Idaho politics: Simpson addresses off-roaders' wilderness criticisms

Taking on the most vocal critics of his Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill, Rep. Mike Simpson downplayed the effect of his bill on off-road recreation.

In a guest opinion sent to Idaho newspapers today, Simpson said the bill limits its 332,775 acres of wilderness to areas "that have the least impact on motorized and other existing uses."

Wrote Simpson: "Stakeholders, including ranchers, local officials, conservation groups, and recreationists, have found a compromise that protects this area without significantly reducing access for motorized users, giving them certainty into the future."

The Boulder-White Clouds bill, now in the Senate, would free up 130,453 acres of "wilderness study areas" for multiple use.

The Idaho Recreation Council, an off-road group, has led opposition to the bill. Gov. Butch Otter and Sen. Jim Risch oppose Simpson's bill, while Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Walt Minnick support it.

Here's the full Simpson guest opinion:

One of the most contentious issues in the wilderness debate is access. As I have worked with Idaho stakeholders to address serious land management conflicts that exist in the Boulder-White Clouds area of central Idaho, I have heard from a number of Idahoans who are concerned about losing existing access to motorized trails and recreation opportunities. The truth is that CIEDRA seeks to address a number of threats currently facing recreationists in central Idaho, ensuring that they continue to have access to this beautiful area.

Right now most of this area is being managed by the federal government as though it is wilderness. If we do nothing, the federal government could at any time increase restrictions through management plans, court decisions, or presidential monument designations.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that CIEDRA has no impact on roads that are currently open to cars, trucks, or other recreational vehicles. You will still be able to drive to your favorite spot in central Idaho.

If you like to snowmobile or ride OHVs in this area, CIEDRA strikes an important balance to preserve your access. Stakeholders, including ranchers, local officials, conservation groups, and recreationists, have found a compromise that protects this area without significantly reducing access for motorized users, giving them certainty into the future. Under this compromise, CIEDRA limits wilderness designation to areas that have the least impact on motorized and other existing uses and maintains existing snowmobile access in high elevations by adjusting wilderness boundaries so that they do not impact popular snowmobiling areas.

CIEDRA also releases wilderness study areas where motorized use is currently limited, giving recreationists more access to these areas than they have today. In drafting the bill, I intentionally excluded the Frog Lake Loop from wilderness so that it will remain open under its current use for motorized and mechanized travel.

Finally, of the two existing motorized corridors, CIEDRA closes the Grand Prize trail while ensuring that the Germania corridor must remain open in the future. This is the compromise reached by conservation groups and recreationists, to which I have remained committed throughout this process.

If you are interesting in learning more about CIEDRA or viewing maps of the areas impacted by the bill, please visit my website at

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Mike Simpson should learn that the off road creeps can never be satisfied. All they care about is their own selfish behaviour.

Yeah, these piston-jock, motor dweebs....

Yeah, these piston-jock, motor dweebs only care about being selfish and what THEY want.
Drive over untouched land, leaving huge ruts that will never heal in our lifetime, drinking beer/wine/spirits. Smoking, leaving butts and other associated garbage for us to look at.
The next thing you know, they'll be out somewhere shooting endangered birds and such.
Inbred fools. You know, if they really wanted to enjoy nature, they'd get out of their stupid trucks and commune with nature. Instead, they want to ruin it and kill the little birds and forest animals.

The hall monitor will take you to see the principal now.


If I think of something I'll let you know but I can't stand a naked signature.


There is a "creep" faction in every interest group. You've got your off-road creeps, your Birkenstock/trekking-pole creeps, your rancher creeps, miner creeps, etc. They will NOT be satisfied with any form of compromise, as THEY want it all for THEIR special interest.

This bill, so long in the making, tries to share the pie. Simpson can stay in the kitchen, altering the recipe 'til Kingdom Come, and he won't come up with a pie that's totally satisfactory to every special interest group. At some point in time, you've either gotta throw it in the oven, or hang up the apron.

As long as they

keep those BICYCLE creeps out. All will be good! :)

Simpson is lying in his crooked statement. He's against OHV rec.

Look into this CIEDRA bill closer and you will find he plans to restrict far more then he will state. Look it up you will see he is covering up his attack on our rights to use OUR PUBLIC LAND because he knows what is best for us Idahoans.

CIEDRA WILL close just under 80 miles of epic high alpine mountain bike single track.
CIEDRA WILL close tens of thousands of acres of supreme high altitude snowmobiling.
CIEDRA WILL take approximately 150,000 acres of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) that is ALREADY PROTECTED (no logging – no mining- no roadbuilding) and turn it into Wilderness. The only difference between the SNRA and Wilderness is the SNRA allows a diverse range of recreation to occur.
CIEDRA WILL put 332,775 acres into the most restrictive land management designation on the planet: Wilderness precludes any motorized use, including using chainsaws to maintain trails. Wilderness bans all mountain bike use. Wilderness puts limits on group size (usually “12 heartbeats”) and often requires permits and fees for overnight visits. Wilderness limits the State of Idaho's ability to protect and manage for wildlife and wildfire.

When considering designating public lands as Wilderness, Congress and federal land managers are advised to consider the “relative scarcity” of Wilderness in the area. In this area, there is certainly no scarcity of Wilderness. In addition to the 217,000 acre Sawtooth Wilderness that is right across the valley, immediately to the north is the largest Wilderness in the lower 48 states, the 2.3 Million acre Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, and contiguous to that (separated only by a single dirt road) is the 1.3 Million acre Selway/Bitteroot Wilderness. Adjacent to both of these vast Wilderness areas is the 206,000 acre Gospel Hump Wilderness.

There is no threat to these lands. No large commercial clear cut logging operations are pending. No mining operations, with bulldozers at the ready, can or will threaten these lands. Recreational use is intensively managed with an emphasis on protecting natural resources. This legislation seems to be “Wilderness for the sake of Wilderness,” and nothing more.

Simpson wrong for Idaho right for California or New York.

California in fiscal toilet and you tell us to send more? WHY???

Leave them alone or build camps. You like the sound of Microsoft Sam reading what you write.


If I think of something I'll let you know but I can't stand a naked signature.