Massive Wilderness Bill Inches Forward—13 Years Later

This is a report in New West on NREPA, which is getting its first ever hearing in Congress.

Opponents have always argued that the grand Northern Rockies Ecosystem Projection Act isn’t’ politically feasible, but bills that are commonly hailed as “feasible” have not been enacted either. There are a few exceptions in greener places like California, or where very unpleasant trade-offs were made like White Pine County, Nevada. There also some places where that nasty slug Richard Pombo (now oozing his way around D.C. as a lobbyist) held up bills despite support by the state’s congressional delegation (Oregon and Washington).






  1. be Avatar

    it’s unfortunate what happens when ‘feasibility’ as formulated by adversarial interests becomes the standard necessary to overcome in order to even try to pass bills that support wildlife for real. what if that idea were bunk ? it’s good to see this bill gaining mobility.

  2. Mike Avatar

    If you want to get this bill in, first introduce a much, much bigger one that would turn all roadless areas in the U.S into wilderness. If that fails, offer up this one as a “compromise”.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The thing about NREPA is that it already is massive, even including “wilderness restoration areas.”

    Info page on NREPA

  4. Edd Avatar

    Why is it that a group of people in the East can so clearly articulate the obvious merits of such necessary legislation, and that so many of those who actually live in the areas of concern are unable to recognize the importance of that legislation?

  5. Mack P. Bray Avatar
    Mack P. Bray

    Edd, I offer this as a partial explanation to the question you posed above:

    “A cowboy hat is the only headgear I know that changes the neurons inside your head”

    ~ Patricia Nelson Limerick, head of the University of Colorado’s Center of the American West.

  6. Alan Sachanowski Avatar

    …..”you don’t know what you’ve got, ’till it’s gone…..They paved paradise and put up a parking lot……”

  7. Mike Avatar

    “A cowboy hat is the only headgear I know that changes the neurons inside your head”



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.

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Ralph Maughan