As summer approaches, here is a short update on important wildland issues. The Clearwater Basin Collaborative has released their “win-win” proposal for protecting lands in the Clearwater Basin. The only problem is, the proposed legislation will do more harm than good, if carried out! Here’s why:
- The proposal could allow the Idaho Fish & Game Department to “manage for fish & wildlife populations” in new designated wilderness areas–code word for landing helicopters and using other motorized/mechanized equipment. This language is contrary to the 1964 Wilderness Act.
- The proposal could allow outfitters to maintain existing structures and/or camps in newly designated wilderness, grant outfitters veto authority over the Forest Service in whether or not a structure/camp ever needs to be relocated, and would pay outfitters for maintaining trails on the national forest. The 1964 Wilderness Act prohibits commercial services and makes a narrow and limited exception for services like outfitting. This proposal does just the opposite.
- The proposal will support a North-South All-Terrain Vehicle Route between Avery and Elk City. We have serious concerns about what this means.
- There are approximately 1.5-million acres of roadless wildlands in the Clearwater Basin. Besides the potential toxic language in future legislation, only 1/5 or 300,000-acres will receive wilderness designation. Paltry to say the least.
- A significant increase in logging of roaded areas on the national forests, like Clear Creek.
After a short delay, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed delisting wolves nationwide, signaling an end to wolf recovery efforts across the United States. This, despite letters recently sent to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell from conservation groups and leading scientists claiming that the job is not done and delisting would be premature. The Mexican grey wolf would be exempted from the proposal. Read more.
Wilderness and wolves are in the cross-hairs,