Treasure Valley Roadless Meeting Update

2.09.2006
Tonight a rare combination of hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts gathered at the Idaho Historical Museum to learn more about Idaho's roadless areas. The event itself was organized by Trout Unlimited, the Idaho Conservation League and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

It was great to see a wide variety of ages and public land users at the event. It seemed that the vast majority of those in attendance were in support of protecting our roadless areas. This meeting was necessary because Governor Kempthorne is currently collecting public comments regarding the fate of Idaho's 9+ million acres of inventoried roadless areas. Ironically, the Governor left Ada and Canyon counties out of the public comment process, hence the importance of tonight's meeting. I think it's pretty insulting that he choose to leave out the bulk of the population regarding something that concerns everyone who enjoys roadless land throughout the state.

Idaho's roadless areas were under Federal protection until May of 2005; when the Bush Administration revoked and replaced the nationwide, Federal rule with a new one that places the powers of protection and development in the hands of each state Governor.

More on the Roadless Rule...

Even though Idaho has the most roadless land in the lower 48, Governor Kempthorne is drafting a petition that could potentially open up millions of acres of inventoried roadless land for reasons that include energy exploration and old growth forest harvesting.

If you didn't make tonight's meeting there is still time for your voice to be heard!

Governor Kempthorne is accepting comments until March 1, 2006. You can e-mail your comments to roadless@osc.idaho.gov or send them to:

Governor Kempthorne
c/o Office of Species Conservation
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83702-0195

Use your own words to express support for roadless areas in your comments. Here's some ideas on what to talk about:
  • Personal experiences, stories of special roadless areas
  • The importance of roadless areas for recreation, clean water, fish and wildlife
  • How Idaho's uniqueness is represented by wilderness, and how that draws people to the cities that are important for vital economic health based upon the principles of urbanization economics
  • How Idaho's forests already have over 34K miles of road with a $660 million dollar backlog of maintenance
  • How roadless areas are a key component of Habitat Conservation Planning; which allows city and land planners to better design roadway and transit systems, and manage population growth
  • How 74% of the state's Steelhead and Chinook Salmon habitat in roadless areas, and that Steelhead and Salmon anglers spend over $60 million dollars annually in Idaho
I truly think we should petition to protect all of Idaho's inventoried roadless areas - just like they were originally protected. Cutting up the state into chunks for different management is ludicrous. Roadless areas are clearly independent of any political, county or regional line; managing each one individually will ultimately cost more and protect less.

I hope to see more of you hot springers at future meetings. It should be noted that hot springs in the Warm Lake area NE of Cascade and in the Clearwater National Forest are at risk right now!

Happy Soaking, -HSG

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