Wednesday, January 15, 2014

State should not compromise wilderness

     Dear Gov. Otter: We, as Idaho residents, are becoming saddened and embarrassed by the growing reputation for Idaho’s penchant for managing places that are supposed to manage themselves. Case in point: The Frank Church Wilderness is being managed by Idaho Fish and Game to reduce wolf numbers so elk numbers might increase. This is counter to “wilderness,” which is supposed to govern itself. One reason given for IDFG action is difficulty for hunters to locate elk in “the Frank.” Because wilderness status precludes vehicular traffic, this requires hunters go about their activities either on foot or horseback. Apparently, some of Idaho’s hunting population has lost the verve for authentic hunting, and would prefer a much easier way of bagging game. This, in itself, is an indictment of what Idaho claims title to; rugged, frontier-edged outdoor activities.

     That the state, and its non-hunting residents, must bear the costs of “easy” hunting is further affront. Additionally, we now have national publicity as a place of uncontrolled “sport” wildlife killers as a result of the recent Salmon “Wolf/Coyote Derby.” Having these activities go nationwide through media and Internet adds insult to injury.

     Please recognize that our state has qualities which make it shine. It offers unspoiled wilds, including unsullied rivers, magnificent mountains, and opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy experiences unavailable in many other places. Do not jeopardize these by allowing the undermining of wilderness. Revenues from non-hunters can more than make up for any loss of hunting licenses. Idaho, as your statewide roadside signs claim, is too great to spoil.

Ann and Paul Hill



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