As in any other endeavor, some weeks are better than others in the wilderness “business,” and Earth Day week was stellar for the Friends of Scotchman Peaks. We made many new Friends and sent dozens of letters to our Idaho Congressmen about the Scotchmans.
Beginning Wednesday, April 21, FSPW made three public appearances in four days, starting with a presentation to the North Idaho chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Far North). FSPW exec Phil Hough spoke to a gathering of a near-record crowd of 41 at the NAMI meeting, and 17 new Friends signed up. “It was a great evening,” said Hough, “and everyone was surprised at how good the attendance was.”
The next day was April 22, 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and FSPW was among 20-plus environmentally-oriented groups gathered from 4 to 8 p.m. in the restored gymnasium at the Sandpoint Events Center. This great event was organized by the Sandpoint office of the Idaho Conservation League in cooperation with Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeepers. With The Lorax from Dr. Seuss showing upstairs in the auditorium and live entertainment and delicious food being served up downstairs, several hundred Earth Day celebrants visited the display tables of the organizers as well as FSPW, Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail Association, The Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, The Arts Alliance, Sandpoint Vegetarians, Pend Oreille Pedalers and many more (for a complete list of participants in the Sandpoint Earth Day, visit http://www.greensandpoint.com/Participating_Groups.html).
In addition to signing up 17 new Friends, FSPW also enabled visitors to the table to send letters to Senators Risch and Crapo and Representative Minnick urging them to take action to protect the Scotchmans in Idaho now. Using laptops and directing letter writers to https://www.scotchmanpeaks.org/you-can-help/take-action-in-idaho, FSPW volunteers and staff helped nearly 40 people voice their desire to have the Scotchmans declared Wilderness.
Saturday found the FSPW display table in Bonners Ferry for their Green Pride celebration, a differently flavored but still very well attended event at the Boundary County Fairgrounds celebrating Earth Day as well as Arbor Day. The FSPW table attracted a lot of attention, and 16 new Friends signed on.
Bonners Ferry was “new” territory for the Friends, and the converstaion at the table got a bit lively when people from the timber industry stopped by, but both parties took the opportunity to learn from the other, and it was gratifying to see them sign up for our Newsletter at the end of the discussion.
All in all, Earth Day week 2010 garnered 50 new Friends, gave us a chance to catch up with many more old Friends and allowed us to gather upwards of 80 comments to the Idaho delegation favoring Wilderness designation for the Idaho Scotchmans. It was a great week of work.
Coming up this week, we travel Friday, April 30, to the Montana Wilderness Association convention in Whitefish, Montana for a two-day gathering and more good wilderness work.