Iíd like add my perspective on the issue of wildlife and wilderness.
Iíve hunted for 15 years in the Idaho Panhandle. Iím a backcountry hunter. One of the most important aspects of my hunting experience is to get into remote areas of public lands where ATVs and motorcycles canít go. These areas provide the best quality hunting experiences Iíve had.
Remote areas like that are scarce in the Idaho Panhandle. Decades of road construction for logging has carved up most of the forests in this area. Thatís why I support designation of Scotchman Peaks as wilderness. Wilderness is the only sure way we have to provide for a remote, backcountry hunting opportunity for our kids and theirs.
It is my experience that wilderness areas provide some of the best habitat for wildlife. Wildlife can thrive in wilderness areas. Protecting big, intact and secure landscapes is vital for sustaining our wildlife populations in the face of human encroachment. Especially for elk, wilderness areas provide security, promoting resident herds from fleeing from the disturbance of off-road vehicles and snowmobiles that characterize so much of our public lands today. Wildlife of all kinds need a refuge from the increased pressures put on public lands. Wilderness areas can provide that refuge.
Scotchman Peaks wilderness would only comprise 0.5 percent of the 2.5 million acres of Panhandle forests. For quality huntingís sake, I say a half percent designated for a backcountry hunting experience is worth it.