The Fight For Jefferson
It’s called the “Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.” It’s a piece of Wilderness legislation introduced by Montana Senator Jon Tester which is basically destined to reduce jobs and restrict recreation (I wonder if this is how he came up with the name.)
Well, technically, this legislation is dealing with a lot of forest service land in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. But what has the ire of Idaho snowmobilers is how this piece of legislation sucks in less than 5,000 acres of land tucked into the Hellroaring drainage with Idaho wrapped on three sides.
This small parcel of land can’t stand on its own for Wilderness designation due to its size. It can’t provide the “true” wilderness experience due to its location tucked in the Targhee National Forest which is actually “open” for public use.
Environmental arguments for Wilderness designation are even conflicting—on one hand they complain about the excessive use by snowmobilers, while on the other hand they claim the area is rich in wildlife. (Apparently the only animal known to man that has a conflict with snowmobiles is the environmentalist … a modern species that commonly dwells in big cities and tends to roam on the National Geographic channel.)
Environmentalists use fancy “feel-good” language like this area is the “fountain of the Missouri River.” And yet, even though snowmobilers have been recreating in this area for nearly a half century, without the federal government coming in to protect the area environmentalists fear the fountain will surely go dry.
The basic environment argument is this: Snowmobilers should not be so greedy and stick to the groomed trails in the Targhee (they actually called them “taxpayer funded trails … but that’s for a different rant.) Yet environmentalists believe they are not only entitled to of the entire world, but they should be able to control everyone’s access. Some of us would like to provide them access to hell … but they would likely demand control of that place too.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is doing a good job leading the fight and providing information to the progress of the bill. It’s worth your time to stay informed in this one. We would all hate to lose our access to Jefferson.