR 980 would give Reed Noss, the man who would like to lock humanity out of 95% North America, acting through SCB  the power to lock up potentially millions of acres in 5 western states.



  HR 1105   Return to MFMU Alert Page

nrepaMap.jpg (101509 bytes)Complete Map of NREPA   flathead nrepa.gif (130629 bytes)Flathead portion of  NREPA
These maps are from previous versions of NREPA .  More land has been added to wilderness in the Flathead than is shown on this map.  Go to Save The West for more accurate maps.

Click on maps to enlarge



NREPA  is presently before the House Resources Committee.    Send your comments to the Dept of Interior and the members of this committee as well as your own congressman.   Go to our Bill Watch -List for links to the committee, the bill text, bill status and our summary of the bill. 

Go to SAVE THE WEST at http://www.savethewest.net  for even more information including contact information for subcommittee members.

Bill Summary
from thomas.loc.gov


Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act - Designates the following lands in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming as wilderness and components of the National Wilderness Preservation System (System): (1) Greater Glacier/Northern Continental Divide ecosystem; (2) Greater Yellowstone ecosystem; (3) Greater Salmon/Selway ecosystem; (4) Greater Cabinet/Yaak/Selkirk ecosystem; (5) Islands in the Sky Wilderness; and (6) Blackfeet Wilderness.

Designates: (1) specified wild land areas as Biological Connecting Corridors to protect the life flow of the Northern Rockies Bioregion; (2) the inventoried roadless areas identified as part of the Corridors as components of the System; and (3) certain biological connecting corridors as special corridor management areas.

Amends the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of specified rivers and creeks in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Establishes the National Wildland Restoration and Recovery System and the National Wildland Recovery Corps.

Establishes a panel to examine all unroaded areas 1000 acres and larger on all national forests in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington to determine if they should be included in the inventoried roadless inventory.  No timber harvest or road building in these areas until decision is made.  

Requires the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to assure nonexclusive access to the specified areas and corridors designated by this Act by Native Americans for traditional cultural and religious purposes.

NREPA: The Bill      

This page was last updated on 09/28/09

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