I am retired and writing my first-ever letter to the editor to express my support of making the Scotchman Peaks a wilderness area. Needless to say at my age many things have changed some for the better and others not. I like to tell the story of living in the Los Angeles basin in 1980 and waking one morning after a rain storm and seeing the city surrounded by snow covered mountains. People were out taking pictures and that was the only time I saw the mountains in two years. Today we frequently go back to L.A. and the mountains are visible daily. The people and government working together addressed the air pollution problem and that is one example of a change for the better. As a contrast, in the town I grew up in (a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis.), the pastural farms with pheasants and other wildlife have been replaced by an endless subdivisions. Being nostalgic for the old days seems right to me and these changes are unfortunate.
We moved to North Idaho to retire and the life style is what attracted us to the area. It reminds us of the earlier times of our life where things moved a little slower. In the northern panhandle of Idaho, the Scotchman Peaks is an important recreation area and a perfect compliment to the great lakes that are up here. I got involved with Friends of Scotchman Peaks doing trail work and monitoring invasive weeds. Every time I am out in the woods, time slows down and life seems a little easier. Entering the Scotchman’s for a hike or overnight back pack is an adventure. It removes you from the day to day routine and you enter a more meditative world. There is calmness about an area that is an original with winding trails, tall trees, and unexpected wildlife sightings. So I ask myself how do we hold on to this?
The Scotchman area is presently well managed and protected. However, things can change over time and I would like our L.A. — grandchildren and their children to see the Scotchman’s as they are today. Since there are no protected wilderness areas in Idaho’s nine northern counties, I believe Scotchman Peaks would be a good choice for such a designation.