WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts praised legislation passed today by the U.S. Senate designating more than 275,000 acres of public land as wilderness in central Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds region. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act would protect these wild places for future generations while promoting recreational activities that drive local economies and facilitate the voluntary retirement of eligible grazing permits. The legislation was sponsored by Senator James E. Risch (R-ID). A companion bill, introduced by Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID), cleared the U.S House of Representatives on July 27. The measure now goes to the president for his signature.
Mike Matz, director of Pew’s U.S. public lands program, issued this statement:
“This is a great day for all Americans who treasure central Idaho’s beautiful Boulder-White Cloud Mountains. This natural gem is one of largest unprotected wild places in the Lower 48 states, with magnificent 10,000-foot peaks, sparkling alpine lakes, and flower-filled meadows teeming with wildlife. The area also affords opportunities for world-famous hunting, fishing, and recreation.
“We appreciate the commitment and leadership of Representative Mike Simpson, Senator Jim Risch, and the Idaho delegation in safeguarding the Boulder-White Clouds region and enhancing the economies of its adjacent communities. Their vision, and dedication to preserving this iconic place, will be appreciated by Idahoans and visitors alike for generations to come.
“Pew has worked with the Idaho delegation and local partners for more than a decade to move this legislation forward. It has been a challenging path over many years, with difficult compromises required of all stakeholders. But perseverance, a balanced agreement, and solid local support have made passage a reality in the House and Senate and shown that wilderness is truly our country’s common ground.
“We are delighted that the Boulder-White Clouds will finally be safeguarded as wilderness—the strongest protection available for a national landscape. We urge the president to sign this important measure into law so that this spectacular area will be conserved forever.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at www.pewtrusts.org.