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Salmon-Challis National Forest Home to a New Wildness Area 8-10-15

Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor Chuck Mark is looking forward to a new Wilderness area on the Forest. The Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness, a total of approximately 117,000 acres to be preserved indefinitely. This wilderness area will be managed in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management. In addition, right next door on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area on the Sawtooth National Forest the Hemingway-Boulders and White Cloud Wilderness were also designated for an approximate total of 158,000 additional acres.

“Without the extensive coordination and work from the Idaho Congressional Delegation, Mike Simpson, Mike Crapo, and Jim Risch, this area would not have been secured for the citizens of Idaho and the nation,” said Mark.

The Forest Service in Congressional committee testimony earlier this year supported designation of the Wilderness areas. Most of the National Forest System acres designated as wilderness by the legislation were recommended for wilderness designation in their respective forest plans dating as far back as 1987. The lands not recommended for wilderness in their land use plans are either inventoried roadless areas or their current management direction is compatible with wilderness designation.

The three areas protected by the Wilderness Act are the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness (67,998 acres), the White Clouds Wilderness (90,769 acres), and the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness (totaling 116,989 acres: 92,979 acres of U.S. Forest Service land and 23,919 acres of Bureau of Land Management land). The Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness will continue to be managed by the Salmon-Challis National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. The other two of the wilderness areas will be managed as part of the Sawtooth National Recreational Area.

With enactment of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will commence implementation of the law. Over time the Wilderness boundaries will be signed at trail heads and other appropriate sites, and updated maps will be produced for the benefit of Wilderness visitors. The legislation also includes a number of land conveyances to county and municipal governments in Blaine and Custer counties.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest will work to begin the administration of these lands as Wilderness, and will work with local officials to complete the land conveyances. “It is important to recognize Representative Simpson and Senator Risch for their leadership, and all the interests who were involved in this worthy accomplishment,” said Mark.

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