The National Forest Ecosystem Protection Act of 2002 - H.R.652
- Implementing The Wildlands Project
This bill is an attempt to implement The Wildlands Project. This
bill talks to identifying "core wilderness areas." Please
let your elected representative know that you do not support this
bill and you expect your elected representatives to oppose this bill.)
(Note: No less than thirty-three states are 'covered' by this bill,
whose intent is simply to implement the Wildlands Project and rewild
vast reaches of our country. Whether or not you live in the states
listed below, you have a vital interest in seeing that this bill dies,
and in educating -- or voting out -- the legislators that introduced
and are supporting it.)
H.R.652 - National Forest Ecosystem Protection Act of 2002 (Introduced
SEC. 2. NATIONAL FOREST ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION PROGRAM.
(a) DECLARATION OF POLICY- In order to assure that the American
people have large areas of land in healthy natural condition
throughout the country, which lands maximize wildland recreational
opportunities for people, maximize habitat protection for native
wildlife and natural plant communities, and contribute to a
preservation of water for use by downstream metropolitan communities
and other users, it is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress
to secure for present and future generations of Americans the
enduring resource of protected large wild lands.
(c) ESTABLISHMENT- To help achieve the policy declared in subsection
(a), there is hereby established a National Forest Ecosystem
Protection Program to be composed of lands within existing units of
the National Forest System that contain one or more large existing
wilderness areas as a core area and a primitive area extending
outward therefrom, both of which will be designated as Ecosystem
Protection Areas by this Act or a subsequent Act of Congress.
SEC. 3. SPECIAL MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS.
(a) WILDERNESS AREA MANAGEMENT - Within the Ecosystem Protection
Areas, the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Forest
Service (in this Act referred to as the `Secretary'), shall manage
the wilderness areas as provided by the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C.
1131 et seq.) and other applicable laws, except that commercial
grazing shall be eliminated therein.
(b) PRIMITIVE AREA MANAGEMENT - Within the Ecosystem Protection Areas,
the Secretary shall manage the primitive areas so that primitive
recreation and habitat for wildlife will be the paramount
considerations and that all other multiple use activities will only
be used to reinforce the paramount considerations. Commercial grazing
shall be eliminated therein.
(c) PROTECTION AND RESTORATION - The Secretary, in consultation with
State wildlife officials and through the use of a public
participation process, shall promote the reestablishment or
protection of as many animal and plant species native to the
designated Ecosystem Protection Areas as practical.
SEC. 4. LAND ACQUISITION.
(a) LAND ACQUISITION AUTHORITY - The Secretary shall strive to acquire
all private lands, all mineral rights not owned by the United States,
and all other interests in lands not owned by the United States, on
willing-seller/willing-buyer basis, located within any wilderness
area named in this Act and within the primitive areas delineated
pursuant to this Act.
(b) EFFECT OF ACQUISITION - For each acre of land acquired by the
Secretary under this section, a payment in lieu of taxes shall be
made to the county in which the property is located equal to $1.50
per acre per year, plus an increase every year based on the
percentage change in the Consumer Price Index. For these newly
acquired acres, no other payment shall be made to the county based
any other Federal law.
SEC. 5. PERMANENT PHASE OUT OF COMMERCIAL GRAZING.
(a) GRAZING PHASE OUT TIMETABLE - The Secretary shall provide for
elimination of commercial grazing on all allotments located wholly
partially in wilderness areas or primitive areas within the Ecosystem
Protection Areas. Within allotments located wholly within the core
wilderness areas, grazing shall be eliminated in 10 years. Within
allotments having more than 50 percent, but less than 100 percent,
their area in core wilderness areas, grazing shall be eliminated in
12 years. Within allotments having 50 percent or less of their area
in core wilderness areas, including those allotments located wholly
in a primitive area east of the 104th meridian, grazing shall be
eliminated in 14 years.
(b) PUBLIC NOTIFICATION - In the case of Ecosystem Protection Areas
located west of the 104th meridian, the Secretary shall notify every
allottee and allotment manager whose allotment is wholly or partially
within a core wilderness area that the allotment will become
grazing-free within the number of years provided in subsection (a).
The notification shall include the options available to the person
under this section. The names and areas of the allotments shall be
printed in the local newspapers. Each of these steps shall be
completed within one year after the date of the enactment of this
(c) ASSISTANCE- In designated Ecosystem Protection Areas, the Secretary--
(1) shall make an economic transition payment to an allotee when
grazing is phased out;
(2) shall make an additional early-out payment to a willing allotee
for the early permanent retirement of the remaining years of grazing
privileges before the applicable date specified in subsection (a);
(3) shall purchase the base property, if so requested by the owner,
of any such allotment from a willing seller, if it is located within
the boundaries of a unit of the National Forest System;
(4) shall make funds available to the Bureau of Land Management as
economic transition payment for the permanent phase out of grazing
any Bureau of Land Management winter allotment affected by a summer
allotment impacted by this Act, if so requested by the allotee;
(5) may grant a one year extension for extenuating circumstances
the number of years indicated in subsection (a) for the allotment
become grazing free, if the allotee applies for the extension from
one year to 6 months before the date otherwise applicable under
(6) may allocate any agency funds for these purposes; and
(7) may attempt to acquire any property authorized for purchase by
this Act, including the above described base properties and any
mineral rights, and to retire the grazing privileges early, in
cooperation with land trusts or other private parties dedicated to
the preservation of open space.
(d) GRAZING PHASE OUT ON WINTER ALLOTMENTS - The Bureau of Land
Management shall permanently phase out grazing on any winter
allotment covered by subsection (c)(4).
(e) RELATION TO OTHER LAWS - Nothing in this Act shall be construed
affect the Government's authority to otherwise modify or terminate
(f) NO PROPERTY RIGHT CREATED - Payments distributed according to
section shall not create a property right in grazing permit holders.
(g) TREATMENT OF GRAZING REVENUES - For each grazing allotment
affected by this section, the average annual revenues from grazing
shall be computed for the three full fiscal years before the date
the enactment of this Act. The number so computed shall be utilized
for every year hereafter as a component for any Federal program that
provides for payments in lieu of taxes to units of local government,
based on revenues received by the Secretary, irrespective of the
absence of revenues from that allotment once grazing is phased out.
SEC. 6. FOREST PLAN REVISION ASSESSMENTS.
(a) ASSESSMENTS REQUIRED - In any Ecosystem Protection Area located
east of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States, the Secretary
shall include the following assessments as part of the first round
Forest Service land and resource management plan revisions for each
of these areas made after the date of the enactment of this Act:
(1) An assessment of expanding the designated wilderness area or
creating new wilderness areas in all the primitive areas created by
(2) An assessment of the ecological benefit to be derived from
closing any unimproved roads bisecting any such areas within
encircling improved roads and from closing any improved roads cherry
stemmed into those areas.
(3) An assessment of the appropriate management practices most likely
to improve habitat for key species in any of the above described
areas, if those areas are not to be proposed to Congress as new
(b) PUBLIC - Each assessment required by this section
shall utilize all the procedures designed to provide public input
into the Forest Service planning process.
SEC. 7. ORIGINAL ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS.
(a) IN GENERAL - The original Ecosystem Protection Areas include
or more of the largest existing Forest Service wilderness areas in
the following States, including any adjacent wilderness areas or
wilderness areas separated by no more than a road corridor, and
surrounding primitive areas delineated as provided in section 8 or
(b) DESIGNATION - The Ecosystem Protection Areas, and the wilderness
area forming the their core, are as follows:
(A) Misty Fiords.
(B) Blue Range (also in New Mexico), including the Blue Range Primitive
(A) Hurricane Creek.
(B) Upper Kiamichi (also in Oklahoma).
(A) High Sierra, including John Muir, Ansel Adams, Golden Trout,
Monarch, Dinkey Lakes, South Sierra, Dome Land, Hoover and Emigrant.
(B) Trinity Alps.
(B) West Elk.
(C) South San Juan.
(A) Big Gum Swamp.
(B) Bradwell Bay.
(A) Cohutta (also in Tennessee).
(B) Southern Nantahala (also in North Carolina).
(A) Central Idaho Massif, including Frank Church-River of No Return,
Selway-Bitterroot (also in Montana), and Gospel Hump.
(B) Hells Canyon (also in Oregon).
(A) Charles C. Deam.
(A) Caribou-Speckled Mountain.
(A) Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
(A) Montana Rockies, including Bob Marshal, Great Bear, and Scapegoat.
(B) Central Idaho Massif, including Selway-Bitterroot (also in Idaho).
(C) Yellowstone, including Lee Metcalf and Absaroka-Beartooth (also
(A) Arc Dome.
(18) New Hampshire:
(B) Presidential Range-Dry River.
(C) Sandwich Range.
(19) New Mexico:
(A) Gila including Gila and Aldo Leopold.
(B) Blue Range (also in Arizona).
(20) North Carolina:
(A) Citico Creek (also in Tennessee), including Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock.
(B) Southern Nantahala (also in Georgia).
(A) Upper Kiamichi (also in Arkansas).
(A) Hells Canyon, including Hells Canyon (also in Idaho) and Eagle
(A) Hickory Creek.
(24) South Dakota:
(A) Black Elk.
(A) Cohutta including Big Frog (also in Georgia).
(B) Citico Creek including Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock (also in North
(A) Upland Island.
(B) Indian Mounds.
(A) High Uintas.
(B) Lyle Brook.
(A) Mountain Lake (also in West Virginia).
(A) North Cascades including Glacier Peak, Pasayten, Lake
Chelan-Sawtooth, Mt. Baker, and Noisy Diobsud.
(31) West Virginia:
(B) Mountain Lake (also in Virginia).
(A) Yellowstone including Washakie, Teton, North Absaroka, Winegar
Hole, Jeddiah Smith, Absaroka-Beartooth (also in Montana) and Lee
Metcalf (wholly in Montana).
(B) Wind River including Bridger, Fitzpatrick and Popo Agie.
SEC. 8. DELINEATION OF PRIMITIVE AREAS ON EASTERN NATIONAL FOREST
(a) DELINEATION REQUIRED; TIMETABLE - In the case of units of the
National Forest System located east of the 104th meridian in the
contiguous 48 States, the Secretary shall delineate primitive areas
around core wilderness areas as soon as practicable, but in no case
more than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act,
an amendment to the applicable land and resource management plan.
(b) CONTENT - The primitive areas delineated under this section shall
include all areas from the wilderness boundary out to the nearest
improved roads on all sides of the wilderness area and enough
additional acreage to result in an Ecosystem Protection Area that
at least 50,000 acres and twice as large as the core wilderness area.
In all cases, the primitive area shall be as compact as possible and
designed to include as many natural communities as possible,
including mountains, valleys, and other natural areas.
(c) SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS - In delineating the primitive areas,
Secretary shall exclude as many residential areas as possible. Along
national or State designated trails, such as the Appalachian Trail,
or natural biological corridors, the Secretary shall extend the
primitive areas further in each direction from the core wilderness
(d) ROADS - The Secretary shall begin closing unmapped roads,
temporary roads, and unimproved cherry-stemmed roads in a primitive
area as soon as practicable after the primitive area has been
delineated, unless such roads provide access to private property.
(e) GRAZING - Any commercial grazing permitted, as of the date of
enactment of this Act, in the primitive areas delineated under this
section shall be phased out as provided in section 5.
SEC. 9. DELINEATION OF PRIMITIVE AREAS ON WESTERN NATIONAL FOREST
In the case of an Ecosystem Protection Areas located west of the
104th meridian, the Secretary shall identify every grazing allotment
that is partially within a core wilderness area, and the portions
those allotments located outside of the core wilderness area shall
the primitive areas for that Ecosystem Protection Area.
SEC. 10. COMPATIBLE MANAGEMENT OF ADJACENT DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Federal lands administered by the Secretary of the Interior that
adjacent to the Ecosystem Protection Areas shall be managed in a
manner compatible with the management of the Ecosystem Protection
SEC. 11. DEVELOPMENT OF STATE ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS.
The Secretary shall provide technical and financial assistance to
enable States to acquire an Ecosystem Protection Area on State-owned
lands of a similar character and size to the Ecosystem Protection
Areas designated by this Act. Such State Ecosystem Protection Areas
shall be based on one of the largest State-owned Natural Areas,
Wilderness Areas, State Parks, State Forests, State Watershed
Management Areas, or State Wildlife Management Areas in any State
without a National Forest or Grassland of 50,000 or more acres.
SEC. 12. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.
(a) INFORMATION ON ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS - As part of the annual
report to Congress prepared by the Secretary on the status of the
National Wilderness Preservation System, the Secretary shall include
appropriate information concerning the Ecosystem Protection Areas
the administration of this Act.
(b) SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR FIFTH REPORT - The annual report
described in subsection (a) to be submitted to Congress in the fifth
year after the date of the enactment of this Act shall contain the
(1) An assessment and evaluation of all steps taken during the four
preceding years pursuant to this Act.
(2) Recommendations regarding the designation of additional or the
expansion of existing Ecosystem Management Areas.
(3) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the procedures for creating
grazing free areas and the environmental advantages created in those
(4) Recommendations regarding whether the procedures evaluated under
paragraph (3) should be extended to all Forest Service wilderness
SEC. 13. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) LAND ACQUISITION IN EASTERN UNITED STATES - There is authorized
be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004
through 2017 $100,000,000 for the purchase of private lands and other
lands not owned by the United States located in primitive areas
delineated east of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States.
Pending the delineation of primitive areas under section 8, the
Secretary shall purchase lands in areas that the Secretary
anticipates including in the Ecosystem Protection Areas.
(b) LAND ACQUISITION IN WESTERN WILDERNESS AREAS - There is authorized
to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004
through 2017 $5,000,000 for the purchase of private lands and other
lands not owned by the United States in the Wilderness Areas located
west of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States.
(c) ELIMINATION OF GRAZING - There is authorized to be appropriated
the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2017
$1,000,000 for the purpose of carrying out section 5, including
providing economic transition payments, early-out payments, and
qualifying base property purchase payments and covering Forest
Service expenses in finding an allotee a new allotment, when
requested by the allotee.
(d) SUPPORT FOR STATES WITHOUT ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS - There
authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal
years 2004 through 2017 $33,000,000 to assist States in the purchase
of private lands in a State.