North Idaho Wilderness Advocate Awarded

May 24, 2007

For Immediate Release

Rick Johnson, (208) 345-6942 ext. 19
Phil Hough, (208) 255-2780


Wilderness advocate Phil Hough, of Sagle, Idaho, was awarded the Idaho Conservation League’s highest award for environmental activism on May 19, 2007 during the organization’s Wild Idaho Conference in Stanley, Idaho.

Hough received the Keith and Pat Axline Award for Environmental Activism for his work on the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. He is chairman of the grassroots group Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, which is working to designate an 88,000-acre wilderness in the Cabinet Mountains on the border of Idaho and Montana.

“In our work you create success by building the political inevitability that something will happen,” said Rick Johnson, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. “Phil has been at the center of making wilderness protection for Scotchman Peaks politically inevitable.”

Formed in 1973 to be the voice of conservation in the Idaho Legislature, the Idaho Conservation League was instrumental in the campaign to create the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. In addition to protecting public lands, the group also protects clean water, clean air and quality of life in Idaho.

Hough co-founded the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness in January 2005 with other wilderness supporters whose interest was piqued during the Panhandle National Forest Plan process.

“This area had been proposed as wilderness since 1987 and so few people in our community had heard of that,” Hough said. During the forest planning process, he added, “the discussion of wilderness values was getting lost in the broader conversation of forest planning.”

In the last two years, the group has gained more than 1,000 supporters as well as endorsements from the Bonner County Commissioners, cities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Thompson Falls, Mont., area newspapers, Montana’s governor, and numerous other business and community leaders.

Hough is one of several North Idaho residents who have been awarded the Keith and Pat Axline Award for Environmental Activism, which is named for two long-time Idaho Conservation League members dedicated to conservation causes. The award was established in 1995.

Past North Idaho winners include former state Sen. Mary Lou Reed, University of Idaho Professor Fred Rabe, retired Fish and Game employee Wayne Melquist and Spokane physician John Osborn.

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