It is about time the so-called Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness and the Forest Service stop trying to mislead Sen. Jim Risch, our county commissioners, and others claiming there is very little opposition to the proposed wilderness. This is just not true. Now that people realize what they are up to, there is considerable opposition and it is growing every day. The proposed lockup of this area is a particular threat to those in the Hope- Clark Fork area who stand to lose their long-standing traditional uses: fishing, hunting, picking huckleberries, gathering firewood, etc., unless they are young and able enough to do some heavy duty hiking and backpacking. This is just plain wrong.
Locking this up in perpetuity would prevent our future generations from having any say in the management. This is extremely short-sighted. Conditions change over the years, and we are facing continuing climate change. Scientists agree that warmer temperatures will cause forests to experience more mortality from pests and disease which will lead to more catastrophic fires. This is too close to Clark Fork. Active management, with motorized equipment, will be essential.
This area is not true wilderness in the classic sense anyway. The timbered areas have been logged over more than once and there are old logging roads all over the place. For a true wilderness experience we need to head south to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, almost 2.4 million acres of rugged scenic beauty. Scotchman Peaks just does not compare.
The claimed economic benefits of this wilderness proposal defy logic.
The primary attractions in North Idaho are the lakes, streams, mountains, forests and scenery, and the fact that they can be readily accessed without hiring horses, mules, or backpacking guides.
Until the concerns of the residents of Hope, Clark Fork and others are adequately addressed, this proposed wilderness is not going anywhere, so FSPW, don’t hold your breath. Your dedicated environmentalists should redirect their energies to protecting our beautiful Lake Pend Oreille.
This will benefit everyone in Bonner County and beyond.