wilderness volunteers workingDesignating half of a million acres of the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness would bring changes to the area. The management of the area would be devoted to conservation, recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, and historical use. Although the approximately 180 miles of road in the area would remain open, the construction of any new roads or permanent structures would be prohibited.

Mechanized travel such as snowmobiling, trailbiking, all terrain vehicle riding and mountain biking would also be prohibited. Wilderness proponent Tom Pomeroy said:
“Solitude will be improved. Wildlife habitat will be guaranteed to be saved…On the big scale of things, 95 percent of the United States is already roaded and accessible to motorized equipment. We can’t make wilderness in other places, and Idaho is unique enough that we still have the opportunities to save the wilderness that is left.”

According to Ed Cannady, Backcountry Recreation Manager for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, currently 47 percent of the trails in the White Clouds allow mechanized travel and a smaller percentage of the trails in the Boulders are mechanized. In 2001, about six percent of the people using the trails in the proposed wilderness area were motorcyclists and mountain bikers. “There are plenty of other places to go for that use,” voiced the Director of the Boulder-White Cloud Council, Lynne Stone. “We’ve got to protect wilderness wherever it is. The Boulder-White Clouds are spectacular. To let a handful of folks who have to be riding a machine wherever to stop that from being protected for all of the generations to come. I think that is unacceptable.”

Logging is not allowed in wilderness. But due to the amount of timber in comparison to the extraction costs, representatives of timber industry have said that they are not interested in harvesting timber in the Boulder-White Clouds. Mining and livestock grazing would be allowed to continue in areas where these activities existed prior to wilderness designation.

The Central Idaho Director of the Idaho Conservation League, Linn Kincannon, said that the Idaho Conservation League is interested in designating the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness to preserve the land and its wildlife habitat. According to Kincannon, it is not about her opportunities to use the area. Instead, she believes it is crucial to preserve the Boulder-White Clouds for future generations.

Wilderness advocate Dale Grooms argues it is Idahoans responsibility to protect all of the Boulder-White Clouds because wilderness is a national concern. He believes that there is not enough wilderness in the United States, and more must be protected in the interest of wildlife. Avid backcountry skier Stephen Walcher agrees. He believes that the Boulder-White Clouds should be designated wilderness to minimize man’s impact on the land and wildlife. According to Walcher, it is important to have quiet and fresh air in our mechanized world.

“The Boulder-White Clouds is like a crown jewel of wildlands in Idaho,” said the Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project, Jon Marvel. “It represents all of the values of Idaho. It has all of the native wildlife present. And we need to protect that. We are the changers of the environment, but in this case, we should be the protectors of the environment.”

“The Boulder-White Clouds area is a very unique area in Idaho that is fully qualified for wilderness protection,” said former governor of Idaho Cecil Andrus, who calls himself a commonsense conservationist. Andrus contends that all interested parties must have a seat at the bargaining table and be willing to compromise for wilderness designation to materialize.


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