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Wilderness on the move

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "The wild card."

IDAHO: Rep. Mike Simpson, R, is considering introducing a Nevada-style wilderness/development bill that would protect parts of the Boulder-White Cloud and Pioneer Mountains in central Idaho. The Idaho Conservation League is also working with local county commissioners and cattlemen to negotiate a wilderness proposal for southwest Idaho’s Owyhee Canyonlands.

COLORADO: Rep. Diana DeGette, D, will reintroduce a bill to protect 1.6 million acres of primarily BLM land throughout the state. Meanwhile, Rep. Scott McInnis, R, and Rep. Mark Udall, D, are contemplating bills for new wilderness in the White River National Forest, including Deep Creek and Red Table Mountain.

OREGON: The Oregon Natural Desert Association is working to convince Rep. Greg Walden, R, and the state’s senators to sponsor bills for a 38,000-acre Badlands wilderness and an 8,500-acre Spring Basin wilderness in eastern Oregon.

ARIZONA: The Arizona Wilderness Coalition is honing a proposal for 720,000 acres of wilderness in southeast Arizona’s Coronado National Forest; the group hopes to convince Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D, to sponsor the proposal.

NEW MEXICO: The New Mexico Wilderness Alliance — with the support of Gov. Bill Richardson — is fighting a BLM plan to allow natural gas drilling on Otero Mesa, where the alliance has proposed 520,000 acres of wilderness.

WYOMING: A coalition of more than 20 conservation groups is fighting a new BLM plan to allow oil and gas development in the Red Desert’s Jack Morrow Hills — home to seven BLM-designated wilderness study areas.