May 5, 2001 |
In two far-reaching actions, the Bush administration has thrown open the fate of the national forests, reigniting the battle over 58.5 million acres of backwoods and whether they will remain roadless or be available to logging companies, snowmobilers and energy and mineral extractors. At stake is as much as one-third of the nation's federally owned forests. Large swaths of the land are in the West, with the biggest chunks in Idaho and Montana. On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Ann M.