New England Wilderness Act of 2006
On December 1, 2006, the New England Wilderness Act of 2006 was signed into law, creating over 80,000 acres of federally designated wilderness in the Green and White Mountain National Forests in New Hampshire and Vermont. The Act marked a significant victory for CLF, a leading member in the coalition that pushed for the Act’s passage, in its continuing efforts to protect New England’s environment.
1999 marked an important milestone in CLF’s work in the Green and White Mountain National Forests when it teamed up with the Appalachian Mountain Club and The Wilderness Society to release the “Mountain Treasures” report, which called for greater protection of roadless areas in the White Mountain National Forest. Afterwards, CLF continued to push for greater protection of both the Green and White Mountain National Forests through targeted logging and road building prohibitions.
These efforts culminated with the proposed Vermont Wilderness Act and New Hampshire Wilderness Act in 2006. CLF joined a coalition of other advocates to support the Acts, channeling public support into a combined bill that was sent to Congress and passed later that year. The newly-named New England Wilderness Act established about 34,500 acres of wilderness in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest and 42,000 in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest, and designated over 15,000 acres of Vermont land as the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area.
Designating federal public lands as wilderness, which only Congress can do, granted the highest level of protection possible to these lands, preventing the construction of permanent roads and buildings and the use of motorized equipment. Stopping these high-impact activities not only increases the opportunity to enjoy these areas in less damaging ways but also gives their forests time to regenerate old growth and provide safe shelter to wildlife.
Wilderness designation preserves the pristine beauty of New England’s natural habitats, a goal CLF is committed to pursuing for generations to come.