Scotchman issue headed to ballot

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to place the Scotchman Peaks wilderness proposal on the ballot in this May’s primary election.

Under Idaho Code, county commissions have the authority to place on the ballot any issue before the citizens.

The Bonner County Republican Central Committee urged the county commission to avail itself of that option in order to try and determine whether the majority of the county supports or opposes designating nearly 14,000 acres in Idaho as wilderness.

The wilderness designation is a decision which rests with Congress, although commissioners said the outcome of the vote would influence whether the board will continue to voice support for the proposal.

Commissioners Glen Bailey and Jeff Connolly have voiced support for the designation, while Commissioner Dan McDonald has voiced opposition to restricting uses of such a vast swath of forest.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness has spent more than a decade carefully sowing support for the designation and played up the diversity of that support. Supporters include timber and mining interests, in addition to outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists.

But some claim the degree and variety of support was overstated, which they said helped persuade U.S. Sen. Jim Risch to introduce a wilderness bill for the acreage in Idaho. Opponents of the designation contend they hold the majority view.

Commissioners have also been on the receiving end of countless emails which either argue for the board to support the proposal or to depose it.

“It’s important — if we really want to know whether or not there’s widespread support for this in the county — to see who’s willing to come out and vote for or against it,” said McDonald.

Connolly said he was not opposed to a vote, although he did express unease with setting a precedent for dealing with contentious issues faced by the board.

“My biggest concern is this the way the county is going to start doing business?” said Connolly.

McDonald and Bailey, however, said an advisory vote would likely be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to sorting through difficult issues.

Assessor Jerry Clemons questioned whether a vote would generate a reliable metric because voter turnout in primaries can be as low as 12 percent.

“Is that really advisory?” Clemons asked.

“It will give us an idea,” said McDonald.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Executive Director Phil Hough did not voice any objections to a vote, although he sought assurances that voters who are not affiliated with an official party would be provided ballots. Elections official Charlie Wurm said the question would be listed on all ballots.

Commissioners said the ballot language would be unambiguous and free of sleight of hand in the wording.

“We just want a simple ‘do you want it or don’t you want it?’” said Bailey.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Thieves pilfer packages, young girl’s blanket

January 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — Nate Clements’ family is devastated after thieves pilfered packages from their doorstep the weekend before last. One of the boxes taken from outside the family’s home in the Landing...

Comments

Read More

Lewd conduct suspect back in custody

January 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — A Kootenai man who failed to appear at a pretrial hearing in a lewd conduct case is back in custody, court records show. Andreas Ludolf Breymann was the subject of a $100,000 arrest warr...

Comments

Read More

The great false alarm

January 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By BRIAN WALKER Hagadone News Network Sandra Campbell was blow drying her hair on the 16th floor of a condominium on Waikiki Beach when she heard the siren that shocked Hawaii on Saturday. "...

Comments

Read More

SASi seniors featured in ‘Nine over Ninety’ calendar

January 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Every person in their 90s is bound to have some good stories to tell. Take Darrell Richard Ewing, for example, who is from a notable Idaho pioneer family. "My great-grandfather fou...

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