New Bill Includes Half a Million Acres of Proposed Idaho Wilderness
Author: teddygirl | Monday April 30, 2007
The following is from the Campaign for America’s Wilderness, an organization that is working to achieve lasting protection for threatened wild lands.
March, as they say, comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This year in Washington, DC, March also came and went with more wilderness legislation. On March 7, Senator Mike Crapo (R-UT) introduced S. 802, the Owyhee Initiative Implementation Act of 2007.
Senator Crapo’s Owyhee Initiative Implementation Act would protect 517,000 acres of wilderness in the Owyhee Mountains of southwest Idaho. In addition to more than a half-million acres of new wilderness, the Owyhee Initiative protects traditional uses, releases some wilderness study areas, and conserves water rights. Sen. Crapo describes the Owyhee Initiative as a “cultural preservation bill” because it protects and preserves a historic way of life and important wildlands, both of which are facing many threats in the new century. Over the last six years, many different interest groups have been involved in the discussions over what the future of Owyhee County should look like and how land there should be managed. The Owyhee County Commission, Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society are some of the groups involved in the discussions that led to this historic legislative proposal.
Senator Crapo wrote about his bill recently in The Idaho Statesman, saying, “The Owyhee Initiative transforms conflict and uncertainty into conflict resolution and assurance of future activity. The Shoshone-Paiute Tribe knows cultural resources will be protected. Ranchers can plan for subsequent generations. Off-road vehicle users have access assured. Wilderness is established. The Air Force will continue to train pilots. Local, state and federal government agencies will have structure to assist their joint management of the region. And this will all happen within the context of environmental preservation and ecological health. This is indeed a revolutionary land management structure — one that looks ahead to the future.”
S. 802 is the same bill Sen. Crapo introduced at the end of the last Congress.
As April now reigns upon us, wilderness lovers are looking forward to more than April showers. Work continued through March on wilderness proposals in Oregon, Arizona, Virginia, California, and elsewhere in anticipation of legislation in the near future.
For more information, visit Campaign for America’s Wilderness' website at http://www.leaveitwild.org