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Idaho Roadless Area Recommendations, William E. Schlosser, Ph.D.

By: William E. Schlosser

The Administration invited the states to petition the federal government regarding the management of Inventoried Roadless Areas. In Idaho, Governor Kempthorne has taken up the offer and will submit recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture to be placed in the Federal Register.

Once a state has developed and submitted its petition, and the petition is accepted by the Secretary, the Forest Service will work with the state to develop and publish a subsequent state-specific rulemaking for inventoried roadless areas that addresses management requirements proposed by the state.

The Governor has tasked individual counties to come up with recommendations for the 9.3 million acres of Idaho’s inventoried roadless areas and submit those recommendations to his office by March 1st, 2006. Although four of the ten northern Idaho counties do not have any Inventoried Roadless Areas within their borders, most chose to conduct public meetings and collect public comments about local opinions on the management of these lands. Lewis County, with virtually no Forest Service lands opted not to submit a formal resolution to the Governor.

The documents developed by each of the counties include a summary of each County’s roadless areas, a summary of public comments, and the formal recommendations by the Board of County Commissioners.

The Idaho Department of Lands and each National Forest summarized the proposed management recommendations on each of the Roadless Areas in every county. The Boards of County Commissioners prepared detailed recommendations summarized from the public comments they received. The result was recommendations for the counties, each adopted through a resolution passed by each County Commission.

All of the results were submitted to the Idaho Office of Species Conservation in Boise on March 1, 2006. Governor Kempthorne will submit a petition to the U.S. Agriculture Secretary by the end of the year. An advisory panel will review the petition, and then the Forest Service will begin writing a proposal and take more comments.

The 9.3 million acres of Inventoried Roadless Areas in Idaho are made up of lands proposed through management prescriptions by the Forest Service to be managed in a way consistent with actively managed forestlands, back-country or Roadless forests, or to be proposed to Congress as new Wilderness areas. This process gave the counties an opportunity to express their ideas, concerns and interests in the future management of these areas. Northwest Management, Inc., was one on the firms the Idaho Association of Counties used to collect and summarize the data for the northern Idaho Counties. For more information on the inventoried roadless areas contact the Idaho Office of Species Conservation in Boise or Northwest Management, Inc. in Moscow.

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