The Associated Press
The Draft Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River Management Plan includes about 518,000 acres and 325 miles of wild and scenic river in Owyhee County. The comment period runs through April 30 for the plan intended to guide management for the next decade.
The six rugged areas became federally protected preserves in 2009, after U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, cobbled together a coalition of ranchers, wilderness advocates, outdoor enthusiasts and others in an effort called the Owyhee Initiative. The sweeping land use package added six wilderness areas and opened other previously off-limits areas to motorized recreation, livestock grazing and other activities. It also provided ranchers with cash and federal land in exchange for giving up private land and giving up grazing rights on some public land.
"I look forward to implementing a plan that embraces the visions of such a collaborative effort," said BLM Boise District Manager Jim Fincher in a statement.