Boulder White Clouds

Rocky Barker / Idaho Statesman

During the 1970 gubernatorial race, Democrat Cecil Andrus made saving Castle Peak from mining a key issue in his campaign.

A conservative Republican congressman and a prominent environmentalist who put aside their differences to become partners in passing a sweeping Idaho wilderness bill are the 2016 recipients of City Club of Boise's Dottie and Ed Stimpson Award for Civic Engagement.

Congressman Mike Simpson and ICL Director Rick Johnson received their award after leading an effort that involved many, collaborating over the course of 15 years to draft multiple wilderness proposals, build local consensus and then win national support.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

A draft management plan for two recently created central Idaho wilderness areas prohibits campfires at high elevations to protect whitebark pine and eliminates horses and other recreational stock in some areas to protect alpine soils.

The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Monday the availability of the 67-page document intended to guide management of the 138-square-mile Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness and the 142-square-mile White Clouds Wilderness.

Matt Leidecker

It’s been almost a year since President Obama signed a bill establishing three new Wilderness areas in Idaho’s Boulder-White Cloud Mountains. With the designation comes tourism, and one writer wants to help more people explore the landscape.

Matt Leidecker has written five guidebooks, including one on Sun Valley and one on the Sawtooths. His fifth book, “Exploring the Boulder-White Clouds - A Comprehensive Guide,” comes out this month.

Idaho STEP Challenge website

We all know the conventional wisdom: If you want to lose weight, you have to exercise more and eat less. Representative Mike Simpson took this advice, and says he’s lost 70 pounds in the last year-and-a-half. The nine-term Idaho congressman says he eats better and credits a Fitbit given to him by his wife, which tracks how much he walks.

Now, he’s encouraging his constituents to join his turn toward a healthier lifestyle.

Craig Gehrke / The Wilderness Society

Back on August 7th, President Obama signed a bill that turned 275,000 acres of the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains into wilderness.

The law creates three wilderness areas in Blaine and Custer counties. Conservationists like Craig Gehrke, director of the Idaho office of the Wilderness Society, says the wilderness designation was a long time coming.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

Conservationists in Idaho continue to celebrate the designation of nearly 300,000 acres of wilderness area in the central part of the state. The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to approve a bill that would designate large sections of the region as federally protected.

The vote was the second on the proposal in eight days.  The House passed the bill last week and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

A new wilderness in Idaho is one step away.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill protecting 275,000 acres in central Idaho.

The U.S. House or Representatives passed similar legislation last week meaning it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

The push to protect almost 300,000 acres in central Idaho has picked up steam the last few weeks. A bill that would designate the Boulder-White Clouds mountains a wilderness area is in front of the U.S. Senate this week, and if it passes, will be on President Obama’s desk next.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

When Rick Johnson learned Monday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would designate nearly 300,000 acres in central Idaho as wilderness - he was cautiously optimistic.  

Johnson is the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. He’s among the Idahoans closely watching the progress of a bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

“It’s not the most functional legislative body the world has ever seen these days, so I think a lot of people retain a certain amount of skepticism,” he says.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

Forty-four staffers who worked for U.S. Sen. Frank Church have sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to designate a national monument in central Idaho.

The letter dated Tuesday notes that the Idaho Democrat worked to preserve much of the state's wild areas during his 24 years in the Senate and that the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness is named in his honor.

A plan by Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho to designate a wilderness in the area has failed for years, though Simpson is working another effort.

Rick Gerrard / Idaho Public Television

Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Risch derailed a 2010 wilderness bill but says he's working now with U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson on a scaled-down version as others attempt to persuade President Barack Obama to designate a central Idaho area a national monument.

Risch, a Republican, tells the Idaho Statesman in a story on Sunday that he's looking forward to carrying a bill that he says is a collaborative product.

Castle Peak, Baker Ranch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama’s visit to Boise is a rare chance for Idaho groups to get their messages in front of the nation’s leader. Organizations critical of the President are organizing demonstrations outside the Boise State University sports complex where he'll speak Wednesday afternoon. Others will rally for causes and issues hoping to get attention from Obama.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

The Ketchum City Council has approved a resolution supporting a proposal to designate a national monument in central Idaho.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the council voted 3-0 earlier this week to back a plan to create a national monument in the Boulder-White Clouds. One member abstained from the vote.

The Idaho Conservation League, Wilderness Society and others want the Obama administration to create a 591,905-acre national monument in the Boulder-White Clouds using the Antiquities Act.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists and mountain bikers have reached agreement on a proposal for protecting the Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument.

The Idaho Statesman reported Tuesday that the agreement creates zones to maintain wilderness characteristics in some areas, while continuing mountain bike access to the popular area north of Sun Valley.

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