Protecting Remoteness

The road network of the U.S. already exceeds 3.9 million miles in aggregate length. Roads fill the national landscape so fully that, except in Alaska, one can get no farther from a road than 21 miles on the mainland (Wyoming) and 25 miles on an island (Florida).  Many of the eastern states contain so many roads that it is no longer possible to get more than 5 miles from a road.  This trend is unacceptable to Remote Footprints.

Whereas America has some of the most impressive and powerful wilderness protection policies in the world (i.e. the Wilderness Act of 1964, National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges etc.), all too often, conservation lands continue to be fragmented by roadbuilding and infrastructure emplacement.  Remoteness of the American landscape is continually and gradually diminishing, despite all of our national conservation policies.

Very frequently, the roar of nearby roads can be heard from within designated wilderness areas.  Light pollution from nearby cities can be observed almost anywhere at night.  Human trash also can be found in remote areas.  Opportunities for getting completely away from civilization for mental well-being (humans) and survival (wildlife) are significantly decreased in our generation.

How remote do you feel when you look down and see a discarded beer or water bottle while on a wilderness hike?  Or when you hear roaring motors at night while camping?  Or when you hike among clear cuts or planted tree farms?  Roads are the vector for development and resource extraction.

Remote Footprints believes that it is ill-advised and unnecessary to build any new roads on public lands including: state parks and forests, national parks and forests, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Land Management lands.  If a road must be built, then we believe that another road of equal mileage  and magnitude should be removed and restored to native habitat. In other words:  no net increase of road mileage within public lands.

We also encourage private landowners to consider this vision for their lands.  After all, the majority of our country is in private ownership.  The decisions made by private citizens ultimately will decide, more than anything, whether our great nation will preserve it’s remote and roadless areas.

Through Project Remote, we are working to raise national awareness and discourse about the extensive U.S. roads system, and its myriad effects on wilderness quality and the natural environment.

While conducting Project Remote, we are keeping the exact coordinates of state Remote Spots a guarded secret for now.  It is not our intention to create a mass exodus of people and potential entrepreneurs and development into the Remote Spots.  We are working to preserve remoteness.  This, however, is a conundrum for us, because we also want to inspire people to experience remoteness at the same time.  We will work closely with land managers and land owners to ensure a balance is met.

We believe that the conservation of remoteness involves creating policies that do not place more roads and human infrastructures on remaining roadless areas while simultaneously allowing access by people who use their own body power (i.e. paddling, hiking, mountain biking) to experience these places.   Remote Footprints encourages people to walk, paddle, or ride more while driving less–and get oudoors more, of course!

We intend to produce a book upon completion of Project Remote in the United States that will chronicle our Remote Spot expeditions as well as discuss the importance of preserving remoteness of the natural landscape.  At this time we may publish exact Remote Spot coordinates as part of our effort to document American remoteness as it exists in the early 21st century.  Remote Spot documentation will provide baseline information so that future remoteness conservation efforts can be precisely measured.