Personal tools
You are here: Home News Press Room Press Releases Conservation groups respond to Colville NF wilderness recommendations with mixed feelings
Document Actions
  • Email this page
  • Print this
  • Bookmark and Share

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Conservation groups respond to Colville NF wilderness recommendations with mixed feelings

With release of the Forest Service proposed action for the Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests’ forest plan revision today, local conservation groups responded to the preliminary recommendations for wilderness on the Colville with mixed feelings. The proposed action for the Colville National Forest includes preliminary administrative wilderness recommendations for four distinct roadless areas, including much of the Bald/Snow, Profanity, and Hoodoo Canyon areas in the Kettle Range and the Abercrombie Mountain area northeast of Colville in the Selkirk Mountains. Several thousand acres of roadless land adjacent to the existing Salmo-Priest Wilderness, which is northeast Washington’s only designated wilderness area, is also recommended for wilderness.

For more information, contact
Jun 30, 2011

Colville, WA — With release of the Forest Service proposed action for the Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests’ forest plan revision today, local conservation groups responded to the preliminary recommendations for wilderness on the Colville with mixed feelings. The proposed action for the Colville National Forest includes preliminary administrative wilderness recommendations for four distinct roadless areas, including much of the Bald/Snow, Profanity, and Hoodoo Canyon areas in the Kettle Range and the Abercrombie Mountain area northeast of Colville in the Selkirk Mountains.  Several thousand acres of roadless land adjacent to the existing Salmo-Priest Wilderness, which is northeast Washington’s only designated wilderness area, is also recommended for wilderness.

“The Colville NF’s preliminary wilderness recommendations for some truly spectacular and deserving wild country including much of the Kettle Crest, Abercrombie Mountain, and additions to the Salmo Priest Wilderness is a step in the right direction towards long-awaited Congressional designation as wilderness,” said Mike Petersen, Executive Director of The Lands Council.

All of these blocks of rugged backcountry as well as many others have been proposed by conservationists for protection for nearly four decades.  Without roads and given their mostly steep terrain, these areas have little timber value, but are extremely popular with hikers, hunters, equestrians, and backcountry skiers.  All of those uses would continue under a wilderness designation, as would cattle grazing.  Other lower elevation areas that also qualify for wilderness consideration, however, were not recommended for wilderness in the proposed action.

“While the proposed action recommends wilderness for some of the most scenic Crown Jewels of the Colville forest, it disappointingly leaves out several thousand acres of wilderness quality lands along Sherman Pass and other deserving wildlands like the 13-mile canyon area south of Republic, which scientists have shown is important for species of wildlife like the Canada lynx and wolverine that are known to move through the region,” added Petersen.

Over eight years of collaboration on the Colville National Forest has made it a model for other forests struggling with ongoing conflicts over forest management.  The Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition, a group that includes timber businesses, foresters, community leaders, and conservation groups including Conservation Northwest and The Lands Council, has been instrumental in ending the timber wars in northeast Washington and making it possible for a balanced forest plan that includes some wilderness and increased timber harvest to move forward.

“Wilderness is a necessary and important component of a balanced forest plan for the Colville, but the proposed plan also includes areas where restoration and timber harvest would occur, areas for motorized and backcountry recreation, and other things the local community has asked for,” said Derrick Knowles with Conservation Northwest.  “It’s nobody’s perfect plan, but it’s got a little of something in it for everybody,” added Knowles.

Forest Service wilderness recommendations are often the first step towards eventual permanent Congressional wilderness protection. “We will continue to collaborate with others who have a stake in the future of the forest in hopes of reaching agreement on a balanced plan for the Colville National Forest that has enough community support for Congress to introduce legislation that would designate new recreation and conservation areas, new trails, and wilderness areas,” added Knowles.

More information on the Colville and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests' forest plan revision process

 

###

Document Actions
powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy