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As a former Bonner County Commissioner, I am writing to applaud and thank Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, for his introduction of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Act.

I have always found the best public policy is formed from the coming together of diverse interests. The Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Initiative, which would become the first protected wilderness in North Idaho, stands as a remarkable example. It is the result of many years of community discussion and collaboration and enjoys the support of a broad coalition of stakeholders from North Idaho, Montana and the entire region — including sportsmen’s associations, logging companies, chambers of commerce, businesses, outdoor recreationalists, conservation groups, and a broad array of citizens and political leadership from both sides of the aisle. It is good for both our quality of life and our economy.

My county commission added our unanimous endorsement nearly a decade ago, joining with consistent support from Bonner County commissions before and after. Local government does not get much more local than the county commission. It is pretty easy to gauge the temperature of the water when you are swimming in it every day. So, when you find an idea championed by such a wide, diverse majority of the community, it’s something worth getting behind.

We could use more ideas to come together over. I commend Sen. Risch for taking one such to Washington on our behalf.



Bonner County Commission 2007-’09