To release wilderness study areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management that are not suitable for wilderness designation from continued management as defacto wilderness areas and to... Read More


This bill was introduced on Apr 15, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Date Introduced
Apr 15, 2011

Bill Text


To release wilderness study areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management that are not suitable for wilderness designation from continued management as de facto wilderness areas and to release inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System that are not recommended for wilderness designation from the land use restrictions of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Final Rule and the 2005 State Petitions for Inventoried Roadless Area Management Final Rule, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ``Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011''.


(a) Release.--Congress finds and directs that the public lands described in subsection (b) have been adequately studied for wilderness designation pursuant to section 603 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1782) and are no longer subject to the requirement of subsection (c) of such section pertaining to the management of wilderness study areas in a manner that does not impair the suitability of such areas for preservation as wilderness. (b) Covered Public Lands.--Subsection (a) applies to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) that-- (1) have not been designated as wilderness by an Act...

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Sentiment Map



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State: CA

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District: 1st

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Popularity Trend

Organizations Supporting

This legislation would release all Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) and Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) that have been recommended or evaluated as not suitable for wilderness by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the U.S. Forest Service from restrictive management practices and direct that they be managed for multiple use, including recreation. As is stands, the BLM currently manages nearly 7 million acres of WSAs as de facto wilderness despite the fact the BLM itself has already determined these areas as not suitable for wilderness designation by Congress. The situation with the Forest Service is even worse, as access is restricted to over 36 million acres of IRAs that have been deemed unsuitable for ultimate designation as wilderness. Current law and regulation dictates that these lands must be managed to protect wilderness characteristics. H.R. 1581 would release these areas from restrictive management and require the agencies to ensure increased access.


Organizations Opposing

The Wilderness Society today condemned the introduction of a bill by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that would roll back existing protections and place at risk tens of millions more acres of wilderness-quality but unprotected National Forest and BLM public lands. "This is the biggest attack on wilderness we have seen in the history of The Wilderness Society," Wilderness Society policy analyst Paul Spitler said of the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act. "This proposal flies in the face of values Americans hold dear with respect to stewardship of our public lands. It also flies in the face of nearly fifty years of legislation designating new wilderness areas. Your favorite places where you love to hunt, fish or hike? Gone. Protection for our drinking water and habitat for wildlife? Gone". If passed, this legislation would open wilderness-caliber lands to destructive threats, including oil and gas development, uncontrolled off-road vehicle use and other unchecked development. It would essentially prohibit the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management from managing pristine lands to protect their wilderness values. "That this proposal comes from the Republican leadership in Congress makes it more alarming," Spitler said. "An attack of this magnitude does not represent the vision of Theodore Roosevelt or all the other great Republican leaders who love our public lands."


This bill, introduced by Sen. Barrasso and Rep. McCarthy, aims to reverse the longstanding designation of as much as 60 million acres of pristine wildlife habitat, opening these areas to development. The areas include a substantial portion of the Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) on our National Forests and the Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) throughout our public lands. Bill proponents suggest land management agencies are protecting lands without authority. However, the agencies responsible are not just authorized, but required, to manage these lands for multiple uses, including wildlife habitat, wilderness, recreation and ecosystem services (like clean water). Contrary to popular belief, areas of pristine wilderness are unique even on our public lands – and this bill would strip the agencies of the authority they currently have to protect these special places.

Defenders of Wildlife 3 years ago

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Bill Summary

H.R. 1580 Medicare Beneficiary Preservation of Choice Act of 2011 H.R. 1582 Commonsense Ozone Regulation Act