Despite the highly publicized support for the proposed Scotchman Peak Wilderness, including from our Bonner County Commissioners, there are many residents in Bonner County who are not in favor of this designation. It is time for a reality check on this.
We are told the area must be protected, yet we do not hear from what. The area has survived just fine for all of time, but now Scotchman Peak has become a goat-petting zoo and the trail closed to the public. The real threat to the area is the astounding increase of hikers to the area, since the publicity to create this began. In the past, on a summer weekend, you might see someone else on the trail, while now there have been as many as 45 people on the peak at one time. It has become a city trail like experience to hike to the peak. That is, when it is allowed.
I have been told that are other trails in the area that people can enjoy. Scotchman is the highest point in the area and no other trails nearby offer anywhere near the views and beauty of the peak. I highly doubt there would be a proposed Scotchman Peak Wilderness if there were no Scotchman Peak. A peak now closed to the public. Wilderness will bring more people, rules and control. We will increasingly be told what we can and cannot do, which sounds more like a National Park.
Do you know that there are old clear-cuts and roads in the proposed area that have never been reclaimed? The Wilderness Act calls for protecting areas “untrammeled by man.” Logging is obviously not a future threat, as we now can magically transform clear-cuts into wilderness. Curiously, many old logging roads in nearby Lightning Creek have been reclaimed, but those in Savage Creek, which is in the proposed area, have not. As reclamation by excavators sticks out like a sore thumb, perhaps the Forest Service is playing politics here. It also appears to be in direct violation of the spirit of the Act.
What if future generations want to utilize a natural resource in the area? A Wilderness designation makes that nearly impossible. The congressional delegation of Idaho is not in favor of this designation and for good reasons. Contact them, in particular Rep. Raul Labrador, and voice your disapproval of the wilderness.