Sen. Jim Risch’s staff held a second open house this week to gather constituent input about the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. About 275 people attended the open house in Clark Fork on Tuesday. A similar number of people attended an open house in Hope last month.

Looming above Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River in the Cabinet Mountains, Scotchman Peak is the highest point in North Idaho’s Bonner County. For nearly 12 years, ICL has partnered with the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness to permanently protect this special place. Home to mountain goats, grizzlies and fields of bear grass, this area offers hikers easy access to a wild place with superlative views.

At the open house, informational displays were set up to answer common questions about wilderness designations. In addition, staff from the senator’s office and the U.S. Forest Service were on hand to answer other questions. Both open houses offered a productive environment in which members of the public could engage in conversations with the staff and agency officials about the proposal.

The Idaho Conservation League  appreciates the fact that the senator’s office is providing these opportunities for the public to weigh in. We also want to thank Forest Service officials for participating in the open houses. And thanks to everyone who attended one of these open houses and demonstrated their appreciation for this landscape.

What’s Next?

After the senator’s office has had the time to review the comments, I’m sure the senator will decide whether to host additional open houses, reintroduce the bill he sponsored in December, or modify the proposal. Let’s hope that he does not drop the effort.

Didn’t Make It to an Open House?

If you were unable to attend one of the open houses, you can email Senator Risch using his website  to share  why you value the Scotchman Peaks today and express your support for protecting  this amazing landscape  as wilderness.