Mr. Vaagen, Mr. Dawson, Mr. Coleman and others remind us what’s possible when innovative minds have the courage to change direction, get down to business and solve problems on the Colville National Forest.
The Columbia Highlands proposal is unusual because it provides amply for ranchers, timber jobs, and – my favorite – new recreation opportunities for hikers, climbers, backcountry skiers, mountain bikers and ORV users alike.
As owner of a gear shop in downtown Spokane, I believe that some wilderness is good for the tourism economy in our region. True wilderness, along with icons of the American West like grizzly bear and lynx, is rare. It offers an outdoors experience and allure like no other, and needs formal designation to keep it wild.
New wilderness areas in the Kettles and Selkirks will give Spokane added panache as a base for recreation in the Inland Northwest. The national recreation areas mentioned will provide plenty of trails for all types of responsible users, where they’re most appropriate.
The pieces are all here; now let’s make it happen. Let’s move this region forward economically with its cultural and wilderness heritage intact, and have more fun outside while doing it.