Wilderness

A lost Boise dog is back home after nine months and a brutal winter alone in the Idaho mountains.
Mo, an elderly Chesapeake Bay Retriever, wandered away from her owners during a hunting trip last September.

Darwin and Cindy Cameron stayed near the tiny hamlet of Horseshoe Bend about 30 miles north of Boise for three months looking for Mo. But deep snow and harsh conditions eventually made the search impossible.

Ed Cannady / edcannadyphotography.com

A new book takes a unique look at Idaho’s wild places. Titled “Idaho Wilderness Considered,” the book is more than a field guide to the state’s backcountry. It includes personal journeys, political stories and historical snapshots of the wilderness character of Idaho.

Co-editor Murray Feldman says the book grew out of the Idaho Humanities Council’s two year-long reading and conversation series on wilderness. The catalyst was the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014.

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.

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.

Marsha Davies

Volunteers are scheduled to break ground Saturday on the rebuilding of the Big Creek Lodge in the Payette National Forest.

For 75 years, Big Creek Lodge was the vacation spot for hundreds of pilots, campers, and firefighters, looking for adventure in the remote Payette National Forest. But seven years ago, the lodge burned to the ground.

Now, the Forest Service and a non-profit group are working to rebuild.

This is an encore interview and was originally broadcast in October 2014.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s dedication and perseverance led to the preservation of some of our greatest national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife sanctuaries. Thanks to Roosevelt’s vision and foresight, our children’s grandchildren can enjoy species that in a not-too-distant past were threatened with extinction, and visit natural areas that today remain as pristine and untouched as they were a century or more ago.

Bruce Reichert / Idaho Public Television

Idaho Public Television is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a sweeping hour-long look at Idaho's wild places. The program Outdoor Idaho traveled to all seven of Idaho’s wilderness areas -- and two proposed wilderness areas -- to tell the story of the state's protected places.

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Greg Dusic / U.S. Forest Service

Fifty years ago, the Wilderness Act was signed into law, setting aside large areas of land in their natural state. Today, almost 110 million acres have been designated as wilderness by the U.S. Congress.

Idaho is celebrating the milestone with a lecture series in the shadow of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, sandwiched between Atlanta and Stanley.

mountains, pine trees, forest
U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

Bonner County commissioners in northern Idaho are urging the U.S. Forest Service not to designate any more lands as potential federally protected wilderness in the Kootenai and Panhandle national forests.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports in a story on Sunday that commissioners say there are other ways for pristine areas to be preserved.

Commissioner Mike Nielsen says Scotchman Peak needs to be protected but that wilderness protection would isolate adjacent areas where trails are groomed for snowmobile riders.

Trees, Forests
Boise State Public Radio

  A draft forest management plan is recommending making more than 25,000 acres of the Scotchman Peaks area in northern Idaho and Montana part of a federally protected wilderness.

The recommendation is part of a draft record of decision developed for the Kootenai and Panhandle national forests.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports the new draft updates the existing 1987 plan and will guide management of the forests for the next 15 years.

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is following other western states including Utah that have taken on the issue of transferring federal lands to state control.  Utah’s governor last year signed off on a measure supporting this. Now Idaho lawmakers have given the green light on a resolution to do the same.  

Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway Tuesday reminded his colleagues this is a resolution that doesn’t have legally binding teeth. 

Trails Of Trouble On Wild Land

Mar 18, 2013
Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Some federal budget cuts can be found in places you might not be looking -- deep in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. For hikers and horse packers, frustration is mounting over the state of disrepair of recreational trails on public land.

The Northwest has more than 11-million acres of mountains, forests and other wild places designated as Wilderness Areas.

That amounts to thousands of miles of trails that lace their way through the wilderness.

remster_9 / Flickr

In Portland Friday, a federal appeals court heard a challenge to Idaho’s roadless rule.

Environmental groups argued the rule gives the Forest Service too much flexibility to build new roads.  The courtroom was packed.

A dozen people made the trip from Idaho to sit in silent support of the state’s roadless rule, including former Idaho governor Jim Risch and the chair of the Kootenai tribe.