Friday, June 24, 2005

Trout Unlimited to discuss protection of public lands

A discussion about protecting Idaho's wilderness and roadless areas will be the focus of a meeting next week of the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

Scott Stouder, a public lands expert and western field coordinator for Trout Unlimited, is the featured speaker for the meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Among issues Stouder will address and seek comment on are the proposed federal land exchanges to Custer and Blaine counties included in Rep. Mike Simpson's Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill, officially known as the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA).

A key component of Trout Unlimited's Public Lands Initiative led by Stouder is to enlist both anglers and hunters in ongoing efforts to maintain and protect wilderness and roadless areas.

"Anglers know the best water quality and fish habitat in Idaho are found in wilderness and roadless area streams and rivers," Stouder said. "These streams provide habitat for fish such as bull trout, salmon and steelhead. Hunters relish the vast roadless forests where elk and other wildlife make their home. And millions of families have come to love Idaho's roadless forests for their boundless hiking and camping opportunities."

Trout Unlimited's Public Lands Initiative also involves efforts to restore lands degraded by abandoned hard-rock mines and mitigate the expansion of energy development the West, including oil, natural gas and coal bed methane.

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