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PNS Daily Newscast - August 13, 2020 


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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make their first public appearance as running mates. President Trump calls Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene a GOP "star," despite her support for conspiracy theory QAnon.

WA’s Outdoor Buffs have ‘Roadless Rule’ to Thank

January 22, 2008

Seattle, WA – Washington, known as "The Evergreen State," continues to deserve that name in part because of a U.S. Forest Service rule born 10 years ago as a road-building moratorium.

Starting out as a way to save millions of dollars on road maintenance in national forests, the "Roadless Rule" still protects unroaded land from development, including just over 2 million acres in Washington.

Amy Roberts, Government Affairs Director for the Outdoor Industry Association, says the rule has had a positive impact on the Washington economy.

"3.5 percent of the gross state product is attributed to outdoor recreation. That's a really significant piece of any economy, but in Washington State, it's one of the major factors."

Critics say the rule hampers economic development. However, Roberts says, outdoor recreation supports 115,000 jobs and brings more than $11 billion into the state each year, much of it to the rural communities adjacent to roadless areas.

The rule has withstood multiple legal challenges, and the Forest Service says 95 percent of the comments it receives indicate people are in favor of keeping it in place.

After a decade of the rule, Roberts adds, the roadless areas are attracting more visitors, along with clean industry, to the state.

"1.8 million people are hiking, trail-running, backpacking. The other big one is bird watching--2.2 million people--there's huge growth in that area. So it's a huge part of why people are living in Washington, and what Washington citizens are taking part in."

The OIA's "State by State Active Outdoor Recreation Economy Report" can be found online at
www.outdoorindustry.org. Roadless area statistics from The Wilderness Society are at www.wilderness.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA