Will 2010 finally be the year Idaho’s Boulder and White Cloud Mountains get Wilderness protection?

Although Representative Simpson (R-Idaho) has not introduced his CIERDA bill this year in the House, Idaho’s two U.S. Senators yesterday introduced it in the Senate. If it moves, it will probably get attached to omnibus or other legislative and sort of by-pass the House.

This year’s version, which I have not reviewed, strips out some controversial public land giveaways at Stanley, Idaho.

Unlike Senator Tester’s Wilderness bill in Montana, the Idaho bill provides a mechanism and incentives for the voluntary retirements of grazing allotments.

Story: Rep. Simpson’s Boulder-White Cloud bill is introduced in the US Senate. By John Miller. AP

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

12 Responses to Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness bill is finally introduced in US Senate

  1. avatar Jay says:

    I read the previous version of this bill that gave away something along the lines of 5000 acres of our public land to local municipalities, which makes this bill completely unacceptable. Has anybody read the revised bill to see if these giveaways are still in there?

  2. Jay,

    I think, but I am not sure, that the public land transfers have been reduced to very minor conveyances, such as some land for a Challis shooting range.

    • avatar jon says:

      Are you back yet Ralph? How has your vacation been?

    • Jay,

      Yes, we got back from the Mojave on April 26.

    • avatar Jay says:

      I suppose I could live with that (a few acres for a shooting range), but with the motorized access and various other things in this bill, I just don’t see that if affords any more protection than already exists. It’ll be wilderness in name only, so I’m not all that excited about it.

    • avatar mikarooni says:

      Jay said, “with the motorized access and various other things in this bill, I just don’t see that if affords any more protection than already exists. It’ll be wilderness in name only…” …and that is exactly my concern. We had eight years to move on this initiative and on others like the Tester bill; but, suddenly now, with Obama in the WH and Vilsack hanging on to the roadless areas, we have all this new action on bills that may actually be Trojan Horses, setting precedents that erode the roadless protections. I try to put myself in the minds (figuratively speaking) of the other side and ask myself, if I were facing a possible full revival of the roadless rule, what nefarious strategy would i use to derail things. My answer would be to try to quickly ram into place a bunch of piecemeal “greenwash” that would make to uninformed think that things had been resolved, protections had been put into place, and further protections were just the “enviros” wanting everything. The truth is that “progress” that erodes the roadless rule or the Wilderness Act is no progress at all; it’s just a smokescreen hiding a Trojan Horse. We should not fall for this kind of stuff regardless of how many local protagonists may want to enshrine themselves with a win in their neighborhood.

  3. avatar Craig says:

    You would think the Boulder White Clouds Council would update there site more than once every two years, especially on something like this!

  4. Unlike the Tester Bill, CIEDRA provides for the removal of livestock from the new Wilderness area, and from an area outside the Wilderness too, and this area outside is not a small area.

    Apparently some key areas left out of earlier versions have now been added.

    This is not a Salazar/Obama initiative. It is an Idaho Republican one. I tend to be quite favorable on the basis of what I know now (still learning about it).

  5. avatar Edward says:

    Why the interest in limiting motorized access? The Sawtooths are already protected and that is great. What I think is forgotten many times is the access for elderly folks who can’t get to some places w/out assistance. Do they not deserve access also? With the institution of protection areas “everywhere”, the locations are locked up for either the young or athletes. Is that fair?

  6. Edward,

    I don’t buy your argument at all. Use of ATVs, etc. is more of a generational thing than an age thing. You don’t need to be an athlete to walk.

    When I was in my 20s and 30s, people would say “oh, you are so young and strong! I’m 35 and “over the hill.” Now I am in my 60s, and almost everyone who passes me on a vehicle while I am walking on a trail is younger . . . very often under the age of 18!

    My experience is that if you compare hikers and backpacker’s average age to those on off-road vehicles in the same general area, you will find those on vehicles to be younger, and potentially, at least, more mobile afoot.

    • avatar Edward says:

      Ralph

      Your disagreement is based on “first hand” observations of youthful drivers and I respect that. My position is based on the miles of trails and the distance required to reach specific destinations. You have to admit that many of the these places require a significant investment of time and personal stamina to achieve absent of motorized access. This is the basis of my point. Motorcycles are not a new invention and the area is pretty pristine. So why is it that we need additional “protection” again?

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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