N. Idaho county presses caribou habitat challenge

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28, 2011, 9:08 A.M.

SANDPOINT — Commissioners for northern Idaho’s Bonner County hope lawmakers and other local government officials will join them in challenging a plan to protect habitat for about 50 remaining woodland caribou in the region.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating more than 375,500 acres in the Selkirk Mountains as critical habitat for the endangered caribou. Most of the federal land is in Idaho’s Bonner and Boundary counties and nearby Washington state’s Pend Oreille County.

Commissioners in Bonner County have predicted the plan will result in new restrictions on logging, snowmobiling and forest access.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports commissioners are working to form a coalition with other counties impacted by the proposal, while also insisting the Fish and Wildlife Service coordinate with them on the habitat designation.

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