Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Reports



Idaho and Northern Rockies Wildlands Archive

-Wild Country News-

12-31-2005. White Clouds Wilderness and economic development bill (CIEDRA) rated top Idaho story of 2005 by the Idaho Mountain Express [Hailey, Ketchum]. By Steve Benson. About the quarry and the view expressed that it will aid employment in economically depressed Custer County, Idaho. . . about 3/4 of the workers are Mexican nationals, not struggling folks who have long lived in Custer County. I won't comment on these worker's legal status until I know more. This quarry giveaway was in Pombo's defeated "land grab" amendment to the budget deficit bill. I think the Custer County Commissioners are more interested in the property tax revenue the quarry would pay. It current pays none because it is on public land. It isn't an employment matter. The quarry is impinging on a very important wintering wildlife area. In recent weeks as many as 400 elk, 300 deer and numerous wild horses have been wintering near the quarry. The blasting causes them to run.
Interest by the GOP to give the quarry away seems to be related to the fact that the quarry owner (who lives in California) is, according to the Mtn. Express, a huge money giver to the Republican Party and Idaho politicians.

12-26-2005. Utah delegation secures 100,000 acre Cedar Mountains Wilderness in Utah. The Utah congressional delegation has never liked protecting wildernessmuch for its own sake much, but if they can use it to block development of a private "fuel storage" area on a nearby Indian Reservation, then it looked good to them. The Goshute Indians had invited companies that wanted to transport and store high level nuclear waste onto the reservation, but the only feasible transportation route was a rail line though the Cedar Mountain roadless area, a stark, little known mountain range in Utah "west desert." The proposed nuclear dump was planned for aptly named "Skull Valley."

Several years ago the delegation started looking at using the Wilderness Act to prevent this project from going forward. They had been unable to stop it otherwise. At the last minute it was added to the Defense appropriations bill (like drilling in the Alaska Refuge was). This last minute addition, however, due to cooperation from the Nevada delegation, including the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid from Nevada, stayed in the Defense Appropriations bill and rode the bill in law. One can raise the same procedural objections to this as to the rest of the things tacked onto appropriation bills, but a least this one was not harmful. It appears to protect country that is not well represented in the Wilderness System -- dry, rough, but not especially lofty Great Basin mountains. Here is a link to part of the area via TopoZone.com.

I have received email since I put this story up, and this wilderness area created appears to be a high quality designation with good boundaries, not just for blocking a railroad, but for protecting the wilderness resource.

12-16-2005. Missoula County urged to keep existing roadless areas. By Mea Andrews. Missoulian.

12-16-2005. A Natural Alliance Foiled. By Bill Schneider. New West. This may be true --the natural division is between muscle-powered and motor-powered. There does seem to be something wrong with able, fit mountain bikers feeling they have to throw in with the fat boys and girls on their ATVs (in my view symbolic essense of mediocrity in the outdoors).

12-9-2005. No More Wilderness, Forever? By Bill Schneider (plus commentary from others), 12-01-05. New West. This essay has started quite a debate among conservationists. My view on the Idaho approach comes from a different direction and is more immediate. It is below in the commentary posted to the article of 11-26. My guess is that even some of the "conservative" Republican western members of Congress are starting to see Pombo as a loose cannon, and a cannon with ties to both Abramoff and Tom DeLay.

11-29-2005. Congressmen release blueprint for Mount Hood preservation. By Michael Milstein. Oregonian.

11-27-2005. Road Building Follies. By Bill Schneider. New West.

11-26-2005. Sawtooth National Recreation Area copes with development threats. Representative Simpson stresses compromise for his wilderness proposal. By Steve Benson. Idaho Mountain Express. Folks in Idaho are arguing the details of CIEDRA, but I worry because it's in Pombo's Committee. If Pombo loses in his attempt to dismantle the ESA, sell public land to "miners," and drill the Arctic Refuge, he's going to be like a rabid skunk, and he's going make a big stink and try to bite something (perhaps like CIEDRA).

11-25-2005. President Bush Signs Ojito Wilderness Act. Creates first new wilderness in New Mexico in 18 years.

11-19-2004. Colorado Sportsmen support 'roadless rule.' Dirt.
11-19-2005. Help protect the Colorado roadless areas. Aspen Times. Guest Opinion.
11-14-2005. Colorado's roadless task force may not solve anything. Denver Post.  Editorial.
Idaho is using the same process, and obviously I can say a lot about the specific roadless areas there. The question is should I or anyone take the time? I went to one hearing and used the public occasion to assail Richard Pombo instead. No one talked about specific roadless areas, which is supposedly what Idaho's Governor Kempthorne wants.

11-2-2005. Idaho wilderness promoters take views to Capitol Hill.Simpson's bill splits Democrats and Republicans alike. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express.

10-28-2005 CIEDRA begins legislative journey. Wilderness bill suffers blow in first congressional hearing. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. Personally I don't think Rahalls' comments will stall the bill at all. It was a warning to the Republicans not to try anything weird (and the Democrats may not have the power to stop them if the GOP dominated committee does). This is Pombo's committee. For folks interested the wildlife -- elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and wolves -- the best part of this bill is not the wilderness part, but the grazing buyout in the East Fork of the Salmon River.
10-28-2005. Rep. Simpson waxes on wilderness bill. Idaho congressman says CIEDRA is risk worth taking. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express.
10-28-2005. Carole King Opposes Idaho Wilderness Bill. Washington Post. By Matthew Daly
10-26-2005 Boulder-White Clouds bill gets hearing Thursday (Oct 27) in House Resources Committee. Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker. The long debate over CIEDRA finally gets some legislative action Oct. 27. The conservation community is split over the bill. Of course this is, shudder!! Pombo's Committee. From the standpoint of wildlife the best part of this bill is a buyout of grazing allotments in the East Fork of the Salmon River. This is a side issue, but I consider it more important than the wilderness part.

10-26-2005. Bush's roadless rule sparks another lawsuit. Greater Yellowstone Coalition joins three states in legal battle. Idaho Mountain Express. By Steve Benson. Express Staff Writer.

10-23-2005. Boulder-White Clouds bill [CIEDRA] deserves to become law. Opinion of the Idaho Statesman. In my view the best part of the bill is the buying out of grazing allotments in the East Fork of Salmon. This is one of the many issues in the bill which do not deal specifically with Wilderness. This buyout may create a wildlife paradise.

10-19-2005. Blaine County ponders wilderness bill. Commissioners will announce official position on Simpson's bill Thursday. By Steve Benson. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. "Conservationists are squabbling with conservationists, Custer County is supporting wilderness, and Blaine County doesn't yet know what it wants.
It may seem like the world's gone mad, but it's a simple reaction to one of the most complex, compromise-ridden wilderness bills to ever go before Congress."
10-21-2005. Blaine County votes to support CIEDRA. Here is their resolution.

10-16-2005. The Rattlesnake Wilderness (near Missoula, MT) turns 25. Missoula Independent.

10-14-2005. Blaine County Commission (Ketchum, Hailey, ID) hears strong views on CIEDRA (wilderness bill). By Greg Moore. Idaho Mountain Express.

10-6-2005. View of the Idaho Statesman. Congress should consider wilderness measures separately. Richard Pombo, Congress' chief anti-environmentalist, and part of the corrupt orbit around disgraced leader Tom DeLay, says the Idaho canyonlands bill and CIEDRA should be considered together. I have been telling Idaho conservationists that they shouldn't try to move a bill in this Congress. Pombo will get his dirty hands on it, mess it up, and now it looks like it will come true.
Related 10-6-2005.
Idaho public opinion polls shows support for CIEDRA, Wilderness. The Challis Messenger. By Todd Adams. It's very interesting there wasn't a Republican/Democrat difference in the poll results.

10-3-2005. Conservation leader says economic development act won't protect beloved Sawtooths. Idaho Statesman.

9-28-2005. The rest of the Boulder-White Clouds Story. Idaho Mountain Express. By Linn Kincannon, Idaho Conservation League et al.

9-14-2005. Integrity of roadless evaluations from Idaho governor's office questioned. Critics says recommendation forms favor natural resources users. By Steve Benson. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. I've got a web page devoted to Idaho roadless areas and I co-authored a hiking guide to Idaho, and I can't figure out the form . . . rm. These meetings are dominated by a bunch of "good old boys, and gals." They are not representative of Idaho and certainly not of Americans, to which these lands belong.

9-14-2005. Governor Schweitzer asks Gallatin county for their view on preserving roadless areas. By Walt Williams. Bozeman Chronicle.

9-12-2005. Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park is nation's most polluted. Air is as bad as New York City. LA Times. By Gary Polakovic, Times Staff Writer

9-8-2005. Your opinion isn't welcomed on Idaho roadless areas. Opinion of the Idaho Falls Post Register by J. Robb Brady. Bush's new roadless rule was said to somehow be bring the issue closer to the people, but it's just more of the Orwellian language so typical of this administration. Closer to the people seems to mean ignoring the people from a closer geographic distance.

9-1-2005. Three western states sue over Bush's repeal of the rule protecting national forest roadless areas. Seattle Post Intelligencer. By Terence Chea.
News Release on the lawsuit from CA attorney general.

8-29-2005. 'It was never public land' Conflicts occurring on some of Colorado?s privately owned 14,000-foot peaks. Vail Daily. By Allen Best.

8-23-2005. Fate of [Idaho] roadless forest areas in state's hands. Counties get first say in decision process. By Steve Benson. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. Most of Idaho's county commissioners have always been against protecting anything outdoors undeveloped -- that's because most Idaho counties are unpopulated and officials have mindsets that outdoors open space is abundant. This process will treat counties where most Idahoans live, like Ada County, the same as pop. 900 Clark County. It violates the basic American principle of political equality.

8-11-2005. BLM admits drilling will bring haze to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and Wilderness Areas. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune environmental reporter. The BLM has finally admitted the obvious -- that all the natural gas well drilling and operations near Pinedale will degrade the air quality in NW Wyoming, including the 2 national parks and 5 designated wilderness areas. This is a flat out violation of the PSD (prevention of significant deterioration) provisions of the Clean Air Act.

8-8-2005. Gas well near Montana's Rocky Mtn. Front is a bust. Great News for the Front! Helena Independent Record. By Eve Byron. Disappointed oil company may dispose of its leases.

7-28-2005. Senate finally passes long-delayed Ojito Wilderness bill. Albuquerque Tribune (Scripps Howard News Service). It will be the first designated wilderness area in New Mexico in 15 years (only 11,000 acres).

7-26-2005. Western governors wary of roadless forest mess. By April Reese. Bush administration touts state control, but Washington, D.C., will make the final call. High Country News.
My guess is that the Administration will accept gubernatorial proposals to wreck the last of our roadless areas and reject those of governors who want to conserve them. I'm cynical of them.

7-8-2005. Custer County passes a resolution in favor of CIEDRA. By Todd Adams. That's one big hurdle cleared by Rep. Simpson's for his "wilderness and economic development" package. Although the country commission framed the wilderness negatively, a decade ago it would have been inconceivable that this county would pass anything that designated wilderness.

6-24-2005. Gov. Kempthorne wants input for roadless-area plans. New plan may open roadless areas to industry. Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker. Idaho has more roadless land than any other state, so Idahoans and Americans have a big stake in this. "Kempthorne will first go to county commissioners and ask them to consider how proposals might be developed in their areas. He did not limit proposals to commissioners. "I would encourage all input from Idahoans," he said.
In the past "local communities" has been an euphemism for the small towns with a timber mill near a national forest. If you lived in an Idaho city, you had as much influence as if you lived in another country on these matters, even if your property ran along the boundary of a national forest.
6-24-2005. Kempthorne tackles roadless areas issue. Proposed management plan could open more forest to development. By Patti Murphy For the Mountain Express and The Associated Press. In this article, it says, "Kempthorne said that citizens living in urban areas such as Boise will have just as much say in the proposal as people living in the rural areas." If true, it will be a welcome change.

6-9-2005. Montana's governor Schweitzer says state can't assess national forest roadless areas. By Jennifer McKee. E Missoulian State Bureau.
6-9-2005. Wyoming's roadless questions linger. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter. In its typical Orwellian language the Bush Administration said that taking comments away from all Americans about roadless areas and allowing only governors to make comments in the form of petitions enhanced "local control." Now the governors of two of the states with the most roadless areas say they don't have the resources to evaluate the roadless areas.

6-8-2005. Sawtooth National Recreation Area land giveaways totally inappropriate. A Guest opinion by Coalition of Concerned Forest Service Land Managers. Idaho Mountain Express. Those who signed this opinion are a lot of important former Forest Service land managers from the beautiful central Idaho area covered by CIERDA.

6-3-2005. Idaho Conservation League announces "adopt a roadless area" program. News release. Since the Idaho roadless are now all in jeopardy, why not explore one, learn about it, and adopt it, using your knowledge to help keep it intact?
Related 6-8-2005. Orphaned road-free areas offered for adoption. New local resident adopts Pioneer Mountains. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Express Staff Writer. It seems to me that to save a special, beautiful chunk of the Earth is one of the more noble things you can do with your life.

6-1-2005. (org. pub. May 25) Simpson stumps for Idaho wilderness bill. 'It's time to get to yes'. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. Congressman Mike Simpson attended the annual Wild Idaho Conference, defended and asked for support for his wilderness and economic development bill for the White Cloud, Salmon River area between Stanley and Challis in central Idaho. 
Related June 1. "Land transfers draw more ire. Seattle group says CIEDRA land gifts should be 'roundly rejected'." By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express.
Related June 2. Changes in the new version of CIEDRA are outlined. Challis Messenger. This is a good discussion how the new bill differs from the one introduced last year.

5-19-2005. Representative Simpson introduces new version of CIEDRA. Text of bill (pdf). CIEDRA is short for ??Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act??. The bill designates a fair amount of Wilderness in the splendid Boulder and White Clouds Mountains of Central Idaho, and it does a lot of other stuff, some good, some bad, some hard to tell. CIEDRA Presentation (from Rep. Simpson's Office)

5-16-2005. A dream, not a nightmare. Editorial By Marty Trillhaase. Post Register. An editorial in favor of Rep. Mike Simpson's soon-to-be-released new version of his Central Idaho Economic Development Act which includes wilderness protection for some of the White Cloud and Boulder Mountains and a lot of other stuff.

On Bush's abolishment of national forest roadless area protection-

5-5-2005. New Rule Opens National Forest roadless areas to roads. By John Heliprin. Associated Press Writer. Well 30 years of conservation efforts to protect roadless areas is down the drain. Now only state governors can now petition the Administration to develop or protect unroaded portions of the national forests. You can guess which  kind of petitions will be honored. Your opinion no longer has legal weight.
More 5-5-2005. Bush administration moves to open roadless forests to development. Policy involves 58 million acres. By John Heilprin. The Associated Press. Denver Post.
More 5-6-2005. Wyoming's Freudenthal. Forest policy should be made at the federal level, not by states. By Jeff Gearino. For once I agree with the Wyoming governor. Bush's plan to turn the fate of the national forest roadless area over to governors is a task they don't need, nor are they specially qualified.
More 5-7-2005. Bush Administration Rolls Back Rule on Building Forest Roads.
By Felicity Barringer. New York Times.
More 5-8-2005. War for the woods. Govs shouldn't wield more power over fed forests. Editorial opinion of the Boulder Daily Camera.
More 5-11-2005. Bridger-Teton National Forest predicts little change in roadless areas. Forest supervisor plans to involve public in deciding fate of pristine areas near Jackson. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole News and Guide. This may not quite be so. Although there is no longer much demand for timber on these forests, especially in the expensive-to-access roadless areas, the energy industry lusts after a number of big roadless areas to the south of Jackson.
More 5-12-2005. Slapstick politics make slipshod roadless policy. By Pat Williams. Senior fellow and regional policy associate. O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West. Headwaters News.


4-28-2005. Simpson's Sawtooth National Recreation Area land trades are a bad bargain. Guest opinion by Evelyn Phillips in the Idaho Mountain Express.

4-26-2005. Stanley, Idaho coalition presses against land transfers as part of Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. Public land "giveaways" in Rep. Simpson's CIEDRA continue to spark local controversy.

4-24-2005. Wheels vs. Wilderness. By Joe Baird. The Salt Lake Tribune. The argument that ATVs are a great benefit for children and senior citizens is bogus. Children need exercise. They ride too much. ATVs are a benefit for only a handful of older people. As you get older you need to keep walking, not get on a dangerous vehicle from which a minor fall could be fatal. More . . .

4-6-2005. Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness bill set to go to Congress [again] ' Fierce opposition' anticipated. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. The federal land "giveaways" to sweeten wilderness for those who find it sour, remain contentious.
A major issue for me is . . . suppose a pretty good bill is introduced by Idaho Republican Mike Simpson. Then some sleaze like Tom DeLay gets hold of it, exploiters stash some loot in his pocket, and he turns into some horrible giveaway?

3-27-2005. Stanley, ID residents opposed giveaway of public lands in return for wilderness designation in White Cloud Mountains. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer

3-5-2005. Group uses planes to catch wilderness violators in Wyoming.  Associated Press. Scofflaw snowmobilers beware.

3-3-2005. Politics must take back seat to wilderness, expert says. By Chelsea Deweese of the Missoulian. Well I agree, but I know it won't take a back seat.  "Wilderness" has been used as a red herring in West for about 25 years now to turn people who have much in common against each other so that the extractive industries can continue to exploit both the land and the workers. Making people hate each works well for the Western political establishment. These politicians are using the wolf for the same purpose -- "don't worry about all those oil and gas wells, pipelines and roads and wildlife, the  problem is wolves."

2-2-2005. People fuel wilderness movement. 'Gray beard' offers perspectives on 40 years in wilderness protection trenches. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. I think protecting our wild country is one of the most ethical things a person can do with one's life, and it is a multi-generational effort.

2-2-2005. Look for wilderness bill in spring. Boulder-White Clouds legislation to be tweaked this winter. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

1-28-2005. Company applies to operate mine beneath Montana wilderness area. By The Associated Press. This is another mine proposal under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in extreme NW Montana. The other proposal to mine under this Wilderness has been fought by those who support America's wild country and downstream residents in Idaho for 20 years now.

1-23-2005. Montana FWP reestablishing mountain goat herd in the Scapegoat Wilderness. By Daryl Gadbow. Billings Gazette (from the Missoulian). Link to the Scapegoat Wilderness.

1-12-2005. Stanley, Idaho city council supports CIEDRA. Challis Messenger. By Todd Adams. Support from this small, but centrally-located tourist town is key to the bill. See many more CIEDRA stories below. Here is a link to the Sawtooth Society mentioned in the story.

12-30-2004. Montanans divided on setting aside more wilderness areas. Associated Press. Great Falls Tribune.

12-15-2005. Panel in Pocatello debates merits of recreation act. By Dan Boyd. Idaho State Journal writer. Three of us, including Congressman Simpson's natural resources director, had a good discussion, and the audience had a lot of questions about protecting the Boulder-White Clouds and CIEDRA.

12-5-2004. Over 700,000 acres of Wilderness protected in Nevada. Bush signs bill. By Scott Sonner. AP. Despite the Bush Administration's hostility to Wilderness, the President has signed into a law a very large new addition to Nevada wilderness. They key was bipartisan support to allow Las Vegas to draw more water and auction off 90,000 acres of public land near Las Vegas. Political reality is that most future successful wilderness bills will probably have to have a development portion of offset protection.
Related 12-12-2004. For all who love wild places, here is a reason to celebrate!
Apostle Islands, Wisconsin and Lincoln County, Nevada, Designated Wilderness. The Wilderness Society.

11-27-2004. Buoyed Montana Wilderness Association to focus more on getting more wilderness areas designated. Billings Gazette. AP

11-25-2004. Conservationist in a Conservative Land. By Ray Ring. High Country News. A New Dialogue for Idaho Environmentalist Rick Johnson and Republican Congressman Mike Simpson are crafting a new language for wilderness protection, but not everyone wants to speak it.

11-25-2004. A wilderness bill with a little something for everyone. By Ray Ring. High Country News. An analysis of CIEDRA

11-21-2004. ATVs stir controversy: Critics, advocates clash over merits of the off-road machines. By Debbie Bryce. Idaho State Journal. Despite the headline this is mostly about Simpson's Boulder-White Clouds bill (CIEDRA).

11-17-2004. Governor Richardson (NM) calls on Bush to preserve road ban. By Matthew Daly. AP writer. Casper Star Tribune.

11-12-2004. Concern grows for roadless rule. The News Review.

11-9-2004. Scientists, economists oppose Bush forests [roadless area] plan. By Matthew Daly, Associated Press Writer. Your comments need to be in very soon. They are due by Nov. 15.

10-24-2004. A slide show of what Rep. Simpson wants to give to Custer County, Idaho for a trophy home subdivision. By the Boulder-White Clouds Council. I doubt hardly anyone supports the Capehorn/Dry Creek "giveaway" to Custer County in congressman's White Clouds bill -- acronym CIEDRA. . .  not even most resident of Custer County. Let's hope the congressman included this section as something that can be dropped later to appease the public.

10-23-2004. Owyhee group to send wilderness bill to Congress Historic agreement preserves more Idaho wilderness, wildlife and ranching. By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman. Like the Simpson bill on the Boulder/White Cloud Mountains, the Owyhee agreement in SW Idaho is much more than a wilderness bill, and, therefore probably both better and worse.

10-19-2004. A new chance for wilderness. By J. Robb Brady. Idaho Falls Post Register. More about Simpson's bill, especially what needs to be to make it acceptable.
- As an aside, the bill would give 300 acres of public land near Pocatello over to an ATV and dirt-biking "park." Living close to public land, you can imagine how we would feel if we found out that the land near us was to become a 24-hour a day noise park courtesy of the US Congress.

10-13-2004. Cape Horn land grant raises hackles. Petition urges congress to fund PILT, abandon land grants. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Express Staff Writer. This is probably the most controversial part of Simpson's bill (see below). It would give some beautiful federal public land to Custer County to subdivide. The land is full of elk and even spawning salmon and is very visible to travelers on Idaho highway 21. I don't think a subdivision here would be popular even in Custer County, and the article says as much.

10-13-2004. Simpson submits BWC wilderness bill. Bill would protect 294,100 acres, funnel up to $18.25 million to Central Idaho. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. This bill, acronym CIEDRA, is not expected to move during this Congress which dies at the end of 2004. The bill will have to be introduced again. The big stumbling block in House seems to be the extremist chairman of the House Resources Committee -- Richard Pombo who is more than happy to interfere even with his fellow Republicans' efforts outside of Pombo's home state (California).

10-11-2004. Simpson's bill is good start at protecting Idaho wilderness. Opinion of the Idaho Statesman.

10-9-2004. Congressman Mike Simpson formally introduces his "wilderness bill" for the White Clouds area in Idaho -- "Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA).

9-24-2004. Nethercutt's Wild Sky bill dies in House committee? By Alex Fryer. Seattle Times Washington bureau. Washington state Representative's wilderness bill was killed by the committee chair, a fellow Republican -- a well known anti-environmental extremist Richard Pombo of California.
9-24-2004. Seattle Post Intelligencer says death of Wild Sky in the House Resources Committee better than caving to Pombo.

9-14-2004. 117 Montana business owners write Bush asking him not to destroy the roadless areas. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle.

9-10-2004. Rep. Simpson releases draft of Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill: Details include public lands identified for transfer to Stanley, Custer County. Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl.

9-10-2004. Boulder Basin back in public ownership after private donation. Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl. White not quite wilderness due to old mining artifacts, Boulder Basin is one of the most scenic places in Idaho and it is surrounded by wild roadless country in the Boulder Mountains.

9-9-2004. Comment on Bush roadless area rule extended to Nov. 15. Billings Gazette. This makes  the due date after the election, and it essentially means if Bush wins the remaining roadless areas will all be opened up and if Kerry wins, they will likely be retained as they are now.

9-6-2004. Essay in High Country News."W"in 2004: Taking stock of wilderness at 40. By Matt Jenkins.
9-5-2004. Protect Wyoming's Wild Places. Opinion of Casper Star-Tribune. It is interesting that even Dick Cheney, as recently as the year 2000, regarded passage of the Wyoming Wilderness Act of 1983 one of his proudest moments.
9-3-2004. Missoulian. Preserving wilderness was act of vision. "SUMMARY: The Wilderness Act of 1964 has preserved some of the best and offers hope for a bit of the rest."
9-2-2004. A long and winding trail. Forty years ago, establishing Wilderness Act was an uphill battle. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. Jackson Hole News and Guide. My note: I think the Wilderness Act was one of the best laws to ever pass Congress. It was signed into law in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson. It's sad our current President never learned to love the wild outdoors and now threatens all that has been done to protect it.
9-2-2004. Idaho Statesman editorial. Our View: The Future of Wilderness We can celebrate 1964 law by designating more wilderness

8-19-2004. Backcountry Feud. Helicopter skiers and Wasatch canyon preservationists battle over mountain access. by Allyson Goldstein. Salt Lake City Weekly.

8-12-2004. Where the wild things are. By George Ochenski. "A week of sharp relief in the backcountry." Missoula Independent. A week without TV ads and the politicians. . .  that's clearly why they think Wilderness is subversive. What kind to thoughts might a person on their own think? What would become of them . . . for one thing they come out and write articles like this.

8-11-2004. It's not governors' land to decide. By Pat Williams. Senior fellow and regional policy associate. O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West. Headwaters News.
8-10-2004. View of the Idaho Statesman. US Senator Crapo wrong to back Bush's roadless plan gimmick. Idaho Statesman.

8-6-2004. Wilderness On Hold. by Mike Keefe-Feldman. Missoula Independent. No Wilderness has been added to the Wilderness System in Montana for 20 years (as a side-note, it has been 24 years in adjacent Idaho).

8-4-2004. Writers on the Range. "Backpackers beware: Don't go where you don't belong." By Sean Neilson. Backpacker Magazine catches it for its article how GPS can lead you places where it is best that people don't go.

8-3-2004. Bush's repeal of protection for national forest roadless areas will hurt Yellowstone country, groups argue. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter.

7-20-2004. Wilderness boosts West?s economy. Study confirms opinion of many in business. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express.

Related 8-19-2004.  Keep roadless lands free of industry inroads. By Pamela Wellner. San Francisco Chronicle.
Related 7-21-2004.
[Bush rejection of] Roadless plan a short-sighted reform. By John Baden. Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment. Bozeman, Montana.
Related 7-13-2004.
Administration announces no more "roadless" rule for forests. By Juliet Eilperin. Washington Post.
Related 7-13-2004. Opinion of the San Francisco Chronicle. Bush opens gates to more logging It not so much the more logging, but the where of the logging, IMO.

◊ 7-13-2004. Bush to do away with Forest Service roadless area protection completely, and cut out the public. Leaves it only to governors to object to his logging plans. New York Times. In this Administration's Orwellian doublespeak, taking away the right of any American to protest logging and drilling in pristine areas and giving it only to governors, and then only for them to petition, is a triumph for local control of the forests.

7-1-2004. Recent ruling by Supreme Court could threaten Forest Service wilderness study areas in Montana. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

THE Boulder-White Clouds proposal- This is a giant issue in Idaho where a cold war between protecting or exploiting the scenic Boulder and White Cloud Mountains. It has been an issue now for over 30 years. Legislation is imminent. Your help is needed!

July 24. Representative Simpson revises his central Idaho plan to add a "Hemingway Wilderness" near Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. To sweeten his proposal, Idaho congressman Simpson has added scenic rugged mountain country in the Boulder Mountains to his wilderness proposal (and made other changes to please snowmobilers).
July 21 Boulder-White Clouds flight inspires advocates. Wilderness awareness focus of tour over Boulder-White Clouds. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.
July 16 ◊ Frankenstein wilderness? Opinion of the Idaho Mountain Express. The Mountain Express opposed Simpson's framework for being too weak in protection of the proposed Wilderness. There were also 2 guest opinions the following week.

  • July 21. "Let?s keep talking with Rep. Simpson." Guest opinion by Linn Kincannon.
    Linn Kincannon is the Central Idaho Director for the Idaho Conservation League.

  • July 21. Don't give up on Simpson plan yet. Guest opinion by Lynne Stone.
    Lynne Stone has worked on Boulder-White Clouds wilderness designation for over 20 years. and is executive director of the Boulder White Clouds Council. She is the author of a hiking and mountain book guide "Adventures in Idaho's Sawtooth Country," published by The Mountaineers, Seattle.

July 8 ◊ Congressman Simpson calls for Idaho solution to wilderness. By Anna Means. Challis Messenger.
July 7 ◊ Congressman Simpson plans to tweak wilderness plan. Legislation to be released later this summer. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer
July 4. ◊ Simpson brings urgency to [White Clouds] wilderness proposal. By Dan Popkey. Columnist for the Idaho Statesman.
July 2-3, 2004. ◊ Simpson Hears Voices on Wilderness. Idaho Mountain Express.
 ◊ Advocates ask for more wilderness. Simpson?s Boulder-White Clouds plan criticized for catering to motorized groups. Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl.
 ◊ Challis ranchers, farmers seem to like proposal. 'We can support this' Farm Bureau chief says. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
◊ The problem with compromise [on this Wilderness bid]. Opinion of the Idaho Mountain Express.
6-23-2004. Wilderness proposal released. Congressman to host town hall meetings. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express.
6-23-2004. Boulder-White Cloud plan scrutinized. Stakeholders cautiously optimistic on Simpson?s wilderness, recreation plan. Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl.
6-21-2004. Idaho Conservation League alert on the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness. Very important!
6-18-2004. Boulder-White Clouds [Idaho] blueprint released. Myriad users accommodated in [congressman] Simpson?s draft wilderness and recreation proposal. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. No Wilderness has been designated in Idaho since 1980, and the Boulder-White Cloud mountains are perhaps the largest unprotected roadless area left, but Rep. Simpson's proposal goes far beyond Wilderness, with concessions to almost every group.  I have a feeling that giving federal land to Custer Country for subdivision in scenic Stanley Basin may prove the most controversial aspect, given the county's record as the most backward in Idaho. There is good news in this for wolves in that some grazing leases that have resulted in the death of many wolves may be purchased and closed to grazing, forever. Details of the proposal (which will be the [was]  subject of 3 public hearings).
6-18-2004. Simpson offers new plan for saving White Clouds wilderness. Proposal would give 1,000 acres of federal land to Custer County. Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker.

6-17-2004. Twice as many people visit the Mt. Hood Wilderness as thought. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

6-3-2004. Outdoor industry joins fight for roadless rule. Gear companies see untracked forest land as good for business. By Faith Bremner. Gannett News Service. Idaho Statesman. "Conservationists aren't the only ones fighting the Bush administration over protections for wild lands."

5-14-2004. Small steps for wilderness. Arizona activists shop for wilderness by congressional district. By Jodi Peterson. High Country News. This may be a smart political innovation. In the past, conservationists have wanted to designate wilderness by scientific criteria -- ecoregion and ecosystem representation. However, taking scientific view isn't a strong incentive in  American politics, so perhaps a more practical tactic is to designate wilderness where there are friendly public officials.

5-13-2004. Idaho Ranchers, Conservationists, Recreationists Announce Owyhee Initiative Proposal. News Release from the Wilderness Society. Not all Idaho environmentalists are so enthusiastic about this, feeling too much was sold out to the ranchers.

5-8-2004. Democrats and environmentalists urge Bush Administration to keep rule protecting roadless national forests. Casper Star Tribune.

4-21-2004. Editorial. Enough talk, Boulder-White Clouds wilderness needs action. Opinion of the Idaho Mountain Express. Idaho's second district Congressman Mike Simpson has been trying to get groups together for a "consensus" on wilderness designation for the very scenic White Clouds area of south central Idaho, and to resolve other contentious issues for several years now. The editorial complains that all he has produced is a recent news release. It would seem Simpson could move if he truly wanted to. He has but token opposition in his re-election campaigns. He has as safe a seat as anyone in Congress.

4-15-2004. Senator Wyden finds support for  Mt. Hood wilderness at 'listening' session. People at the Portland meeting urge Oregon's Democratic senator to pursue his proposal. Oregonian. By Michele Cole.

4-14-2004. Groups Unite Behind Plan to Protect Idaho Wilderness. By Juliet Eilperin. Washington Post Staff Writer. This is a massive plan to protect land but also to continue  "traditional" uses in the Owyhee country of SW Idaho. This is huge area with no paved roads, quite a few dirt roads, a lot of scenic roadless canyonlands, and many say, far too may cattle. It will be hard to keep all these folks on board. I don't know if the measure deserves support or not. There is disagreement in the environmental community, and I know from experience that the motorized recreation groups can be most treacherous.
4-15-2004. Our View: Idahoans negotiate a true compromise on Owyhees. Opinion of the Idaho Statesman.

4-1-2004. Ten years in the making, Frank Church Wilderness Plan falls short. Opinion by J. Robb Brady. Idaho Mountain Express.

3-29-2004. More wilderness designation around Mount Hood? Oregonian editorial.

3-26-2004. Forest Service posts Jewel Basin in Montana off limits to snowmobilers.

3-24-2004. Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Landowner should cut his losses. Opinion of the Bozeman Chronicle.
3-16-2004. Would be road builder into the great Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness slapped down again by federal court. By Nick Gevock. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. This guy had a real weak case, but if Bush extremist nominee Myers gets on the 9th Circuit Court none of America's treasures like the Beartooth Wilderness would be safe.

3-7-2004. Wilderness areas play integral part of new Bitterroot National Forest plan.
By Greg Lemon. Ravalli Republic.

2-22-2004. Decision on opening Gravelly Range road postponed. By Perry Backus of The Montana Standard.
2-12-2004. Madison County, Montana officials ask BLM to open wilderness road. Montana Forum.

2-6-2004. Protecting Boulder-White Clouds makes sense. Idaho Mountain Express. Guest opinion by Keith Panghorn.

2-4-2004. National Park Service's top wilderness official for the Rocky Mountain states quits in frustration over Bush-dominated Park Service unwillingness to safeguard the national parks. By Theo Stein. Denver Post.

1-30-2004. The Wilderness Card. When the Forest Service realized a celebration might attract Bush protesters, it played politics. By Rick Bass. LA Times (free registration required).

1-30-2004. Central Idaho business owners voice wilderness support. 135 letters for protection Boulder-White Clouds proposed wilderness mailed. Idaho Mountain Express.

1-29-2004. Proposed Montana forest plan revisions under fire. By Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian.

1-7-04. Local national forest told to reconsider granting phosphate strip mine exploration permits in key Eastern Idaho roadless and wildlife area.  By Emily Jones. Idaho State Journal. The regional forester has overruled a decision to let Simplot Corporation explore for phosphate, a rock that is mined in what might be termed hybrid strip/open pit mines.

12-31-2003. Logging limits lifted in Tongass forest.Authorities say only small part of Alaska tract to be affected. By Robert McClure. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It's a relatively small part because much of the Tongass National Forest is rock, cliff, glacier, tundra.

12-28-2003. Snowmobilers arrested for Beartooth Wilderness trespass. By Scott McMillion Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer. The area around Cooke City, MT has long been a place where winter trespass takes place.

11-22-2003. Scott Stouder: Protect our roadless lands, and protect the beautiful state of Idaho. Idaho Statesman. On the need to save Idaho's wild country from illegal ATV trails and new roads.

11-18-2003. Guest Opinion: Wilderness: The stuff Montana is made of. By Gerry Jennings. Montana Wilderness Association. The Montana Forum.

10-8-2003. Putting a price tag on wilderness. By Sam Cook. Knight Ridder newspapers. What if Bush and Cheney could experience the Alaska Wilderness? The author (Cook) hopes it would change their viewpoint. I must degree, however. These are men with defective set of values.

10-7-2003. Smoke from Scapegoat drifts east. Helicopters used to ignite, control prescribed burn. By Jo Dee Black. Great Falls Tribune.
10-6-2003. Prescribed fire moves primly over 1,200 acres in Scapegoat Wilderness. By Kim Skornogoski. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer
10-5-2003. Prescribed burn on the edge of Montana's Scapegoat Wilderness underway. Great Falls Tribune.

10-1-2003. Conservationists Bring the Castle Wilderness to Albertans. From Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). This proposed wilderness is just 20 miles north of the Montana border near an area besieged by natural gas development. Alberta's premier, Ralph Klein, is kind of a George Bush on steroids, when it comes to protecting the outdoors.

9-21-2003. What in the Blazes? By Michael Jamison. Missoulian. On the benefits of letting forest fires burn in the great Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana.

9-16-2003. Officials weighing the new Frank Church Wilderness Plan. Montana Forum. You can comment on this until Oct. 27.

9-12-2003. Climbing Utah?s Kings Peak is a true test. Idaho Statesman. The highest peak in Utah, Kings Peak, lies deep in Utah largest protected Wilderness -- the High Uintas.

8-14-2003 Guest opinion: Roadless lands pay off for people, industry. By Rob Hart. Red Lodge, MT manufacturer. Billings Gazette.

The negotiations taking place over the Owyhee Country of SW Idaho and the Boulder-White Clouds are really raising controversy, as the articles below show.

9-11-2003. Salmon dispute threatens talks on Owyhees. White Clouds protection also could be at stake. Idaho Statesman. The view of many is this threat is to try and squeeze a bit more anti-environmental stuff out the first effort in a decade by Idaho congressionals to resolves some Idaho land protection issues. In addition, some of these groups have much to lose if cooperation breaks out. For a generation that have been telling Idaho farmers, ranchers, and loggers they are poor because of environmentalists when reality is the leaders of these groups are clueless about the economy, stuck in the 19th Century, and are incapable of representing their members' interests because it would mean trying something new.
8-6-2003. Does Wilderness Make Good Business? By Greg Foley. Idaho Mountain Express.
7-30-2003. Is it time for a Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness? Rep. Simpson tries to appease groups with wilderness, economic stimulus bill. Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl.
7-30-2003. Boulder-White Clouds a haven for wild plants. By Greg Foley. Idaho Mountain Express.
7-30-2003. Sensitive species inhabit White Clouds Mountains. By Greg Foley. Idaho Mountain Express. This includes the wolf in a major way, although wolves hardly need designated wilderness areas to thrive, but it is possible this bill could rid the area of some of the livestock that have so degraded streams and threatened or reduced the populations of many species of wildlife, including elk.
7-30-2003. Wilderness Act in 1964 set rules for wildland uses. By Greg Foley. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. This is basically a primer on the Wilderness Act now that the possibility of a Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness appears more real.
7-16-2003. Environmental community unsure of wilderness deal. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express. "Is wilderness designation gaining anything that wasn?t there before with wilderness study status? What are we getting for wilderness designation in Owyhee County, except for some lines on a map?" ? JON MARVEL, Western Watersheds Project.
7-16-2003. Our View: Owyhee group deserves the space to finish its job. Editorial by the Idaho Statesman.
7-13-2003. Conservationists warn against Owyhee in SW Idaho deal. By Ken Olsen. Special to The Salt Lake Tribune. There is a growing controversy among wilderness supporters over the negotiations the Wilderness Society, Sierra Club and Idaho Conservation League are having with ranchers and the county commission of Owyhee County, the largest county in Idaho in area and the smallest in population. Whether the "Owyhee Initiative" is a good or a bad thing for protecting wilderness is a controversy expected to grow. A similar controversy is also growing in central Idaho over Representative Mike Simpsons' plans to designative a Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness, but also to hand over federal land and other benefits to anti-environment Custer County and ORV groups.
7-6-2003. Custer County hopes to strike it rich again with wildlands bill. Congressman proposes tradeoffs to revitalize weak rural economy. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Will this open up a new era of compromise over wilderness designation versus anti-wilderness rural counties, or will it fail like all other attempts to designate wilderness in Idaho since 1980?
5-16-2003. Idaho congressman Simpson wants to end central Idaho wilderness debate. By Anna Means. Challis Messenger. Conservationists have sought wilderness designation for the Boulder-White Clouds and other nearby roadless areas for 30 years. Will Simpson be able to craft a grand plan that satisfies enough interests so the debate will be resolved?

6-22-2003. Gale Norton Rouses Congress (with her anti-wilderness deals). Editorial by the New York Times.

6-11-2003. Governor seeks roadless rule exceptions. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau. Governor Freudenthal, like his predecessor, is still hot to cut the Dick Creek timber sale on the rainshadowed side of the Absaroka south of Meeteetse. One of the reasons the Clinton administration imposed the roadless area rule was to stop the waste of money from cutting areas with poor potential for regrowth and sustained timber management. [The reader will find several older articles about the stalled Dick Creek sale below].

6-7-2003.  Bush administration to allow Clinton national forest roadless rule to stand. ENN. By indirection at least, the Administration has allowed President Clinton's rule to prohibit permanent new road building on national forest roadless areas to stand. However, the Administration and most Republicans in Congress are working on ways to allow forest developments in roadless and other areas without environmental studies under the guise of "thinning" and the RS 2477 public highway scam under the mining law of 1860.

5-13-2003. Utah Governor's anti-wilderness actions prompt outdoor retailer trade to move out of state. By Bob Mims. Salt Lake Tribune. It's only fitting that politicians who destroy the outdoors ought not to benefit from outdoors business. Leavitt was apparently worried about the handful of votes from the sparsely populated rural Utah counties. Let him worry about something else.
Related 5-15-2003. Big Money New Voice in the Wilderness. By Holly Mullen Salt Lake Tribune Columnist.

5-10-2003. Opinion: Montana's Rocky Mountain Front is worth protecting. By Rick Graetz. Billings Gazette. The Rocky Mountain Front is not just a generic name for the Rockies in Montana, but a beautiful 200 mile long escarpment where the Rockies rise up from the Plains with no intervening foothills and grizzlies still wander down onto the Plains. It has long been beset by plans from the natural gas industry, but they have always been waylaid. The Front in Alberta has not been so fortunate and has raped by the oil companies.

5-6-2003. Some of the scenic San Rafael Swell closed to dirt bikes and ATVs. By Christopher Smart. Salt Lake Tribune. We used to visit this little known, but expansive scenic wonder in SE Central Utah, but the uncontrolled ATVs were trashing the area. Now there is a little hope.

Articles on the Bush Administration's plan to stop protecting BLM proposed wilderness and roadless areas.

5-11-2003. Secretary Norton Ignores the values of BLM Wilderness in Wyoming. "Perspective" by Liz Howell. Casper Star Tribune.
Related 5-6-2003. Environmentalists fight "Land Deal." By Brent Israelsen. The Salt Lake Tribune.
5-4-2003. Bah, Wilderness! Reopening a Frontier to Development. By Timothy Egan. New York Times. On the Bush Administration's deal to end wilderness consideration roadless BLM lands in the West.
Related, 4-20-2003. Assaulting Wilderness. Editorial. Salt Lake Tribune.
4-13-2003. Interior Department Plans to Limit BLM Proposed Wilderness to 23 Million Acres. New York Times. For those not familiar with this, there has been a 20 year battle to designate some wilderness on the hundreds of millions of acres of BLM-managed lands in the West. The most intense battle has been in the beautiful red rock, canyon country of SE Utah. After gaining during the Clinton Administration, wilderness supporters are close to losing the gains to the Bush Administration. Meanwhile, the final step, the actual designation of Wilderness by Congress, has crawled to a halt almost everywhere in the country, and Utah has contributed less to the National Wilderness Preservation System than any other western state.

3-13-2003. Forest Service won't lease for oil or gas near Gros Ventre Wilderness. Supervisor will reconsider oil and gas development when Forest Plan is revised. By Rebecca Huntington. Jackson Hole News and Guide. Some good news at a time when the oil industry seems to dominate everything.

2-16-2003. Forest Service to remove illegal salt baiting site from Teton Wilderness/YNP boundary. AP. Due to lack of funding volunteers may be needed. Added 2-17. Link to Bridger-Teton NF Reclamation of Salt-baiting sites. Your Comments were due March 7. Map of sites.

2-15-2003. Wilderness under siege. Mandatory permits to be required in two high-visitation hot spots Glenwood Springs Post Independent. By Dennis Webb.

2-4-2003. Showdowns looms between Colorado congressmen on wilderness/backcountry on the White River National Forest. By Deborah Frazier. Rocky Mountain News.

1-29-2003. Major national poll shows Americans want more Wilderness. January Zogby America Polling on Wilderness Protection. Pdf file.

1-27-2003. At the knees of forest's gains. By John McCarthy. Writers on the Range. On politics, fires, Bush, and the saving of the Deadwood roadless area in SW central Idaho.

1-22-2003. Time Running Out for Lewis and Clark's Wild Lands. By J.R. Pegg. ENS.

1-7-2003. Ninth Circuit Court: Montana wilderness study areas must be protected. By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian. In 1977 Congress said protect the wilderness quality of these roadless areas indefinitely until Congress acts. Meanwhile the Forest Service laughed it off, building ATV trails in the areas, allowing mineral exploration, and letting snowmobiles run amuck. Now these Forest Service bad stewards have lost in in court and face a trial.
1-10-2003 Views of the Montana Wilderness Association on the suit.

12-29-2002. Protecting the Boulder-White Clouds: Idaho Congressman Simpson hopes to craft compromise for Central Idaho. Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. 30 years of efforts to protect the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains may be reaching fruition, but the trade-offs might prove unacceptable.
Related. 11-27-2002. Preserving what we all love about Idaho. Idaho Mountain Express. Guest opinion by Linn Kincannon. About the Boulder-White Clouds proposed wilderness.

12-19-2002. Logging project in an Absaroka Range roadless area gets go-ahead. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette. This could be precedent setting. Hope it gets killed (again).
Earlier Story. 5-15-2002. Shoshone National Forest cancels the Controversial roadless area Dick Creek timber sale. By Mike Stark. Glad outdoor lovers forced the Shoshone to protect the roadless area from an economically marginal (or probably sub-marginal) timber sale. This is exactly why President Clinton made his roadless area protection rule --  most of the timber in these areas is cut at a subsidy, so we lose twice -- we lose the wild and lose tax money doing it.

12-13-2002. Ninth Circuit reinstates ban on building forest roads into roadless areas. Background and analysis by The Wilderness Society.
Related. 12-19-2002. Roadless area protection is helpful. Opinion of the Missoulian. "SUMMARY: Reinstated rule protects what deserves protecting while focusing attention on forest areas more in need of intense management."

11-24-2002. Red Table Wilderness proposal in Colorado could actually decrease protection. By Dennis Webb. Glenwood Spring Post Independent. No one should be fooled by Rep. Scott McInnis. He has called environmentalists "terrorists," blamed forest fires on environmentalists, and supports the party line of Blue Ribbon Coalition. He is behind this measure.

11-21-2002. Legislation to create the Wild Sky Wilderness fails as Congress adjourns.  By Charles Pope. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
12-1-2002. Timber companies eye Wild Sky trees. AP.

10-18-2002. Park Country Commission unhappy timber sale was scaled back to protect Absaroka Mountains area roadless area, grizzly bear, wolves and lynx. Billings Gazette. It's good the country commissioners didn't get their way. Wildlife and roadless beauty are much more important than a timber sale on this little-forested, dry side of of the mountains in the SE corner of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

10-6-2002. Proposed Wild Sky Wilderness area bursting with backcountry beauty. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

9-13-2002. Wild Sky Wilderness bill quickly passes key test in U. S. House. Logging, roads, vehicles would be banned in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie area. By Charles Pope. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

8-19-2002. The Scapegoat Wilderness: Montana's 'Citizen Wilderness.' By Pat Williams. O'Conner Center for the Rocky Mountain West.

-stories from 5-11 to 8-18 are missing-

5-10-2002. Higher court upholds rejection of  Wilderness road. AP.
4-5-2002. Judge denies proposal for road in Montana's Absaroka- Beartooth Wilderness. AP

4-26-2002. Major prescribed burn set for Scapegoat Wilderness in Montana. By Sonja Lee. Great Falls Tribune.

4-18-2002. Conservation groups find a majority of Idaho/Montana/Wyoming comments favored roadless areas. AP.

4-5-2002. Idaho citizens plan rally against Rock Creek mine. Missoulian. The mine, which has been fought for 20 years, would tunnel underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. It is in Montana near the Idaho border. Northern Idaho has suffered from 110 years of mining abuse, which took a toll on the area's wildlife, scenery, and people. In the 1890s there were 2 mining "wars" in northern Idaho. Miners, striking for higher pay and better working conditions were arrested by federal troops and actually put in concentration camps, euphemistically called "bullpens." In recent years, all but one of the mines closed, but toxic waste remains. Folks in northern Idaho are understandable not enthusiastic about waste washing downstream from a giant new mine.
4-2-2002. Opinion of the Missoulian. Handing of bad mine deserves more scrutiny.

2-26-2002. Quest for Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Continues. Rep. Simpson a cause for hope? Idaho Mountain Express. By Greg Stahl. It would be great if it happened, but can any member of the Idaho congressional delegation nowadays be trusted to push a wilderness bill that doesn't have a poison pill in it? My web site on the Boulder-White Clouds roadless area.

2-20-2002. Environmental groups protest air quality permit for mine under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. By KATHLEEN McLAUGHLIN of the Missoulian State Bureau

1-26-2002. Snowmobile Groups oppose wilderness protection limits for part of the Big Snowy Mountains of Montana. AP

12-26-2001. Forest Service continues to backslide on plan to protect remaining roadless areas. By Katherine Pfleger. AP

9-11-2001. Massive effort was made in last days to comment on roadless initiative. Missoulian. By Sherry Devlin.

9-6-2001.Environmentalists hope for 2 million responses to Bush's revision to the roadless protection. AP.
Related 9-7-2001. Groups back ban on new roads in national forests. By Katherine Pfleger. The Associated Press

7-13-2001. Conservation groups cry foul over extending lease for wilderness cabin By Clair Johnson. Billings Gazette Staff.

7-11-2001. Bush Administration fails to mount an appeal of Judge Lodge's ruling against the Clinton roadless forest protection. Idaho Statesman.

7-7-2001. Administration Revisits Forest Land Rules. Paper Industry, Western Governors Want Protective Regulation Scaled Back. Washington Post. This is in fact the beginning of formal public comment (legally required) so that the administration can abolish the protection of roadless areas, protection which was formally adopted by the Clinton Administration in a similar process.  It will mean a return to t he taxpayer subsidized logging of some of the country's most scenic areas; logging which would be uneconomic were it not for the subsidies.
7-6-2001 News Release by the Idaho Conservation League condemning the action.

6-7-2001. Montana's AG, McGrath steps into roadless appeal. AP. "Democratic Attorney General Mike McGrath, in a move that pits him against Republican Gov. Judy Martz, has told a federal court that the Clinton administration?s roadless plan should not be thrown out because of an alleged lack of public participation in its development."

5-23-2001. Judge tells Forest Service in Montana to restore original conditions in wilderness study areas. AP. Although this may seem like a bit of an obscure story if you don't follow roadless/wilderness issues closely, it is a great victory over the motorhead groups and their plans to ruin roadless areas with a death of a thousand cuts.
5-26-2001. Forest Service defends wilderness work. By Sherry Devlin. Missoulian In light of the ruling, agency will review action on protected land.
5-27-2001. Here is what the issue is all about. By Ralph Maughan

5-23-2001. Auditor says Martz lied about claims on roadless plan effects. AP.
5-24-2001. Democratic chief wants Martz to recant roadless letter. AP.

5-18-2001. Martz administration officials on Wednesday refused to identify even a single acre of state land that could not be managed if the Clinton administration?s roadless initiative is implemented. AP

5-17-2001. What would Bob Marshall think of "Communication Huts?" Editorial Great Falls Tribune.

5-16-2001. Idaho Judge Can't See the Forest for the Trees. Opinion of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

5-13-2001. Opinion of the Missoulian. A federal judge found a way to make the tortured roadless issue even more complicated.

5-11-2001. Roadless debate has gone on for decades By Pat Williams,  Senior fellow and regional policy associate O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West. Williams thankfully points out the roadless debate is nothing new, suddenly sprung on local Western public official as Judge Lodge would have us believe. It is a debate that has gone for more than a generation and anyone with the slightest interest in the outdoors knows where these areas are located.

5-5-2001. White House Reignites Battle on Forest Roads By Elizabeth Shogren. Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

5-4-2001. Bush retains Clinton roadless protection, sort of, maybe. Washington Post.  Here is Secretary of Agriculture Veneman's actual news release. It is hard to understand what her words mean, which is probably the intent. Political words are often deliberately ambiguous and abstract so people can read into them what they want to believe.

News. 5-3-2001. Where Roads Can Do Harm By Jim Lyons. New York Times. Op-ed. Good op-ed, but you will have to pay the NYT.

4-28-2001. Roadless areas' fate still unclear. Judge signals he won't uphold Clinton rule By Rocky Barker. The Idaho Statesman. Barker is wrong when he writes that the Clinton rule is popular nationwide, but scorned in the West. It is popular in most Western states, but scorned by many Western politicians who support continued welfare logging of roadless areas. I say "welfare" because almost all the logging is government subsidized and would not be regarded to have any economic merit without the subsidy. The case will be appealed to the 9th circuit court of appeals where what I regard as Judge Lodge's totally erroneous conclusions will probably be overturned.  Note added 11-26-2005. The ninth circuit came through, but the far right congressional delegation in some of the interior Western states have long been outraged at the ninth circuit. They are waging a campaign to split the ninth circuit and create a "cowboy" circuit court where right wing judges, agri-business, and oil and gas will dominate the law.

4-28-2001. Controversy in 2 Montana Wilderness Areas over poisoning to restock rare west slope cutthroat trout. By Brent French. Billings Gazette. Many wilderness lakes were unthinkingly stocked with non-native trout a long time ago. Now efforts to restore the original species meet with controversy.

4-26-2001. White House still Seeks to Scuttle Clinton Ban on Logging, Roads. Washington Post. Link dead

4-22-2001. New Forest Service chief raises concerns about "roadless" rule. In chat on MSNBC.com, Bosworth worries process was rushed. By Miguel Llanos. MSNBC

4-11-2001. Road ban heavily backed in Wyoming says Sierra Club. Billings Gazette.  Ed. note 11-26-2005. The timber industry and the Bush Administration developed a mythology that protecting the roadless areas was unpopular except in the East, but in fact public comment from Wyoming and Montana supported protecting their precious heritage.

4-8-2001. Missoulian editorial. Fight over roadless rules overblown. "The uproar over the national forest roadless initiative far exceeds the actual effect those rules have on land management in the northern Rockies."  I agree with the Missoulian. The controversy continues because the issue has become ideological. Opponents of protected these scenic areas of low value for extractive products just increasingly hate any protection of nature.

4-6-2001. Judge blasts Forest Service over roadless plan. Court: Public comment period was rushed. Associated Press. "Rushed?" 18 months and 1.6 million comments? Ed note from Nov. 25, 2005. Over the years, it has been standard political fare to complain of judicial activism. If this wasn't a case of that, and one intended to deny the public, it don't know of many clearer cases.

3-23-2001. Bush refuses to defend roadless rule against Idaho lawsuit. By Douglas Jehl.

3-17-2001. Forest Rules [Protecting Roadless areas] postponed Again by Bush By Douglas Jehl. New York Times. Looks like Bush is going to be the worst President ever on environmental issues. Ed. note Nov. 25, 2005. Hyperbole at the time. Unfortunately I was dead right.

2-6-2001. Bush delays roadless plan. AP. Well I guess it didn't get through the noose fast enough, although Bush will still have a hard time undoing it. No doubt legal briefs will soon be one their way. Ed. note from 2005. The ugly attitude of the Bush Administration toward our country's natural heritage emerged quickly.

2-5-2001 Roadless plan: Report says Montana economy won't suffer. Missoulian. By Sherry Devlin. Anyone who understands a little economics and has experience visiting roadless areas should not be surprised by this conclusion. Roadless areas were without roads because they are usually rugged, high elevation, cold and often relatively arid. Resources, such as timber, can be profitably extracted from them only when the activity was subsidized by the taxpayer to make it artificially profitable.

1-29-2001. Roadless plan slides to safety. Dombeck stakes out his vision for federal forests. by Kirsten Bovee. High Country News.

Subsequent Reactions to President Clinton's final order:

  • 1-6-2001. Celebration or condemnation: Reaction in Montana spans the spectrum. By Clair Johnson and Jim Gransbery. Billings Gazette.

  • I deleted about 10 other stories due to dead links. . . . Ralph Maughan

12-22-2000 Lawsuit seeks to build road into Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. Associated Press. This is an outrageous proposal to build a road into the heart of one of the largest and most pristine wilderness areas in the country so the guy can build a few vacation lodges. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition will intervene into the lawsuit. All road building is supposed to be prohibited by law in designated wilderness areas.

November 20, 2000. In last days, Clinton begins environmental offensive. . . The ambitious plan to protect forests is being called historic and could bolster his conservation legacy. By Todd Wilkinson Special to The Christian Science Monitor.

November 15, 2000. Final roadless area proposal environmental impact statement was released. I had links to about 20 stories, but most of the links went dead as time passed.

July 14, 2000. Roadless debate touches all users of Rock Creek [WY]. By Michael Milstein Billing Gazette Wyoming  Bureau.   

  • Stories on the public hearings on the roadless area plan: Note that Governor Bush is saying the public was not consulted. In fact, 1.5-million comments were generated (maybe not the public he wanted to comment).
    June 20. Salt Lake City. Salt Lake Tribune. Environmentalists rule hearing; but Kennecott Minerals objects to the plan to protect remaining roadless area.

  • June 21. Portland, OR. Hearing on plan to protect forests draws differing sides. Oregonian.

  • June 22. Idaho Falls hearing about 50:50 by Ralph Maughan.

  • June 22. Timber makes its big push a Missoula hearing, 2000 attend. by Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian.

  • June 22, 2000. Spin and counterspin on the Missoula roadless hearing/rally. Missoula Independent. June 29

  • June 22. 300 at Helena roadless meeting. Enviros win 3:1. Billings Gazette.

  • June 28. Results of the Ketchum, Idaho hearing. Push for stringent roadless measure Locals: end logging, roads in federal forests. Idaho Mountain Express.

The roadless plan is a big step forward in that the plan proposes no more permanent roads will be built on the roadless areas our national forests, but it falls far short in that it places no control on dirt bikes, and their more damaging cousin, all terrain vehicles, which are now so powerful they can go over almost any kind of terrain, often creating what amounts to a "ghost road" with just one pass.

  • May 10. CNN. Forest Service roadless plan is a detour, say critics

  • May 10. Ban on roads would include 5.8 million acres in state [Montana] By Sherry Devlin of the Missoulian. Forest Service unveils proposed roadless plan for 43 million acres.

  • May 10 Oregonian. Road ban in forests wins few accolades. Environmentalists and timber interests criticize the plan for 43 million acres that permits managers to grant exemptions.

  • May 10. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Forest Service road proposal sparks outcry. By Robert McClure.

  • May 10 Billings Gazette. No Closures of Existing Roads. Roadless proposal detailed in terms of what it won?t do. By Michael Milstein. Gazette Wyoming Bureau

  • May 11. Oregonian. U.S. forest road ban may doom ski resort. President Clinton's plan throws doubt on the Pelican Butte ski project and has both supporters and critics expressing regret Thursday, May 11, 2000.  I beg to differ.  This is a great reason why Clinton's bad on roads in undeveloped areas area is great idea even though it doesn't ban terrain destroying, cross country vehicles.  It will short-circuit a lot of projects like this plan to disrupt a lovely Cascade volcano (Pelican Butte).

  • May 10 Forest Service limits new roads, Over half a million Sawtooth acres get new protection. by Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express.

  • May 14. Next phase of roadless debate By SHERRY DEVLIN of the Missoulian. Meetings upcoming to hear comments on Forest Service proposal

  • May 28. Oregonian. Roadless lands forums spark flurry of lobbying. Advocates of all stripes call in reinforcements to rally citizen participation at 300 public meetings on Clinton's proposal. 

March 31, 2000. Idaho majority supports Roadless Area protection. News Release Idaho Conservation League. This is a very ambitious poll. It was taken not just in Idaho but in ten other states too. Most national polls do not have enough respondents to generalize to the state level. The poll must have been expensive. The state most supportive of protecting roadless areas was Wisconsin; the least was Montana; but even there a majority supported protected the remaining national forest roadless areas. A summary of the eleven-state survey is at http://www.ourforests.org/info/poll2000/nationalsum.pdf  This requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

  • 3-31-2000. The story from Montana. Poll: Most Montanans support roadless plan: Support in Montana slimmest among 11 states surveyed. Missoulian

  • 3-31-2000. Poll: Most back roadless areas Nearly two-thirds of surveyed Idaho residents support efforts to protect forests. Spokane Spokesman Review. (link has expired)

  • 4-1-2000. Surveys find many support saving forests: Respondents in 11 states are polled on President Clinton's roadless-area preservation plan. By Jonathan Brinckman of The Oregonian staff

Feb. 18, 2000. Court Dumps Idaho Roadless Area Lawsuit.  This is the news release from conservation organizations pleased with the court's action.

Feb. 20, 2000.  Support of Roadless Areas not Un-American. Guest Opinion. Billings Gazette. Personally, if anyone is un-American I think it's the "Sagebrush rebels" in northern Nevada and other pockets of the West. They are out to destroy the beauty and wildlife of the west and steal our public lands.

Feb. 13, 2000. Keep Roadless areas, Roadless, Opinion of the Missoulian.  Missoula, Montana.

Feb.10, 2000. Bob Marshall Wilderness: land of immense diversity, part I. Feature from the Billings Gazette by Rick Graetz..  The "Bob" is the largest protected Wilderness in Montana. Feb. 17 Bob Marshall's terrain provides varied experience, part II on "The Bob." Billings Gazette.

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