October 21, 2010

Wilderness in the 21st Century

Host Marcia Franklin talks about the past, present and future of wilderness with four guests. This program is a companion discussion to an Outdoor Idaho documentary, "Wilderness in the 21st Century."

Franklin's guests include Liz Close of the United States Forest Service, John McCarthy of the Wilderness Society, Sandra Mitchell of the Idaho Recreation Council, and Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League.

Franklin and her guests will talk about whether new wilderness is needed in Idaho, what kinds of compromises it takes to get new wilderness areas approved, and how wilderness values are managed for a variety of uses, some of which seem to conflict with each other.

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, designating 9.1 million acres in the United States as wilderness, including the 1.2 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho. Over the years, Congress has designated six additional wilderness areas in Idaho, including the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Sawtooth Wilderness, and the recently designated Owyhee River Wilderness. With 4,522,779 total acres of wilderness, Idaho has the fourth largest amount of wilderness among the 50 states.

If Congress passes legislation to designate parts of the Boulder-White Clouds area as wilderness, Idaho would rank #3 in amount of wilderness among the states. However, that legislation is currently stalled.