CIEDRA is dead, fails to get attached to last minute congressional bill

Unlike protection for the Rocky Mountain Front and the dubious Nevada Lands Bill, the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, or CIEDRA, which would protect parts of Idaho’s White Cloud and Boulder Mountains as Wilderness, and make side payments to anti-wilderness interests, failed. It was not attached to “Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006” as so much else was.

Rocky Barker tells the story of the last minute efforts to move the legislation “Simpson work on wilderness all for naught.” Idaho Statesman.

The article says Idaho’s Representative Simpson might try to attach it to the fiscal year 2007 budget bill that the out-going Congress failed to pass, but Democrats just anounced they will not take up the Republican budget, which will be 5 months late in January. They will fund the government with a continuing resolution for the entire year.

The last time Congress passed a budget on time (Oct. 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year) was in 1994, when the Democratic Congress sent the budget bills to President Clinton before Oct. 1.

Simpson says he will reintroduce CIEDRA. Conservationists believe that the bill will have to be more public lands friendly if it is to pass a Democratic Congress.

Added Dec. 13. from the Idaho Mountain Express. “CIEDRA killed by 109th Congress. Legislation will be resurrected next month. By Steve Benson.




  1. Mike Avatar

    Really interesting news. Ralph, what was your official line on CIEDRA?

    Personally, I’m not set on how I feel about these “compromise” bills that sell off or open up other wild areas in exchange for permanent wilderness in others.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I supported CIEDRA until the grazing buyout was taken out to get the bill around Pombo. This was actually a side-payment to conservationists When it was taken out I was pretty much on the line between support and opposition..

    Apparently Representative Simpson put the grazing language back in for his attempt to get it through the Senate. Pombo had been defeated, and Simpson never liked the slimy jerk anyway.

    I expect that next year’s CIEDRA will have more side payments to conservationists in addition to the Wilderness. It will have to be better to pass. CIEDRA was the best of a lot of so-called “Wilderness bills” this Congress (except for the Oregon and California ones, about which I know little about. However, they failed).

    Wilderness is passive protection, but I think what we need is active restoration. Twenty years ago I thought a line around a roadless area, and changing the name of the roadless area to “wilderness,” was just great. And it did protect some wonderful areas that would have been subsidy-logged by now and overrun by off-road vehicles. However, Wilderness alone is not enough for me anymore.

  3. Arne Ryason Avatar

    In 37 years of visiting them I have developed the opinion that “Wilderness” designation means trails covered in horse manure and crowds of people. I like the Boulder – White clouds as they are. The Sawtooth Wilderness to the West is too popular. On a backpacking trip in the Frank Church last year I encountered a section of trail that was completely covered with horse poop for 20 feet or so. Does a detour around the smelly, disease filled stuff lead to braided trails? I prefer walking through bike tracks. Boulder – White Cloud trails are cleaner than “Wilderness” trails.

    I like encountering the occasional motorcycle (4 stroke, please) on the lower trails of the SNRA. They keep the horse poop and crowds away. I also like riding a bicycle there. On a bicycle I stay on trails and use fewer campsites. Hiking boots are the ultimate “all terrain vehicles.”

    A new “designation” is needed to forever protect lands without excluding or favoring certain forms of transportation, as long as everyone stays on the trails. An alliance of these seemingly different groups would lead to more support for protecting lands. A motorcycle trail is preferable to a strip mine. The “all or nothing” attitude of Wilderness advocates does not help protect land. It leads to compromises like CIEDRA which are doomed to failure.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan