18 Mar 2009, 6:22pm
Federal forest policy Politics and politicians
by admin

Jim’s Corner: Omnibus Wilderness

Note: Mr. Huntly graciously allowed us to post this 3-part essay. As we write this introduction the U.S. Senate is fending off amendments proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and they are about to pass The Omnibus Public Lands Act (H.R. 980 referred to below) grafted onto H.R. 146. It’s a sleazy end run around due process, engineered by Dirty Harry Reid [here].

by James Huntly

Courtesy The Central Idaho Post, 1206 S Hall St, Grangeville, ID (208)-983-2344 (No website, but a great periodical. Please subscribe. You won’t be sorry).

Part 1: Do you like to ride your ATV?

Feb. 20, 2009

Those of you who have recently complained about the Forest Service’s plans to further regulate motorized vehicle use on the forest need to start paying attention. In this column some 3-4 years ago I warned readers about restrictions that were going to be put in place to regulate ATV and other motorized vehicle use. With that in mind, pay attention, this is your next warning. Don’t wait until it is too late!

On February 11, 2023 Carolyn Maloney, Representative of New York introduced H.R. 980 which will designate certain National Forest Lands and other Public Lands in the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, wildland recovery areas, and biological connecting corridors.

There are 50 cosponsors and only one cosponsor is from a state that will be affected by this legislation. He is Jay Inslee, Representative from the State of Washington. Most of the cosponsors are from states that lie east of the Mississippi River or are from the Deep South. The exception is the amount of support from the State of California, where twelve cosponsors signed onto this bill. This amount of support should not surprise anyone who is familiar with the la la state; a place where fruits, nuts, and ferries are common place.

This bill will lock up 6,253,000 acres in the greater Salmon/Selway Area as additional wilderness and 394,000 additional acres in the Hells Canyon Area. Because of the number of areas involved, I will only be discussing the land affected on the Nez Perce National Forest.

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness will be increased by 754,000 acres. This will include adding 64,000 acres of the Jersey Jack Area and 20,000 acres of the Mallard Area.

The Gospel-Hump Wilderness will be increased by 55,000 acres, while the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness will see an increase of 582,000 acres; of which 215,000 acres will be in east and west Meadow Creek and 90,000 acres of the Radcliff-Gedney area will be part of the total. There will be another 148,000 acres of the Clearwater Forest that will be included.

This legislation will also create new wilderness, such as “The Little Slate Creek Wilderness Complex,” which will lockup 12,000 acres in Little Slate Creek and 6,000 acres in what is being called Little Slate Creek North.

Other areas designated to become wilderness include: 33,000 acre O’Hara Falls Creek, 7,000 acre Lick Point, 11,000 acre Clear Creek, 21,000 acre Silver Creek/Pilot Knob, 6,000 acre Dixie Summit-Nut Hill, 11,000 acre North Fork of Slate Creek and 10,000 acre John Day.

The areas to be affected by additions to the Hells Canyon Wilderness are: 76,000 acres in Rapid River, 19,000 acres of the Salmon Face, 21,000 acres of Klopton Creek/Corral Creek and 14,000 acres known as Big Canyon. In addition, on the western side of the Snake River an additional 264,000 acres will be locked up on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

The addition of 691,000 acres of designated wilderness on the Nez Perce Forest will affect the way you hunt, fish, camp, travel, and even pick berries or mushrooms and will impose even more regulations on you, your friends and you family. Now is the time to contact you representatives in Congress, you local Forest Service office and you local political leaders. Now is the time to express your opinion, while there is still time to affect the outcome of this legislation. It should be noted that everything included in this bill; was called for as part of the Wildlands Project which I warned you about some five years ago.

Next week I will discuss the other aspects of this bill, which include wildland recovery areas, wild and scenic rivers and biological connecting corridors.

Quote for the Week: “Diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice doggie” until you can find a rock.” —Will Rogers (This quote was found on BrainyQuote.)

Part 2: Connecting Corridors

Feb. 27, 2009

Last week I wrote about HR 980 and how it would lockup thousands of more acres of land in the Northern Rockies. This week I will be describing how this legislation will affect you through connecting corridors, wild and scenic rivers and wild land restoration projects.

For those that have never heard of “connecting corridors,” this term was first used in the Wildlands Project to describe corridors that would allow wildlife to migrate across the length and width of America. For example, the environmental community believes that a wolf or some other wild animal may wander along certain corridors for thousand miles or more if there were no structures or other restrictions in their way. Thus a Grizzly Bear should have the opportunity to migrate, over time, from northern Canada to southern New Mexico. Just about where ever his nose points him, because like a dog, they follow scent in the air.

This legislation would create connecting corridors that would encompass some 7,791, 000 acres of land in the Northern Rockies. There would be two designations given to these corridors. The first would be as a component of the National Wilderness System and the second would be areas subject to special corridor management requirements. Section 202 of this bill describes all of the proposed corridors in the Northern Rockies.

Section 203 defines these corridors as follows: (a) “The road less areas identified as part of a biological connecting corridor —- are hereby designated as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. (b) “Corridors —- that are not covered by subsection (a) —- shall be managed according to the Multiply-Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 —-.” Subsection (b) goes on to state that road density shall not exceed 0.25 miles of road per square mile, which doesn’t allow for any use other than recreation and perhaps grazing.

Section 204, subsection (b) implies that private land and landowners will not be affected by these corridors. Don’t believe the double talk, because Section 205 gives the Forest Service and the BLM the power to acquisition land to accomplish the purpose of this legislation. Thus, if they want a corridor through your property and you are not willing to sell or give an easement they can and will confiscate your property.

Section 301 designates 36 additional streams in the Northern Rockies as Wild and Scenic Rivers. In the State of Idaho this will include, South Fork of Payette, Middle Fork Payette, Upper Priest, Couer d’Alene (head waters down stream 110 miles), Little North Fork Clearwater, Kelly Creek, Cayuse Creek, Bargamine Creek, Lake Creek, Meadow Creek, Running Creek, Moose Creek, Three Links, Gedney, South Fork Clearwater (from confluence of Red River and American River downstream to the Forest Boundary), Johns Creek, and Slate Creek.

Sections 402 and 403 establishes the National Wildland Restoration and Recovery System, which has a goal of recovering lands damaged by management activities on some 1,023, 000 acres, bringing these lands back to a wilderness/wildland state.

In this neck of the woods 12,000 acres known as the Magruder Corridor would be reclaimed by eliminating roads, restoring native vegetation, eliminating invasive and non-native species, stabilizing slopes and soils, recontouring slopes and generally returning the land back to a natural roadless condition. In other words, create even more wilderness that will be of no value to the average working American but will serve as an additional play ground for the elite.

Section 405 establishes a National Wildland Recovery Corps to accomplish all the work set forth in Sections 402 and 403.

Section 503 requires that any roadless national forest or BLM land, not included in this legislation and greater than 1,000 acres, be studied by a group of independent scientists. This group will evaluate each parcel of ground and determine the role it should play in maintaining biological diversity in the Northern Rockies region. Until this group makes its determination these lands are to be locked up and no road reconstruction, construction, timber harvest or mining will be allowed. In addition oil and gas leasing will be banned.

Quote for the Week: “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”—Winston Churchill (Quote was found at quotations page.com)

Part 3: Political Maneuvers

March 20, 2023

On March 11th the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (S22) failed by a vote of 282-144. It required a 2/3 vote and failed by a mere 2 votes. This legislation would have locked up in wilderness an additional 2 million acres of land in nine states, including 515,000 acres in southwestern Idaho’s Owyhee County.

Because of the current state of the economy some members of Congress worried that this legislation would have cost up to ten billion dollars. In addition, it would have blocked millions of acres of federal ground from being explored and developed for oil and natural gas. Representative Doc Hastings of Washington denounced the bill, claiming it would criminalize collecting rocks on federal land.

I was curious as to how, in a Democrat controlled Congress, this bill could fail. I found that political maneuvering on both sides killed the bill. Apparently the leadership in the House would like to disarm America, but dozens of Democrats in that body support the 2nd Amendment. Knowing this, Republicans in the House wanted to add an amendment to the legislation that would have made the Bush ruling law.

During his last week in office, former President Bush, authorized the carrying and use of loaded firearms in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. Currently President Obama is reviewing the Bush order. The Republicans knowing that they had bipartisan support for the amendment were going to add it to the proposed legislation.

To stop the amendment, House leaders suspended the House Rules and brought the bill up for a vote under a special rule which severely restricted amendments, but ironically in doing this a 2/3 majority was needed for passage.

Those who cheered when this legislation was defeated should realize that this bill is not dead. The Leadership in the House will bring it up again when the time is right and when they do it will be done using the regular rules of the House, which will not require a 2/3 vote.

Currently 18 bills have been introduced in the Senate and the House that would create more wildernesses, wild rivers, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Heritage Corridors and create a National Landscape Conservation System.

H.R. 980, that I wrote about on February 20th and 27th would created and additional 6, 253, 000 acres of wilderness of which 691,000 acres would be added on the Nez Perce Forest. I can only wonder when Congress will decide that this country has enough wildernesses and quits adding land to the system.

Quote for the Week: “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”—-Will Rogers (This quotation was found on BrainyQuote.com)

19 Mar 2009, 11:07am
by John M.


Those advocating the continued expansion of wilderness areas are masters at marketing and political maneuvering but lack the ability to think about the consequences of what they are advocating, or the impact of wilderness expansion on the well being of the American public. It is also possible, I guess, that they really don’t care.

The term wilderness has been so corrupted over time that I would guess few citizens have any understanding of what the legal term means. For example, wilderness is often used to describe Forest Park in Portland, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, in fact any area where there are more trees or other vegetation than buildings. Even areas crisscrossed by roads are often called wilderness. The term wilderness is further corrupted, in my opinion, by the expansion of federal wilderness into areas that are at best marginal for such a legal definition. The expansion of wilderness on Mt. Hood being a current example. The expansion areas are already overrun with human recreational activity, in the flight path of PDX, and influenced by the air and light pollution of the Portland metro area.

Before any more expansion of federal wilderness, there is a need for a reality check on the definition of the term and what we really want wilderness to be in today’s world. I am sure Leopold, Marshall and Muir would be appalled at how their ideas of wilderness have been abused.

19 Mar 2009, 12:54pm
by Larry H.


A great many of our existing wilderness areas are lands that have no other use beyond recreation, solitude and ecosystem services. If there had been extractable resources in them before they were wilderness areas, surely they would have been developed and exploited.

Now, in the case of these corridors and new wilderness areas linking others together, what happens when those forested ones burn to the ground? Doesn’t Wilderness Designation preclude any restoration activities?

How about those areas where roads have been obliterated, activities excluded and lands are bestowed with new wilderness status? Will fire managers continue to let those areas burn, armed with new laws and directives requiring them to wait at the Wilderness boundary? Will fire managers continue to drop their ethics in favor of fatter wallets?

Finally, does pollution from fires in “Wilderness Areas” smell better and benefit the environment over fires that burn timber outside of “Wilderness Areas”?

This inevitability has just about caused me to throw up the white flag and admit that our forests have no hope. Political solutions rarely work when science is needed. These slippery slopes will soon be clogging our rivers and reservoirs.

19 Mar 2009, 1:10pm
by Mike


To the contrary, the “wildernesses” designated today include forests with vast multiple use resources and human presence and habitation that extend back thousands of years. They are no more “wild” than your back yard.

Those resources, including fiber, habitat, watershed, and heritage are now slated for catastrophic incineration which will destroy them and threaten public health, safety, and the economy, such as it is after the massive looting of the Treasury that has been going on for the last six months.

Will fire managers drop their ethics? What ethics? The fire community today is focused on looting the Treasury, too. That is the ethic of firefighting today. Take the money and run.

23 May 2010, 9:00pm
by scott


Replying to Larry H.:

“If there had been extractable resources in them before they were wilderness areas, surely they would have been developed and exploited.”

This is simply not true. Miners who came to the area now known as the “Frank Church” (land of no use) wilderness were looking primarily for one thing: Gold!

In this modern age, we have discovered many elements exist inside the Frank Church, that without access to them means we are reliant on CHINA!. These elements include Neodium, Cobalt, Cesium, Thorium, Halfnium, all of which have been declared “strategic minerals vital to the US ability for national defense.”

To clarify: All of our “state of the art” F-35 fighter jets as well as most commercial aircraft will not fly without these elements. There are simply no replacements for them. That’s why many are referred to as “rare-earth” elements.

You have many of these rare-earth elements in your cellphone, laptop and other devices. Currently, the only extraction and refining of those elements is in China.

A company called USA Rare Earths recently discovered vast deposits on the Idaho-Montana border. They are fighting enormous environmental hurdles in an attempt to extract them, and may be facing wilderness designation on top of everything else. Which is really funny, since replacing uranium in the USA nuclear reactors with the element thorium would reduce nuclear waste by 95%.

Let’s not forget the lessons of Stibnite, Idaho which was also a strategic minerals reserve. Stibnite was mined in WW1 and WWII solely for the purpose of winning those wars. The materials there were essential for everything from munitions to armor plating. It’s been said the US would have lost the war without the minerals provided by Stibnite. Ironically, Stibnite is now surrounded by wilderness and has been shut down by radical regulatory agencies and environmental groups, who have materials that were mined from Stibnite in most every household product they own, including their cars.

~The most patriotic act a man can do is work in a mine-Joseph A. Holmes circa 1870.

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