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Preserve Our Nation's Habitat

Earth Alert #4
July 1999

Take Personal and Political action to reach the goals of Earth Day.

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We are rapidly destroying some of the last, most beautiful places on the planet. Once ravaged, our nation's habitat is nearly impossible to restore. For example, our National Forests contain some of the most striking natural beauty on earth: from the deep green rainforests in the Pacific Northwest to the misty groves of the Southern Appalachians to the piney woodlands around the Great Lakes.

More than half of our National Forests have already been developed or damaged by logging, roadbuilding, or other destructive activities. It’s outrageous that in the last five years, the timber industry has driven away from our National Forests with more than 2.7 million logging trucks full of timber. While 18% of our National Forests enjoy permanent protection, more than a third of the remaining forest wilderness is vulnerable to chainsaws and bulldozers.

Labeled by leading conservationists as "America's Heritage Forests," these last 60 million acres of forests provide valuable habitat for fish and wildlife, an abundant supply of clean drinking water, and unmatched opportunities for camping and hiking. It's time to throw a roadblock in front of the timber and mining industries and permanently protect the last remaining 60 million acres of forest wilderness. It's also time to do what we can do in small ways to restore habitat in our own backyard.

Personal Action

Turn Your Yard Into A Backyard Wildlife Habitat

As of July 29, 1999, there are 24,217 certified "Backyard Wildlife Habitat" sites. Everyone who provides the basic habitat elements noted below and who takes steps to conserve natural resources in their yard may apply for certification through the National Wildlife Federation.

The steps to doing this include assessing your yard or garden space and identifying what habitat elements already exist; providing the four basic elements (food, water, cover, and places to raise young); and practicing resource conservation in your own backyard. Certification involves an NWF naturalist review of your application and a $15.00 registration fee. Visit www.nwf.org for more information or call

If this sounds a little too ambitious for you, take some smaller steps

such as reducing or eliminating your use of pesticides in your yard; planting drought resistant plants; or setting up a bird-feeder.

Write the President

Right now, the U.S. Forest Service is developing a long-term forest management policy. Unfortunately, instead of crafting a policy that will protect forests, the forest service is developing a policy on how to build better roads so that the timber and mining industries will still be able to clear-cut and destroy our pristine forests.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore have the power to direct the U.S. Forest Service to change the direction of current forest policy so that it will permanently protect our heritage forests. Join us in calling on them to help save our nation's habitat.


President William J. Clinton

Vice-President Albert Gore, Jr.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Clinton and Vice-President Gore:

Earlier this summer, leaders of the environmental community met with Vice-President Gore to ask that the Administration protect our Heritage Forests -- the last 60 million acres of untouched, but unprotected, wilderness in our National Forests. The environmental community also delivered the comments of more than 200,000 people to your doorstep asking for the same thing. I am writing to you to add my voice to this effort to protect our forests.

Right now, the Forest Service is developing a long-term forest management plan that will determine the future of the last unprotected wilderness in our National Forests. Unfortunately, that plan is currently focused only on how to build better roads in our National Forests, falling far short of permanently protecting wilderness areas from bulldozers and chainsaws.

You have the power to direct the Forest Service to change the direction of their current forest management plan so it will permanently protect our Heritage Forests -- all roadless areas of 1,000 acres and larger in our National Forests -- from logging, roadbuilding, mining, and other damaging activities. I urge you to use that power and protect our Heritage Forests.





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©1999 Earth Day 2000