Earth Day – In Idaho It’s Time Protect the Scotchmans

Forty years ago, visionary leaders organized the first Earth Day offering hope for a healthier planet. Every year the Anniversary of Earth Day reminds us that we have a chance to do something positive. Honoring the vision of Earth Day, we invite you to step up and join us in protecting the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness in Idaho!

In Sandpoint, over 20 conservation and community groups will join together On Thursday April 22 for the Sandpoint Earth Day Festival, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Sandpoint Events Center, Pine and Euclid. Enjoy local dinner fare, great music, and kids activities, while celebrating what’s being done to protect our planet.  In Bonners Ferry, “Green Pride Day”, celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day, will be held April 24, 2010 from 10-4 at Memorial Hall, Boundary County Fairgrounds. The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness will be hosting tables at both events and we hope you will stop by to celebrate Earth Day with us and learn more about how you can help protect the Scotchmans!

The Scotchman Peaks form a rugged backbone along the Idaho / Montana border.  Steep and deep valleys hold diverse communities of plants and animals, clear flowing streams and precious solitude.  In addition to grizzly bear, mountain goat, lynx, wolverine and bull trout, the Scotchmans are also home to an abundant and wide array of more common animals and plants as well as people.  Hunters prize the trophy elk found in the Scotchmans.  Hikers marvel at moose and are spellbound by scenery that has been described as “like walking into heaven.”  Lingering snowmelt nurtures prized Huckleberry patches before flowing clear and clean into Lake Pend Oreille.

Preserving the Scotchmans would also bring added economic value to surrounding communities. Western counties where protected public lands enhance the “quality of life” have the greatest economic vitality.  From telecommuters to tourism; from relocated businesses, to retirement and second homes, Wilderness attracts people.
On the Idaho Panhandle there are many rugged roadless areas, but none are protected as wilderness. While the Forest Service has managed the Scotchmans for its wilderness values, Congress must act to designate wilderness. And we must step up to ensure they do! Over the last 5 years of community conversations we have heard an overwhelming consensus in Idaho that the Scotchmans should be protected as wilderness to keep them just the way they are now.

In Idaho there has never been a better time to protect the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness. In the halls of congress, wilderness is one of the few issues which continually draw bi-partisan support.  For the last several years, our Idaho congressional delegation has been actively championing other Wilderness areas in our state. We must let them know they must protect the Scotchmans as well!

I can think of no better way to honor Earth Day than to ask our congressmen to do the right thing and designate the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness. Such actions would help fulfill the promise of Earth Day. Protecting the Scotchmans would be honored by future generations the way we honor and remember the original Earth Day. You can help us create a legacy for the future by asking your congressman to designate the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness.

Take a moment and write to the members of our congressional delegation in Idaho. It can be an email or a handwritten note or typed letter. It can be short or long, but will be most powerful if you tell them why the Scotchmans are important to you!

Click here to visit our special website page and find out more how you can help!

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

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

He has hiked the "triple crown": the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest trail (twice). He has also paddled the length of the Yukon river. Phil's love of wilderness guides him as he works to save the incrediblly wild Scotchman Peaks, one of the last and largest roadless places in northern Idaho and western Montana.

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  1. Each year the world becomes just a little bit smaller. That is why it’s so important to me that Scotchman Peak become a designated Wilderness, protected, and cherished as one of the untouched wild places. Whether you spend time on Scotchman, or admire it from a distance, just knowing it is protected from exploitation, and left as the special place so many in this region love is a just accomplishment for all those who have worked so hard to have it become designated as wilderness.

    Thank you,
    Cindy Aase

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