Wilderness would cede Idaho lands to feds

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The proposed Scotchman Peak “wilderness designation” has been a silent and concerted effort by its proponents for the better part of a decade. The claimed justification that “management of the area would not change as a result of the legislation” would have you believe that 10 years of work and tens of thousands, if not $100,000-plus, of fundraising was simply for a change of title description. No, it’s about locking up land in the hands of the federal government, for a term of … forever!

Prohibitions contained in the Wilderness Designation Act include mechanical uses of equipment necessary to reduce the danger of wildfire that can cause great danger to life and property to the surrounding community. Only for those situations “required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the (wilderness) area” is that equipment use allowed.

Promoting the wilderness designation claim as “establishing the first protected wilderness area within the panhandle region of Idaho” leads to the conclusion that it won’t be the last.

Furthermore, is a wilderness designation of such magnitude really in Idaho’s best interest? It permanently concedes land to the federal government that will absolutely never be returned to Idaho under the “equal footing” doctrine of state land ownership. This has wide ranging and detrimental implications for Idaho’s future generations.

Why not designate Scotchman Peak as a “state park?” It would be in the interest of all without detrimental effects.

On May 15, please vote against the Scotchman Peak wilderness designation.

JACKIE DOMKE

Priest River

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