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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: wilderness

Possible national monument designations in Idaho resurface

When he was secretary of the Interior under then-President George W. Bush, former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne worked on plans to declare two new national monuments in Idaho - the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains in central Idaho and Mesa Falls in eastern Idaho, reports the Idaho Statesman's Rocky Barker, and looked at others as well. Now there's new interest possible monument designations in Idaho, Barker reports, though Congressman Mike Simpson, who long has worked on wilderness legislation for the Boulder-White Clouds, prefers his bill to a presidential designation. Click below for a full report from Barker and the AP.

Custer County road dispute ends in settlement

The U.S. Department of Justice and the BLM have reached a settlement with Custer County over a remote mountain road that county officials had threatened to use a front-end loader to reopen, the AP reports. The BLM had closed the road in 1999; the dispute escalated this past spring when county Commission Chairman Wayne Butts threatened to haul away a regional BLM official in “pretty pink handcuffs” if he dared to show up to stop the county's road-reopening efforts; Herd Creek Road is in the Jerry Peak Wilderness Study Area, where no motor vehicles are permitted. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller and the Idaho Falls Post Register; in it, U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson praises all sides for reaching the settlement.

Obama backs away from ‘wild lands’ plan

The Obama administration is backing away from a plan to make millions of acres of undeveloped land in the West eligible for federal wilderness protection, the Associated Press reports. In a memo today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his agency will not designate any of those public lands as “wild lands,” and instead will work with members of Congress to develop management proposals for the land. Congress had been pressuring the administration not to move forward with the “wild lands” proposal; click below for a full report from AP reporter Matthew Daly in Washington, D.C.

Governor’s statement to Congress about floating green way off on numbers

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter testified to Congress this week that more people play the floating green hole at the Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course in a day than visit the state's largest wilderness area in a year, while arguing against more wilderness, but Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker reports today that the governor's statement was way off. “There are more people in one day, probably, that play golf on the floating green in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, than visit the Frank Church-River of No Return (Wilderness) in a year,” Otter told U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. “And that’s just a par 3.”

Barker checked the numbers, and found that the golf course can handle up to 280 golfers a day; the 2.3 million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness attracted more than 33,000 visitors in 2010, just counting river floaters, hunters and anglers  alone. You can read Barker's full report here.

New wilderness filming rules generate debate

The Forest Service has issued new temporary guidelines on filming in wilderness areas under its jurisdiction, but they’re kicking off even more controversy in a debate that began when Idaho Public TV was first refused permission to film a student conservation project in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, then granted permission after Gov. Butch Otter and Congressman Mike Simpson complained. Click below to read a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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