Environmental Advocate Says Backcountry And Roadless Lands Need To Be Preserved

January 02, 2014

Oil and gas development, along with timber extraction, are threatening some of the nation’s backcountry and roadless land, according to an environmental advocate with the National Wildlife Federation.

Ed Perry of the NWF’s Public Lands Campaign says lawmakers in Washington continue to propose the sale of tens of millions of acres of national forest and BLM acreage, but he believes that is wrong-headed thinking.

"The whole purpose is to educate my fellow sportsmen and conservationists that there is a huge threat looming to our public lands out there,” Perry said. “Otherwise, we’re going to be losing some of the last, best part of our country."

Perry says those lands need to be preserved for the tourist dollars they bring in, the jobs they create and for their environmental value, which he calls priceless. Arizona’s national forests and BLM lands cover some 24 million acres, or roughly 30 percent of the state’s surface area.