With enactment of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the Selway Bitteroot Wilderness was designated and the Gospel Hump Wilderness followed in 1978. The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area was established in 1980 and since that time no additional Wilderness areas have been established. Current Forest Plans recommend areas for Wilderness designation and the Idaho Roadless Rule identifies areas to be managed for “Wildland Recreation” which is generally consistent with recommended wilderness.
Over the course of the last 3 years, the CBC Land Allocation Subcommittee reviewed all of the roadless areas, which included over a million acres and recommended five backcountry areas for wilderness designation.
The areas being discussed include: Selway-Bitterroot Additions, Great Burn, Mallard Larkins (with the caveat of engaging Shoshone County, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and other stakeholders), East Meadow Creek, and Cayuse Creek (aka East Bighorn-Weitas roadless area).
Reaching consensus within the full Working Group continues to be our goal as we integrate the needs of counties, timber industry, motorized users and other interests into a final legislative proposal.
Recent discussions have resulted in near consensus on Selway Bitterroot Additions, Great Burn, and Mallard Larkin (within the Basin). Questions still exist over East Meadow Creek and Cayuse. Specific concerns include boundaries, trail maintenance, cherry-stemmed roads and potential impacts to existing motorized trails.