Phillips: Groups work together to protect 9 million acres

Did Idaho’s short term governor Jim Risch produce a compromise that finally protected most of Idaho’s 9-million acres of roadless area?  Roger Phillips of the Idaho Statesman thinks so.

Phillips: Groups work together to protect 9 million acres. Idaho Statesman. By Roger Phillips

– – – – –

Some earlier stories in this forum on the Idaho roadless rule.

8-30-2008 Truce Is Reached in Battle Over Idaho Forest Land
1-15-2008. Idaho roadless plan is good but it needs tweaking, Risch says
12-26-2006. USDA accepts Idaho’s roadless area plan
9-20-2006. Officials close to final Idaho roadless plan

NOTE: Jim Risch became Idaho’s governor for about a year, when Bush tapped Idaho’s governor Kempthorne to be the Secretary of Interior. Risch had been Lt. Governor when the governor’s office became vacant.

Risch is once again the Lt. Governor, but is running for the U.S. senate seat of retiring Larry Craig against Democrat Larry LaRocco. The governor is Butch Otter. IMO, Risch was a lot better governor than Otter.



, , ,



  1. Jon Way Avatar

    Great news for conservation, but yet once again the only users mentioned are hunters/consumptive users and nothing about the vast majority of the citizens, the wildlife watchers…

  2. MP Avatar

    Thank you to all the people who commented on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the Idaho Roadless Rule. Many of us objected to the roadless areas of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest being singled for the least restrictive general forest category. The Caribou-Targhee National Forest had the most acres put in the general forest category. 400,000 acres of the 600,000 acres that were put in the general forest category in the Draft EIS were on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

    In the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Idaho Roadless Rule, the amount of roadless acres on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest put in the least restrictive-general forest category has been cut in half to 200,000 acres.
    Several of the outstanding highly rated roadless areas on the Caribou-Targhee NF that were put in the general forest category have been moved into the more restrictive backcountry restoration category in the Final EIS for the Idaho Roadless Rule.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I know you have a great affection for the Caribou City, Bear Creek, and Stump Peak roadless areas. It looks like they are going to be safer now.

    I was in Caribou City the other day, as you might have noticed by the photos I posted at

    Sheep have devastated the place this year. Now we have to address excessive sheep grazing.

  4. MP Avatar

    Ralph ,
    You are so right about sheep grazing. The sheep are herded down to the creeks to water them. The watershed, the highly erodible stream banks, the riparian vegetation, and the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout fisheries of these roadless areas are being severely impacted by sheep grazing.
    These 3 roadless areas on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest are in the Caribou Range of Mountains, and are composed of highly erodlible soils. These soils are red colored. There is no mistaking where you are, when you are in the highly erodlible red colored soils of the Caribou Range of southeastern Idaho.

  5. MP Avatar

    The Bear Creek and Poker Peak Roadless Areas on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest are also in the
    Caribou Range of Mountains.
    These two roadless areas are also composed of highly erodible red colored soils.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Last Tuesday I climbed the ridge just west of Bear Creek (the Bear Creek off the Tincup Highway).

    I was amazed at the number of cracks in the slope. They are stable now, but come prolonged wetness, and maybe one of those earthquakes relatively common near Freedom, ID-WY area, part of the mountain will come down.

  7. MP Avatar

    Yes, the Tincup Canyon Front, above the Idaho Highway 34 corridor is composed of highly erodible red soils.
    Excessive sheep grazing is removing the vegetative cover on the land, resulting in cracks-land slumps-landslides down into the main Tincup Creek-Idaho Hwy34 corridor. The Bear Creek drainage into the main stem Tincup Creek has been severely impacted for the last 30 years that I know of, by excessive sheep grazing.


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