I was reading the Sandpoint Reader this morning and saw a paid ad on p.26 in the May 3, 2018 issue, regarding the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness proposal, and the advisory vote coming up in Bonner County on May 15th. Part of the ad states, “Managing for forest health, fire risk and wildlife habitat is not permitted in Wilderness.”
This is an outright lie and a perpetuation of misinformation aimed at rousing fear and anger in people who believe that the one cookie they think they want, they can’t have… “MINE!”
What I mean by that is, there are already measures in place for wildfire management. According to scotchmanpeaks.org, ‘Section 4(d) of the Wilderness Act states that “such measures may be taken as necessary in the control of fires, insects and diseases” within wilderness.’
In addition, the statement that wildlife habitat is not managed is ridiculous since the area is still open to hunting and fishing, so naturally the Idaho Fish & Game will still be involved. The Wilderness Act of 1964 even allows for grazing in wilderness areas, although this is not an issue with Scotchman’s since it is so rugged. I’ll bet half the people intending to advisory-vote against this proposal have never even been to the trailhead of this area. Or seen the devastation by unchecked logging practices on the way up there, driving past Sugarloaf Mountain (part-privately owned). They just want to get on the bandwagon against The Feds.
Perhaps I myself am a “radical environmentalist group[s]” all wrapped up in one small woman, although I personally have not brought suit against short-sighted individuals making up lies to tilt the game their direction. Bonner County is large, 1,228,160 acres large. There is nearly a million acres of forested land here, approximately 82% of the county, and around 300K of that land is family-owned forest.
The proposed wilderness area for Idaho – part of the reason I and many others moved to this area – is only 13,900 acres of rugged rocky terrain fit mainly for mountain goats and other fabulous creatures both 4-legged and 2-legged (and winged, finned and scaled of course!). That’s “only one half of one percent of the forest as a whole (2.3 million acres)” of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.
I am wearied at the lies and fear-mongering happening locally because of this Wilderness issue. Perhaps it’s time to re-examine “traditional North Idaho values” (p.7, Sandpoint Reader 5/3/18 letter to the editor) and look at what we really want for the future. Short-sighted views fail to see the long-term benefits of passing this legislation, not the least of which is economic. Seems like a good entrepreneurial opportunity to me, unless the only jobs people can come up with have to do with decimating the land by hook or by crook. Why, yes, my home is built from wood and metal, but those products didn’t come from a wilderness area.
The wilderness proposal is not a breach on anyone’s civil rights, so the argument of protecting our “rights” is mere smokescreen in the bigger scheme of things. This proposed wilderness isn’t just for the people of Bonner County, it’s for the whole country to enjoy, even if only from a distance. I’m not sure I can climb the mountain anymore, but I sure do want it to be there for my great-grandson.
Who speaks up for the rights of the land, of the earth which sustains us? For the next 7 generations to follow?
I do. And I am not alone.
“For innocence can’t be lost
It just needs to be maintained.”
I urge you to favorably advise our county commissioners in this upcoming non-partisan vote, and choose wilderness over ignorance.