Simpson’s Boulder White Clouds Passes Senate Bill now heads to the President’s Desk

Odin

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Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson’s legislation H.R. 1138, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act, today passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent.

“The passage of this bill is a huge victory for Idahoans who’ve worked for over 15 years to create a land management plan for the Boulder White Clouds,” said Simpson. “I am grateful for each and every person who participated in crafting this solution over the years and I am especially grateful to Senator Jim Risch who worked relentlessly to see this pass the U.S. Senate today.”

Specifically Simpson’s legislation will do the following:

Sawtooth National Recreation Area: The Sawtooth National Forest would remain as the principle administrative body and the current management would remain intact under the existing SNRA law (PL 92-400) and the existing SNRA management and travel plans. The Challis BLM would remain the managers of the East Fork BLM and Salmon-Challis National Forest areas.

Wilderness: Three new wilderness areas would be created totaling 275,665 acres. They are the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness (88,079 acres), the White Clouds Wilderness (90,841 acres) and the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness (117,040). The total wilderness acreage would be reduced by 36,968 acres from the original CIEDRA bill that would have created 332,928 acres.

Multiple Use: Four wilderness study areas would be released back to multiple use: the Jerry Peak Wilderness Study Area, the Jerry Peak West Wilderness Study Area, the Corral-Horse Basin Wilderness Study Area, the Boulder Creek Wilderness Study Area and any USFS recommended wilderness not made wilderness totaling 155,003 acres. This is up 23,333 acres released from the original CIEDRA bill which totaled 131,670.

Motorized Use: No roads that are currently open to vehicles, or trails that are currently open to two wheeled motorized use would be closed. The Grand Prize and Germania trails (including the ridge in between) and the Frog Lake Loop would be excluded from wilderness and remain open to two wheeled motorized use under the existing SNRA travel plan. The following higher elevation snowmobiling areas would remain open as allowed under the existing SNRA travel plan: 4th of July Basin, Washington Basin, Phyllis Lake Basin, Champion Lakes and Warm Springs Meadows.

Mountain Bikes: All areas currently open to mountain bikes outside of the proposed wilderness will remain open. Under CIEDRA, the 4th of July trail would have been closed to mountain bikes and will now remain open. This allows the Pole Creek/Washington Basin/4th of July loops to remain open. The Germania/Grand Prize Corridor trails and all trails outside of the wilderness would remain open to mountain bikes subject to the SNRA travel plan.

Grazing: Grazing plays an important role in the heritage and economies of rural Idaho and Custer County. Along the East Fork of the Salmon River, generational ranching families provide significant benefits in maintaining the historic character and nature of East Fork while providing significant conservation benefits to the land, including sustaining the wide, open spaces and un-fragmented landscapes of the East Fork valley. In order to provide another tool for these families to maintain their livelihoods, a provision has been included to provide permittees within and adjacent to the proposed wilderness areas with a way to help them remain viable with as little disruption as possible. Permittees with allotments within the boundaries of the “Boulder White Clouds Grazing Area Map” would be allowed to voluntarily retire their grazing permits and be eligible for compensation from a third party conservation group. With this compensation, it is hoped that the ranching families will be able to create more secure and certain opportunities for future generations.

Support to Counties: Over $5 million in grants have been provided to Custer County and the surrounding Boulder-White Clouds communities for a community center, a county health clinic and EMT support, and improvements to Trail Creek Highway. Individual parcels of land will be conveyed to Custer and Blaine counties, and rural communities for public purposes the per latest CIEDRA bill.

Recreation Support: Over $1.5 million in grants have been provided to the SNRA for trail maintenance and improvements, including maintenance and improvements to existing motorized trails and two existing trails to provide primitive wheelchair access, and for acquiring the land to build a mechanized bike/snowmobile access trail between Redfish Lake and Stanley.

http://simpson.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398468
 

Ben Long

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IMO, WIlderness Designation is for the best, most prime wild country America has to offer. The Boulder-White Clouds definitely fall into that category. Good on my home state of Idaho.
 

Ben Lamb

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This is great news. Sportsmen helped push this over the edge and worked well with the Idaho conservation community. This is the kind of stuff that can occur when we work with other interests instead of push them aside.

Representative Simpson deserves a lot of credit on this. He's been a champ for a long time on several conservation fronts.
 

RobG

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This is great news. Sportsmen helped push this over the edge and worked well with the Idaho conservation community. This is the kind of stuff that can occur when we work with other interests instead of push them aside.

Representative Simpson deserves a lot of credit on this. He's been a champ for a long time on several conservation fronts.

I remember when he was elected back in the days of the acerbic wingnuts Helen Chenoweth and Larry Craig. He was an Idaho anomaly from day one, willing to meet with ICL on something right away.
 

elkmagnet

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Talk about watering down the word "wilderness".
I honestly don't mind the outcome but I think we need a different word to describe it than wilderness. Mutually beneficial political compromise? Yeah I think this was an MBPC. 5 mill in bribes to essentially keep thing the same as they are today. I'm just not feeling it.
 

roknHS

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I like few roads, I like multiple use. I'm not a wilderness fan. I've watched the mismanagement of the Selway-Bitterroot country for years by the Forest Service. They have let most of the trails that once laced the back country together go back to nothing. They force all the traffic on the few trails they maintain and then complain about over use. Like most government run operations, it makes little sense. Idaho has so much wilderness that essentially no one can enjoy cause you can't get there. And if you are older or disabled and unable to mount a horse you're totally screwed. We're talking millions of acres that are locked up for eternity. If you are a super-hero backpacker you might get some use out of it. I think it is a crime to lock it up and then make it nearly impossible for people to access it.
Maybe this Simpson deal is the way to go. Like elkmagnet says, "5 mill in bribes to essentially keep things the same as they are today." Maybe I'll like the new 21st century wilderness better than I like the old stuff.
Google search Forest Service maps of the Lochsa and Selway country and compare the number of trails that were there in the early 60's and the number maintained today. 90% are gone. Sad but true.
 

shoots-straight

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I like few roads, I like multiple use. I'm not a wilderness fan. I've watched the mismanagement of the Selway-Bitterroot country for years by the Forest Service. They have let most of the trails that once laced the back country together go back to nothing. They force all the traffic on the few trails they maintain and then complain about over use. Like most government run operations, it makes little sense. Idaho has so much wilderness that essentially no one can enjoy cause you can't get there. And if you are older or disabled and unable to mount a horse you're totally screwed. We're talking millions of acres that are locked up for eternity. If you are a super-hero backpacker you might get some use out of it. I think it is a crime to lock it up and then make it nearly impossible for people to access it.
Maybe this Simpson deal is the way to go. Like elkmagnet says, "5 mill in bribes to essentially keep things the same as they are today." Maybe I'll like the new 21st century wilderness better than I like the old stuff.
Google search Forest Service maps of the Lochsa and Selway country and compare the number of trails that were there in the early 60's and the number maintained today. 90% are gone. Sad but true.

Do you only access Wilderness areas by foot, or horse. I like going where others don't so trails that are left alone are GREAT.

There's far more of our forests in multiple use than are wilderness so you should be very happy. More roads than you could ever travel in a lifetime.

God's not making any more wilderness so it's fair to conserve as much for future generations as we can. The Selway wilderness, (like most) are heavily used. Just not exploited by extractive Industries. Maybe the Idaho side doesn't get the attention that the Montana side does. I've been over there during bear season and it looks like it's used.

Considering that only 7% of our lands are "Preserved" that means Wilderness, National, and State Parks. I don't think we've over done it. http://www.fia.fs.fed.us/library/briefings-summaries-overviews/docs/ForestFactsMetric.pdf

Of the total lands of the Us, only 5% of those Lands are in Wilderness designation, most of that is in Alaska. Take just the lower 48 and we are sitting at 2.7% of the lands protected that way. http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/fastfacts

Idaho is third place in State acres protected that way, in the lower 48.
 
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6speed

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I like few roads, I like multiple use.

Then you should be pretty happy about this. It protected hundreds of thousands of acres as wilderness and opened what was wilderness study designated land to multiple use.
 

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