CLARK FORK — Staff from U.S. Sen. Jim Risch is hosting another open house to consider the Scotchman Peaks wilderness proposal.
The open house runs from 4-7 p.m. at Clark Fork Senior/Junior High School on Tuesday, July 18.
Staff from the office of Risch, R-Idaho, and officials from the U.S. Forest Service will be on hand to answer questions and seek constituent input on the proposal to designate approximately 13,900 acres in Idaho a wilderness area.
Friends of Scotchman Peaks has been promoting the designation since 2005 and has spent the years building a diverse coalition of supporters that includes mining and timber companies, in addition to former and some current Bonner County Commissioners.
The proposal appeared to have few detractors over the years. But when Risch introduced legislation last year to designate the Idaho acreage as wilderness, the proposal encountered opposition from residents who said they were unaware of the proposal or even that some of the acreage had already been given a partial wilderness designation that prohibited motorized access through the U.S. Forest Service’s national forest plan updates.
The city of Clark Fork came out against the proposal, which they called an overreach that would restrict access to the area for future generations. City officials also accused supporters of overselling the level of support the community, which induced Risch to propose the legislation.
Friends of Scotchman countered the demonstrable level of the support was not being acknowledged by city officials.
This month’s meeting follows a similar open house hosted by Risch’s staff last month.