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News >  Idaho

Forest Service seeks input on plans for new wilderness areas

Associated Press

KETCHUM, Idaho – The U.S. Forest Service is seeking comments from the public about its management plans for the newly created wilderness areas in central Idaho.

The Forest Service is planning public meetings later this summer to get input on the plans for the 106-square-mile Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness, 142-square-mile White Clouds Wilderness and the 183-square-mile Jim-McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness, according to the Idaho Mountain Express.

The agency is creating a document about the management of the areas and is planning to start the process for White Clouds and the Hemingway-Boulders wilderness in July, Sawtooth National Forest Supervisor Kit Mullen said. There will likely be three public meetings on the issue.

“We try to be thorough, but sometimes there are things we miss that the public thinks are important,” she said.

The public meetings will focus on recreational resources and rules like group size and campsite restrictions, as well as if there are any special areas in the new wilderness, Mullen said. “There might be a historically or culturally significant site that we don’t know about,” she said.

The three areas were created when President Barack Obama signed the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act in August.

Grazing allotments that existed before the areas were designated as wilderness will remain, but no new grazing allotments will be created, Mullen said. If an allotment holder chooses to sell or donate their permit to the Forest Service, those allotments would remain closed. There will be no pressure from the Forest Service for permit holders to give up their allotments, Mullen said.

“That’s totally up to the permit holder,” she said. “Once they’re closed, they’re closed, and we wouldn’t think about reopening them.”

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