Idaho Wilderness Campaigns
Idaho has 11,613,300 acres of BLM lands, 20,715,205 acres of National Forest. The last wilderness areas designated in Idaho were in the Omnibus Law signed by President Obama in March 2009: Big Jacks Creek, Bruneau-Jarbridge Rivers, Little Jacks Creek, North Fork, Owyhee River, and Pole Creek.
Boulder-White Cloud Mountains
Bill Title: Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act
Bill Number: H.R. 163
Sponsors: Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Summary: On January 5, 2011 Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) introduced legislation to permanently protect over 330,000 acres of wilderness in central Idaho. Boulder-White Clouds is the largest unprotected wild roadless area in the national forests of the lower 48 states. Its broad range of elevations and habitats gives it enormous biological and geographical diversity. Since the land is uninterrupted by roads, Boulder-White Clouds is a popular hunting and fishing destination, with spawning salmon and big game such as elk, moose, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, black bear, and cougar. The area boasts tremendous recreation opportunities and spectacular scenery, and is popular with Idahoans as well as thousands of people who come from out-of-state to enjoy these lands.
Spanning the Idaho/Montana state line just east of Sandpoint, Idaho, the 80,000-acre proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness might well be nicknamed the “bastion of the goats” for the mountain goats that find wild refuge in its craggy peaks. The larger portion of this rugged area lies in Montana, but support for congressional wilderness protection comes from nearby communities in both states, including Noxon, Montana, and Hope and Clark Fork, Idaho. As one elected official writes, “I have spent many days hunting, fishing and camping in hundreds of places throughout this wilderness.” Thinking back to his first visit in 1964, he added: “Each time I enter the Scotchmans, I return to that first visit so many years ago. Time has stood still, I am young again and all is right with the world. The Scotchman Peaks area is truly a ‘fountain of youth'.”
The Clearwater Basin, a nine-million acre landscape in north-central Idaho and Montana, is part of the largest public wildlands complex in the continental United States. The Basin holds the Clearwater River and its tributaries, which flow into the Snake River -- a major tributary of the Columbia River. The Clearwater Basin is reknowned for its biological diversity, with virtually all the species present when Lewis and Clark passed through 200 years ago still persisting. Many species remain whose historic populations are dramatically threatened elsewhere: mountain goats, native cutthroat trout, wolverine, and whitebark pine. Much of this region remains unprotected. A collaborative stakeholder process is currently underway to determine how to protect the land and the communities in this region.