The Public is the Process

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 by »

Congressional Members are elected representatives.  Like all politicians they want, in fact they need, to act in ways in which they believe their constituents want them to act.  Unless they are out of touch and want to have only one term, their views and their votes will reflect the will of the people.

In the process of designating Wilderness often times begins with an area that is  recommended by the forest service (or Park service, or BLM, but for our region let’s focus on the forest service).  However, a recommendation is as far as the forest service can take the process; congress reserves the right to decide which areas to designate.

So there is an inherent gap between the recommendation and the action of designating.  That gap is overcome, and congressional action is taken, when the congressional delegation believes that their constituents want them to act.  That’s where the public comes in; that’s where YOU come in.

We the people, have a critical role to play in setting a course of direction for our elected delegates.  We need to make our selves heard when we want something to happen. There’s no better way for this to occur than committed groups of citizens organizing support at the grassroots level, one on one in their communities.  This builds public support and makes political action an inevitability.  This is as true for wilderness as for any other issue.

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness have been providing information to our communities about the value of wilderness in general and about the specific benefits of having the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness.  Outreach and education are the fundamental building blocks in creating community consensus and desire, which in turn create political momentum. This, inevitably, will lead to wilderness designation.

Education is a simple as reading a brochure, going on a hike, seeing a live presentation, signing up as a facebook fan, watching a video or visiting our website.  YOU can help us with all of these outreach tools! Join us in hearing, and telling, the story of the Scotchmans.  Better yet, bring along your friends!

About The Author:

Phil Hough is the Executive Director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

An avid long distance hiker, Phil's experience on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trails brought a passion for wild places and motivated him to work towards protecting the one of the last and largest wild places in northern Idaho and Western Montana, the Scotchman Peaks.

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