Dave Hadden of Headwaters Montana passed this along the other day. Conservation organizations concerned about the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests chalked up a win last Thursday in their fight to protect recommended wilderness areas in the two forests . . .
Missoula, MT – A federal judge today upheld important protections for some of the last unspoiled areas of the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests in northern Idaho.
In a decision issued this morning, U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen rejected a challenge by snowmobilers that sought to overturn the U.S. Forest Service’s wilderness recommendations for areas including the Scotchman Peaks and Roderick Mountain in Montana and the Mallard Larkins and Selkirk Range in Idaho. The judge ruled that the Forest Service has broad authority to manage recommend wilderness areas to preserve their wilderness values, including through limiting motorized and mechanized use in these wild and remote areas.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club and other off-road vehicle groups in November 2015 that asked the court to open the protected areas to motorized use.
The recommended wilderness areas at issue represent some of the last wild areas in the otherwise heavily roaded Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle forests. These areas provide important habitat for mountain goats, grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolverines, and a wide variety of other species, including the only remaining population of woodland caribou in the continental United States. And they provide an opportunity for hiking, horse packing, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing in a wild setting. Continue reading Court upholds protections for recommended wilderness in Northwest Montana and Northern Idaho