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Current News & Issues: Wilderness


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Washington, D.C.  -  Congressman Mike Simpson announces changes to his framework for Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA). The changes will also be on his webpage:

These first set of changes, additions and deletions are in response to the comments that I heard at the town hall meetings in Ketchum, Stanley, and Challis and the written comments I received at my offices,” said Simpson. “I have been impressed with the substance and volume of the comments.  They speak well to the passion that Idahoans have for the Boulder-White Clouds and their use and enjoyment of the area.”

Changes Include:

  • 4th of July Basin-  The 4th of July Basin will remain open to snowmobiling from Blackman Peak to Patterson Peak (West Side) including the 4th of July Basin.  The 4th of July Basin will be closed to all other motorized or mechanized activities.  A wheelchair accessible trail will be established to 4th of July Lake from the Phyllis Lake cutoff.
  • Creation of OHV Parks-  Three OHV motorized recreation parks could be developed near Boise, Twin Falls, and Pocatello.  Land would be transferred from the BLM to the State of Idaho if the state chooses to participate.  Each area would include a beginner track to teach safe, responsible riding techniques as well as areas for different skill levels.  These areas could be managed by the state Parks with funding from the Off-highway Vehicle Fund as developed in the framework.
  • Proposed Phyllis Lake Trail-  After further investigation, it appears it would be difficult to develop a motorized trail from Phyllis Lake into Washington Basin and at this time will not be considered.
  • Area north of Herd Creek Road-  Approximately 10,000 acres in the Spring Gulch, Dry Hollow area north of the Herd Creek road will not be included as Wilderness.
  • Hemingway Wilderness-  An additional wilderness area called the Hemingway Wilderness Area will be created adjacent to and North of Sun Valley and Ketchum in Blaine County.  (See Map)
    • This area is North of Ketchum, to the east of Highway 75, and North of Trail Creek Road and is approximately 40,000 acres.
    • The areas proposed are currently closed to all motorized activity. 
    • Protects the snowmobile-cross country skier agreement boundaries.
    • Would include the BLM lands adjacent to Sun Valley on the north side of Trail Creek Road including lands adjacent to the Hemingway Memorial.
    • Areas that would be included in wilderness are:
      • Amber Lakes,
      • Goat Creek,
      • The Konrad Creek area northwest of the SNRA headquarters,
      • The Murdock Creek watershed,
      • The upper reaches of Eagle Creek and Lake Creek including the ridgelines between Eagle Creek and Lake Creek and between Lake Creek and Trail Creek. (The roads up Eagle Creek and Lake Creek would remain open to provide access.)
      • The south-facing slopes between Trail Creek and Lake Creek Lakes with Trail Creek serving as the Wilderness boundary on the north side of the Trail Creek Road.

The proposed Hemingway Wilderness would not include:

      • Neal Canyon trail as the boundary will be northeast of Neal Canyon,
      • It will also leave the upper reaches of the West Fork of the North Fork of the Big Wood open to snowmobiling,
  • No “Buffer Zones” or “Protective Perimeter”- Congress does not intend for the designation of wilderness pursuant to this framework to lead to the creation of protective perimeters or buffer zones around any such wilderness area.  The fact that activities or uses can be seen or heard from areas within the proposed wilderness shall not preclude the conduct of those activities or uses outside the boundary of the wilderness area.

For more information on Wilderness, click here.

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