Sierra Club supports the following actions to protect and restore Lewis and Clark’s wilderness legacy:
Permanently protect our undeveloped wildlands by passing a Lewis and Clark Wildlands Protection Act to designate areas in National Forest, National Grassland and Bureau of Land Management public lands as wilderness, national monuments and national recreation and conservation areas.
Pass legislation such as the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, which would protect more than 20 million acres of roadless land, preserve our free-flowing rivers and provide jobs restoring damaged areas.
Implement a permanent ban on new roadbuilding in all remaining roadless areas to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat and opportunities to hike, hunt, fish and camp on public lands.
Reduce the vast network of roads on our federal public lands to restore larger blocks of habitat and essential migration corridors for wildlife, and to protect water quality and fisheries.
Reduce polluted runoff to improve water quality and provide natural water flows to restore healthy ecosystems and native species. For example, allowing seasonally natural flows on the Missouri River will help ensure the survival of the endangered interior least tern, the threatened piping plover and the endangered pallid sturgeon.
Keep the grizzly bear on the Endangered Species List until adequate habitat has been protected to allow the great bear to recover. Because the grizzly is an indicator species, when we protect its habitat, we protect hundreds of other native plants and animals as well.
Keep off-road vehicles out of sensitive areas. The growing use of loud, destructive dirt bikes and snowmobiles in wild country harms habitat for sensitive wildlife and ruins opportunities for solitude and family recreation.
Ban oil and gas drilling in sensitive areas to protect grizzly bear
and other wildlife habitat in the Yellowstone and northern Continental Divide ecosystems.
Increase federal Land and Water Conservation Fund monies to buy private lands that provide critical wildlife habitat.
Acquire conservation and public-access easements to protect the Missouri River and its floodplain from sprawling development and to provide for family recreation.
Establish buffalo and prairie dog reserves as part of the National Grasslands. This will also provide essential habitat for prairie chickens, sage grouse and the remaining rare herds of wild prairie elk.
Protect wild salmon by removing the earthen sections of the four Lower Snake River dams in order to restore 140 miles of free-flowing river and endangered salmon and steelhead runs. Support the Salmon Planning Act to study the removal of these dams and improve local economies.
Work at the state level to protect forests, rivers and wildlife on state-owned lands.
Two hundred years ago, Lewis and Clark explored a country alien to Americans on the East Coast. Nothing they knew prepared them for the "boundless" prairie, the "most terrible" Bitterroot Mountains or the "agitated gut Swelling waters" of the Columbia River. In sheer scale and ferocity, the West was a wilderness unprecedented. Today, Lewis and Clark would not recognize most of the terrain they traveled through. And what has remained wild is now under assault.
Logging has created mudslides next to Washington's Dark Divide Roadless Area, driven elk from the Black Hills in South Dakota and threatened Lemhi Pass in Idaho. Oil and gas drilling is destroying grizzly bear habitat in the Greater Yellowstone region, dams are devastating the salmon populations of the Columbia River Basin and off-road vehicles are tearing up wild country in Montana’s Pryor Mountains. The American people and our government need to beat back these threats. Help the Sierra Club protect the lands explored by Lewis and Clark.
The Lewis and Clark expedition fires America’s imagination today just as it did 200 years ago. For more than two years, Lewis, Clark and their "Corps of Discovery" traveled 8,000 miles, mapped forests, prairies, and rivers, and discovered 300 species new to science. The story still draws us, says historian Stephen Ambrose, "as a magnet draws in bits of metal." The reason? Americans are all explorers at heart. We are all engaged in our own journeys of discovery of our nation. And part of our journey, and our responsibility to our country and our children, is to protect the wilderness left in trust to us.
The Sierra Club believes there is no better way to commemorate the expedition, or the explorer in each of us, than to protect and restore the lands and rivers explored by Lewis and Clark: wild America. Find out how you can help. Visit our website at www.sierraclub.org/lewisandclark. The campaign to protect the lands explored by Lewis and Clark is supported and implemented by the more than 700,000 Sierra Club members in 65 chapters and 400 groups across America. The Sierra Club, founded more than a century ago by John Muir, is the nation’s oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.