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Boulder-White Clouds Council
Post Office Box 6313
Ketchum, Idaho 83340

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Current News & Issues: Wilderness


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About Wilderness

CIEDRA Background

Cape Horn Info/Slideshow


Wilderness Update

2011- 2012- On January 5, 2011, in the 112TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION, H. R. 163 was introduced by Representative Mike Simpson ( and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources. No action has occurred on the bill during 2011.

2010 - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch introduced Senate Bill S3294 in April. Idaho Representatives Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick then introduced the bill in the House.

UPDATE - Senator Risch flip flopped on his support of the bill, despite the years of effort that his fellow Republican Representative Simpson has put forth among all interest groups. Democrat Walt Minnick was defeated in November by anti-wilderness Raul Labrador.

The bill contains three Wilderness areas called Jerry Peak (131,670 acres), Hemingway-Boulder (110,370 acres), and the White Clouds (90,888 acres). It is expected that CIEDRA will be packaged with wilderness bills from other state and action on the bill will occur late in 2010. Motorized recreation groups continue to oppose the bill, even though many trails in the White Clouds will remain open to their use.

UPDATE - Because of Senator Risch' affiliation with motorized recreation (dirt bikes and snowmobiles), action on the bill in 2010 came to a screeching halt.

A surprise in the latest bill was the announcement that the final two SNRA (Sawtooth National Recreation Area) land transfers - including 68 acres by the Stanley Museum - that would have been given to the City of Stanley, have been dropped. BWCC worked hard to stop the SNRA land conveyances to Custer County and Stanley.

2009 -
Representative Mike Simpson reintroduced his CIEDRA bill in Congress. No action was taken.

2008 -
In May, Representative Mike Simpson announced that the controversial transfer of two land parcels (Valley Creek bench and Benner Street) within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to Custer County and the City of Stanley had been pulled from his CIEDRA bill H.R.222. Other changes were made to CIEDRA as well, including the removal of the "Special Management Area". As time runs out for CIEDRA to pass in 2008, Rep. Simpson is expected to reintroduce his bill in 2009 in the 111th Congress.

2007 - Rep. Mike Simpson reintroduces CIEDRA as H.R. 222.

2006 - Rep. Mike Simpson's CIEDRA bill H.R. 3603 passed the U.S. House in July, then had a Senate subcommittee hearing in September. In the Senate's frantic lame duck session at year's end, CIEDRA did not manage to get a vote from the entire Senate so the bill did not pass this session. View the Roll Call Ad (PDF Format) on the bill. Learn More about the ad.

October 2, 2005 - A majority of Idahoans support wilderness! Take a look at the results of a poll by the Idaho Conservation League. (PDF Format).

Erik Schultz and canine Magee, at Phyllis Lake, August 2004.



July 28, 2005 - Rep. Mike Simpson introduced a revised, improved version (this is Number 5 since June 2004) of his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA). Included are three new Wilderness areas of over 300,000 acres.

Those three new Wilderness areas would be:
Jerry Peak Wilderness - 131,700 acres
Hemmingway-Boulders Wilderness - 96,700 acres
White Cloud Wilderness - 73,100 acres

The Jerry Peak and Hemmingway-Boulders Wilderness are contiguous, separated only by a line on the map. Together they would total total over 228,400 acres. This is larger than the nearby revered Sawtooth Wilderness, which is 217,664 acres. Rep. Simpson has wanted to name a Wilderness for Idaho’s most famous author. However, the Boulder Mountains will always be that to us and many others.

IMPROVEMENTS IN CIEDRA - There are some significant improvements over the 2004 CIEDRA version. One, the 960-acre Cape Horn land giveaway to Custer County has been dropped. Second, the proposal to give numerous 100-acre parcels of public land to Custer County and the State of Idaho has also been removed from the bill.

Also, some more acres have been added to the Jerry Peak Wilderness and to the Hemmingway-Boulders Wilderness.

GOOD NEWS - CIEDRA 2005 would keep Phyllis Lake a quiet area in the summer months, and would construct a handicap access trail for users like Erik Schultz, seen in photo above. (A 2004 version of CIEDRA would have built a new motorized trail to Phyllis Lake and beyond. That proposal has been dropped.) There will also be a handicap access trail up Murdock Creek, near Ketchum.

The Jerry Peak Wilderness, about 160,000 acres, would be a true, genuine Wilderness, free of motorized intrusion, and one that would add significant high elevation (8,000 feet and above) sagebrush steppe habitat to the National Wilderness Preservation System. It's a landscape of high plateaus, deep, rugged canyons, and wild landmarks like Sheep Mountain, Bowery Peak, Hunter Creek, East Pass, Herd Peak and Jerry Peak. There are incredible opportunities to view wildlife, including some of the largest bull elk in America. There are few trails and almost no trailheads.

CIEDRA also provides ranchers within the Boulder-White Clouds area, the opportunity to be compensated for $300.00 per AUM (Animal Unit Month), for voluntarily relinquishing their grazing permit(s). The details of this part of CIEDRA are still being worked out. The National Cattleman’s Association and others, are opposed to removing cattle from public land and retiring grazing permits, although ranchers themselves agree to it.

BAD NEWS - Not surprising, and as a compromise with motorized users and Custer County, CIEDRA leaves some trails and areas out of Wilderness. However, existing travel plans for the Sawtooth Forest, Challis Forest and BLM will remain in effect. No new trails or areas will be open to motorized use. The largest omissions in CIEDRA’s Wilderness areas are the North Fork of the Big Wood, Champion Lakes, Railroad Ridge-Potaman Peak and Corral-Horse Basin.

Another controversial part of CIEDRA transfers public lands to Custer County, Blaine County and Custer County cities. We have tried to stop the 162 acres SNRA land transfer that would be given to Custer County and/or the City of Stanley, but Rep. Simpson has not budged. Custer County is asking for nearly 6,000 acres of public land, to be used for various purposes. It's unlikely the county will get this wish list, perhaps half. Custer County Commissioners have successfully used the argument with Rep. Simpson that 95% of Custer County is federal (94%) and state (1%), thus reducing the tax base. Therefore, the county would benefit by receiving federal lands for various purposes.

CIEDRA's wilderness areas would not have federal reserved water rights, but this is not unexpected. CIEDRA contains “Headwaters Language” that has been used in Forest Service wilderness bills for many years. Whether CIEDRA passes Congress or not, there will be no change to water rights or issues on public lands in the Boulder-White Clouds.




  • March 10, 2005
     - View Aerial PDF Map of Valley Creek Land Conveyances. CIEDRA would give Custer County and the City of Stanley a total of 162 acres on and near Valley Creek, located on Sawtooth National Recreation Area land. These are the most controversial of CIEDRA's land conveyances.







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