- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 2, 2003


The White House is about to open up pristine areas for roads, much to the dismay of some environmentalists. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, many are up in arms at the way a Civil War-era law is being implemented that will likely mean more vehicles in the interior of the country's wilderness lands.

What the new directive would mean is that hundreds of miles of long-abandoned mining and logging roads would be recognized as "authorized rights of way." That means they could be paved to allow access for modern-day people with trucks, many hauling snowmobile equipment and other off-road vehicles.

Environmentalists say that the implementation of the law would mean that the last quiet, untouched spots in the country — until now only accessible by hikers or canoe-riding adventurers — would suddenly become the domain of a new generation of "motorized" hikers.

On the other side of the coin, pro-snowmobiling and pro-ATV groups are hailing the announcement.

The original law was implemented to make it easier for pioneers to go west, allowing old trails to be used and protected. When trails and even American Indian "rights of way" were put on maps, wagon trails could be better managed and watched by the Army.

Some of the areas that would be opened up include the Grand Canyon and Cascades National Park. The rule effectively reverses protective measures taken during the Clinton years.



One of the most lonely stretches of roadway in the country — Alligator Alley in south Florida — has claimed another victim. The Florida Highway Patrol tells the Miami Herald that a rollover crash in broad daylight on Tuesday took the life of a young child and sent five adults and children to area hospitals.

The publication says that the family's red Isuzu Rodeo blew a tire — a Firestone T Wilderness tire.

The vehicle then nosed under and went into an end-over-end flipping spin. All of the occupants were thrown from the vehicle.

During the medical rescue operation, traffic was shut down in both directions on the highway. The accident happened near Mile Marker 36 in the heart of the Everglades.

The roadway is considered to be one of the most isolated in the country. It makes a "bee line" from the Miami area to Naples on the Gulf Coast of Florida and is technically part of the Interstate highway system.



Students at the University of West Virginia are hopping mad at the way a rival school has depicted them … as bumpkins. During the Continental Tire Bowl, a band from the University of Virginia had a student dress in bib overalls, without shoes, in a parody of students from the opposing school.

Tempers flared. E-mail and phone calls between the schools reached the saturation point.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says even the governor of the Mountain State got involved. Bob Wise stepped in, firing off a letter to the head of the Virginia school, calling the portrayal "classless."

The University of Virginia has now officially apologized.

Not only did some 75,000 fans watch the event at Ericsson Stadium, but to add insult to injury, Virginia won the game, 48-22.

The debate continues. Was it an innocent prank or was the entire population of a state stereotyped?



Popular coach Bill Parcells is reportedly heading back to the NFL. The two-time Super Bowl-winning coach (once at New England and once at New York) has told his bosses at ESPN that he is leaving the announcers booth … heading back to the Cowboys' locker room.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been abuzz since word started leaking out about the possible return of Parcells to the area.

He has apparently signed a multi-year deal that would pay more than $17 million over four years.

Although not the most successful coach during regular season play, only three other head men in the NFL have better post-season records: Tom Landry, Don Shula and Chuck Noll.

When the official announcement is made, Parcells will become the sixth coach in the history of the Dallas franchise.

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