Will Idaho squander a rare opportunity?


Despite years of collaborative work, wilderness designation for the White Clouds appears to be held hostage by the influence of a group of motorized recreation advocates who say they will never support wilderness designation in this area.

Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch once cheered on Rep. Simpson's collaborative efforts, but apparently no more. They even introduced his bill themselves earlier this year. Now the "no more no way no how" far right has convinced Sen. Risch to not allow a relatively easy committee vote. Our senior senator, Mike Crapo, does not seem to be suggesting he do otherwise.

Over the past decade, Congressman Simpson created a delicate compromise which, like the best of such efforts, addresses the real issues while still maintaining a level playing field so that no one participant dominates the others. Some believe not enough wilderness is designated, and at the other end of the spectrum there is opposition to any more wilderness.

Congressman Simpson's proposal does the best job ever to forge a compromise for this iconic landscape, charting a path between extremes to address wilderness, motorized recreation, ranchers and local county concerns.