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For the week of Dec. 8, 1999 through Dec. 14, 1999

Wild lands need support


The U.S. Forest is collecting public opinion on President Clinton’s move to protect nearly 60 million acres of the nation’s last road-less public lands. The initiative could mean protection for 9.4 million acres in Idaho.

It won’t be easy for valley residents to get their two cents in on the by the December 20 deadline. They must either travel to a public hearing in Twin Falls on Monday or write a letter to the U.S. Forest Service.

As usual, the hearings are being held everywhere but here—even in small towns like Salmon. For some reason, the federal government loves to make Blaine County’s articulate populace travel long distances over icy roads to be heard. For some reason, it also loves to hold public hearings at the busiest possible time of year—the December holiday season.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the College of Southern Idaho’s Taylor Administration Building in the Cedar Room.

If Clinton’s initiative is to succeed, it will need vast amounts of grassroots support. In the West, that will mean overcoming industrial-strength opposition present in most states’ senators and congressmen. It will mean that a lot of individual effort will be necessary to counter opposition by corporate interests that would punch motorized trails into every nook and cranny.

Creating a lasting legacy of wild places is worth the effort. Attend the hearings, write a letter. Don’t sit quietly by and let the pavers move in without a fuss.

A package of information regarding the president’s roadless initiative is available by contacting any Sawtooth National Forest office, LeVere said.

According to the notice of intent, published in the Federal Register on Oct. 13, the deadline for comments during the initial phase of the process is Dec. 20.

 

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