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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday — May 21, 2004


Wild Idaho! slated for this weekend

Wilderness discussions to be featured

Express Staff Writer

This weekend marks the 19th year members of the conservation community have gathered beneath the towering crags of the Sawtooth Mountains to discuss Idaho conservation issues.

Since 1983, the event has been called Wild Idaho!, and it is sponsored by the Idaho Conservation League. With potential wilderness designations in the works in the Owyhee canyon country and the Boulder and White Cloud mountains, this year’s event will focus on wilderness.

"We’re going to talk about, as much as we can, the specifics about what’s happening with these wilderness discussions and what’s going to happen next," said ICL Central Idaho Director Linn Kincannon. "And obviously we know more specifics about the Owyhee than we do about the Boulder-White Clouds."

One of the premier conference participants will be Wilderness Society governing council member Bethine Church. Church, the widow of the late Sen. Frank Church, has long been a voice for conservation and wilderness in Idaho.

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo will also attend and discuss his work in the Owyhee canyon country with a citizen coalition to designate wilderness there.

The event, which kicks off today, will run through Sunday, May 23. Most of the keynote wilderness presentations will be on Saturday. However, the conference is sold out.

Kincannon said that Wild Idaho! began in 1983 as a mining conference. In 1986, it was named Wild Idaho!, and the base of issues discussed was broadened.

"It started out as a mining conference for mining activists when there was a lot of mining going on, especially in the Salmon area," Kincannon said. "Some of those issues remain, but we’ve broadened the conference to discuss a lot of things over the years."

Kincannon said the conference has generated quite a reputation, particularly because it is held each year at Redfish Lake, a stunning glacial lake and once the home to hundreds of thousands of migrating sockeye salmon.

"Wild Idaho! is a famous conference in the conservation community because it’s fun, informative, and it’s at Redfish Lake Lodge," Kincannon said. "It’s getting together with folks who you share values and hopes with."


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