Bonner County Commissioners Endorsement

The Sanders County Ledger published the following editorial in support of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Area:

Governor Dirk Kempthorne
State Capitol Building
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho  83720

The Bonner County Commissioners, after holding two public hearings and receiving written testimony concerning the proposed designations for current inventoried roadless areas in the Panhandle National Forest in Bonner County, have decided to support the latest version of the new Forest Management Plan and its protection for roadless areas under the MA-5 backcountry designation.

Public comments ranged from asking for all public lands to be open to all recreation and management activities, to asking for all human activities to be restricted.  Therein, there were very few comments on specific areas within the forest and most comments were general in nature.

After hearing and seeing the public involvement undertaken by the local ranger districts and the compromises they have reached between the local recreation, environmental and industry groups, the Commissioners did not hear any significantly new testimony that would warrant a position varying from that proposed by the Forest Service.  It appears that the proposed MA-5 designation, for a majority of the previously inventoried roadless areas, will result in no significant changes in the method that these areas are managed.  That would include no increase in permanent road-building activities, the ability to access and use any currently open roads and/or trails for motorized and non-motorized uses, but would also allow management activities to occur to enhance forest health.

The Commission further supports the designation and management of the Scotchman’s Peak Wilderness Area.  Its steep slopes, remote valleys, grizzly bear habitat and possession of the highest point in Bonner County all support inclusion as wilderness.

The Board feels the proposed Forest Plan revision and its creation of the MA-5 Back Country designation would finally put to rest the misunderstanding of the “roadless area” terminology.

In conclusion, the Bonner County Board of Commissioners would like to add their support for the increase in timber sale volumes from Federal Lands in Bonner County.  With the impending end of Craig Wyden funding for our school districts and county road and bridge budgets, we realize that the only way to maintain our road system at current levels without raising taxes is to increase timber revenues under the 25% plan.  We feel that revenues could be increased while still following all NEPA, Clean Air and Water, Endangered Species and Forest Management Acts.


Marcia L. Phillips, Chairman
Joseph E. Young, Commissioner
Karl J. Dye, Commissioner

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