Big Wild Bi-Weekly August 17, 2012

Hope everyone has been having an excellent summer! After launching our new website we have been focusing on field work and getting out as much as possible.

In this edition, we will focus on placer mining claims on the N. Fork Clearwater, the Weitas Bridge replacement project, wildland fire suppression efforts, threats to wilderness, an upcoming wolf rally in Coeur d’Alene, and a shout out to the Great Old Broads for Wilderness!

According to the Bureau of Land Management, there are currently 12 proposed placer mining claims on the N. Fork Clearwater. We are requesting that you consider writing a letter to District Ranger Kathy Rodriguez to deny these permits for the following reasons:

  • N. Fork Clearwater is blue-ribbon fishery and a potential candidate for Wild & Scenic River status.
  • The river contains crucial habitat for bull trout and west-slope cutthroat trout.
  • Riparian areas contain important habitat for harlequin duck, north leopard frog, wolverine and fisher.
  • Suction dredge mining has a negative affect on water quality and watershed integrity.
  • Displacement of river users and conflicts with traditional recreation uses.

Under the 1955 Mining Claims Restoration Act, the Forest Service has the ability to deny the permits for the above-mentioned reasons. Comments can be sent to District Ranger Kathy Rodriguez, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, 12730 Highway 12, Orofino, ID. 83544. Emails can be sent to

This is a reminder that the Forest Service is currently accepting public comments on what to do with the damaged and closed Weitas Bridge on the N. Fork Clearwater. We encourage you to submit a comment requesting that the agency not fix and/or replace the bridge.

  • The agency does not appear to have the resources to either fix the bridge and/or demolish the bridge and build a new one. Money should be allocated to more urgent issues on the forest.
  • Weitas Creek is a proposed wilderness area and it makes no sense to encourage motorized use into the area. Off-road vehicle abuse is already a large problem.
  • There are a variety of ways to access the area, using existing roads and trails.

Letters can be mailed to Weitas Bridge Comments, North Fork Ranger District, 12730 Highway 12, Orofino, ID. 83544. Emails can be sent to

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell recently issued an order to have all wildland fires suppressed, including fires burning in places like the Frank Church and Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas. Citizens, including certain employees of the agency, are largely disappointed in this turn-back-the-clock directive that completely ignores the benefits of fire, and the great strides the agency has made over the years to allow fire to fulfill their ecological role across landscapes like designated wilderness. Along with ecological implications, a blanket suppression policy appears to be a fiscally irresponsible decision. Read George Wuerthner’s latest article on the subject:

If you have not had the chance, please take the time to write your representatives concerning the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, HR 4089. This thinly disguised measure will practically gut the Wilderness Act and enable things like motorized recreation in places like the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Click here to take action:

A second threat to the National Wilderness Preservation System is the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act, HR 6039. After Wilderness Watch successfully challenged the building of the lookout by using helicopters in designated wilderness, a local Congressman has recently introduced a bill that would overturn the court’s ruling. Sound familiar? Read this action alert and help us keep wilderness wild:

FOC is working with the Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance, Predator Defense, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Footloose Montana and the Center for Biological Diversity to stage a wolf rally on Thursday August 30th, 3:30 – 7:30pm, at Fort Sherman/Coeur d’Alene City Park. This day marks the beginning of the 2012-2013 wolf hunt on public lands in Idaho.

On Friday September 7th we will be having our 25th Anniversary BBQ Bash at East City Park in Moscow. Note, the original date for the barbecue was August 24th. On Saturday September 8th we will be hiking to Fish Butte in the Fish-Hungery Creek roadless area. Please refer to the event calendar on the front page of our new web site for all three events:

Lastly, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Great Old Broads for Wilderness for sponsoring the Weitas As Wilderness Broadwalk at the Wilderness Gateway Campground from August 2-6. Dozens of people from around the country walked away having a piece of Wild Clearwater Country in their heart. Just as importantly, they learned why the Clearwater Basin Collaborative is an illegitimate process and threat to the largest undeveloped watershed complex in the lower 48. Learn more about the Broads:


Question collaboration,







Comments are closed.