Wilderness is Multi-Use…

Dear Editor,

To no one’s surprise, the Clark Fork City Council is opposed to a Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. They oppose the designation or want it reduced in size and recommend “returning surrounding areas to multiple use management.”

Multiple use was mandated in The Multiple Use – Sustained Yield Act of 1960. This law was significant in having far reaching effects on the management of “outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish” and it’s short and easy to read. I highly recommend it.

Some quotes: “[management] consideration shall be given to the relative values of the various resources in particular areas. The establishment and maintenance of areas of wilderness are consistent with the purposes and provisions of this Act.” And: “all of these resources…[shall be considered] over areas large enough to provide sufficient latitude for periodic adjustments in use to conform to changing needs and conditions; that some land will be used for less than all of the resources.”

The bottom line: 1) management of uses must be considered across the entire forest, 2) every use does not need to be on every acre, and 3) the land cannot be “returned” to multiple use since it never left. The provisions of this law are very clear and misinterpreting its meaning is pretty hard, even for a vocal anti-everything minority.

Ken Thacker

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