Scotchman Peaks Wilderness bill is just common sense

Print Article

I, like many Idahoans, depend upon our public lands for my livelihood. As a representative of the timber industry, I understand how important it is to have healthy forests that produce wood for products that we all use in our homes, jobs, and hobbies. But I also understand how critical it is to preserve our wildest lands ó the lands that keep our water and air clean and serve as a home for wildlife. That is why I was pleased to hear that Sen. Jim Risch introduced the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Act. This legislation will safeguard roughly 13,900 acres of public lands in Bonner County as wilderness.

My love and respect for our nationís wild places began long before I worked in timber. I was born in Montana, but have lived all over the northwest. As a kid, I spent a lot of time outdoors with my dad. He was in the Air Force near Spokane, and we would hunt for pheasants in the fall and hike and fish in the mountains during the summer. The time I spent in the forest made me realize that I never wanted leave. After I graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Forestry, I started working in the timber industry.

A lot of people donít see the connection between conservation and the timber industry. However, over the past 30 years, conservationists and timber representatives have slowly come together to find solutions to preserve the wildest areas that we all love to hike, hunt, fish, and horseback ride in while also providing people with the wood they need.

One such place is the Scotchman Peaks. Idahoís northern nine counties contain many roadless areas, but none are protected as wilderness. The Scotchman Peaks proposal is a posterchild for an inclusive, collaborative effort to preserve certain areas as wilderness.

People from all walks of life ó including hunters and anglers, local business owners, elected officials, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, have come together to craft a proposal that worked for everyone. The supporters also include Bonner County Commissioners, Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce, and the Idaho Forest Group.

The area is home to grizzly bears, bull trout, Canada lynx, wolverines, moose, and our world-famous mountain goats. People come to hike, camp, snowshoe, cross-country ski, hunt, fish, forage for wild foods, and enjoy the solitude. Visitors travel here to experience all that northern Idaho has to offer, thanks to our outstanding wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities. And with these visitors comes economic growth in the outdoor recreation, tourism, and hospitality industries. In fact, outdoor recreation and forest products generate thousands of direct jobs in Idaho alone.

The Scotchman Peaks and other public lands donít just draw visitors ó they also attract people who choose to move and build their lives here. More and more we are seeing businesses opt to locate near places where their employees have access to the great outdoors. These growing communities spur more economic opportunities for grocery stores, libraries, health care providers, and more. In fact, several studies have shown a strong link between protected public lands and diverse, vibrant western economies.

Public lands like the Scotchman Peaks is one reason why I chose to make Bonner County my home. Today, I have hunting dogs and still hunt pheasants like I did with my dad. The Scotchman Peaks take your breath away. One only needs to hike and see the beautiful views to understand why this special place needs to be protected. In short, this area brings people together.

I want to thank Sen. Risch for listening to his constituents and introducing the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Act. I urge Congress to pass this common-sense bill.

BOB BOEH

Coeur díAlene

Idaho Forest Group

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Keeping the door open for Americaís veterans

September 11, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee Last summer, I had the opportunity to place my handprint on the civilian side of a door Melanie Foster, Jr. Vice Commander for the Department of Idaho Veterans of Foreign Wars, takes to veterans even...

Comments

Read More

Protecting against foreign bad actorsí threats

September 06, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee Recently, the President signed into law the John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, fulfilling one of Congressís most serious responsibilities to provide for and protect our ...

Comments

Read More

Criticism of road priorities misses mark

August 12, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee Several recent letters to the editor have presented personal perspectives that stray a bit from the details I see as the Director of Road & Bridge. Granted, I have had this desk only for the pa...

Comments

Read More

Backing collaborative forest management

July 26, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee The U.S. Forest Service reports that between 2010 and 2016, Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program projects resulted in the treatment of more than 2.4 million acres to reduce the risk of ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2018 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X