SAWS Action Alert: Owyhee
Initiative – Wilderness Proposal
Comments should be sent to your US Senators and
Congressman before April 15.
Owyhee Initiative is currently being espoused as a landmark agreement between
the ranching, recreation, and environmental community. In truth, recreationists, along with hunters,
were underrepresented in the process.
information is available here - http://www.owyheeinitiative.org/
this agreement contains language that proposes 511,116 remote acres in Southwest Idaho be set aside for wilderness
designation. As people are aware, SAWS’ position is strictly “No More
Wilderness.” We would like to get as
many letters sent between now and tax day, April 15. Many letters all at once could have a greater
impact than those that trickle in over long periods of time.
following contains excerpts of an alert prepared by the Idaho State Snowmobile
Association. A big Thank You goes to
them for their knowledge of this issue.
ISSA Public Lands Director Sandra Mitchell represented the People For The Owyhees, one of ten member
organizations on the Owyhee Initiative board, and when
a vote for passage was asked for, she rightfully abstained.
address all letters to your Senators and Congressman. Include your name, address, and phone
number. When sending email, we MUST
include ‘Owyhee Initiative’ in the subject line. Otherwise the email will not be read.
Idaho Residents – Here is the contact
information for our elected officials:
Honorable Larry Craig
United States Senate
225 N. 9th Street
Boise, ID 83702
Honorable Mike Crapo
521 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702
Honorable Butch Otter
Boise, ID 83702
links for those outside of Idaho.
Lookup your U.S. House Representative
Lookup your U.S. Senator
letters with Dear Senator or Congressman __________
If you are familiar with the Owyhees, explain who
you are and your experiences with this area.
Why you recreate or use the Owyhees and what
the area means to you. Make the comments
as personal as you can, coming from the heart, and make it clear that this
issue is important to you, your family and your friends.
are not familiar with the Owyhees, identify yourself as an Idahoan
(or other state resident) with an interest in the management of public
lands. Explain how you use our public
lands. Make your comments as personal as
you can, coming from the heart, and make it clear that this issue is important
to you, your family and your friends.
of the letter should address the reasons why you do not support the Owyhee
Initiative. Suggestions for issues you
might want to include are listed below. Please feel free to expand upon them.
You do not have to include all of them—some you may not agree with. This is your letter so express your
position. Also, you may have other
objections you wish to bring up--the more personal the letter the better.
comments to consider:
- Idaho has enough wilderness, over 4 million acres, and doesn’t need more.
- This land is not under any
threat from motorized recreation and no compelling need for wilderness
designation has been demonstrated.
- There is no logical reason to
tie efforts to protect cattle grazing to the designation of
wilderness. I support the cattle
industry and would support legislation to help them but it should not be
tied to a loss of access for me.
- The land involved in this
proposal is already protected quite adequately under existing law. Designation as wilderness will actually
diminish the level of protection by severely limiting management options.
- I cannot support over 510,000
acres being recommended for wilderness in the Owyhee Initiative. 100,000 acres in this proposal have been
determined to be unsuitable for wilderness by the BLM. These lands could best be used for other
purposes including grazing, wildlife habitat and recreation.
- Garat has to be maintained as a
crossing. At present, the public
has access to the lower end of Battle Creek through the Jackson family property at
Riddle. This road is private,
however, and there is no guarantee that access will be granted in the
future. If the family, or any
subsequent owner, ever decides to close the road, thousands of acres of
public lands will become inaccessible to us. Having a crossing at Garat
will provide an alternative route to the lower end of the Battle Creek and Yatahoney
- Crutcher’s Crossing is proposed to
remain open but the wilderness boundary extends approximately four air
miles (7 road miles) north of the river to a small 200 acre section of
private property known as the C Ranch.
This small private property controls all access to the crossing
from the north side of the river because the road goes through it. There is no guarantee an easement can be
obtained from the landowner before any legislation is passed.
- The Dickshooter
loop road provides the primary access routes for hunters and other
recreationists into Deep Creek and Battle Creek Canyons. Access from this road cannot be compromised.
- The recreation community was
underrepresented in the Owyhee Initiative negotiations. The playing field was not level and the
interests of recreations were not given adequate consideration.
- Hunting, mining and other
interests were not sufficiently represented.
- Hard release language has to
be considered for Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) being released from WSA
status. The agencies should never
again be able to consider these areas for Wilderness.
- If hard release language is unacceptable,
then we suggest that those WSAs released be
designated “Backcountry”. With this
designation, one can ensure that these lands maintain their present
character in perpetuity and allow for the uses that are appropriate,
including grazing and motorized vehicles.
**Please send this alert to anyone you know that supports
shared access to OUR public lands.**
Thank you all for your interest in and dedication to
protecting YOUR right to ride.
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States
Protecting the right to ride for the owners of
247,864 registered snowmobiles (2004) in the western United States.
Copyright © 2005 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights
is granted to distribute this information in whole or in part, as long as
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) is acknowledged as the source. If you are not yet a member of SAWS and you would like receive these alerts, please
sign up on our web site at: http://www.snowmobile-alliance.org/