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Results speak volumes on local opinions for Wild and Scenic plan

Letter to the Editor

Three weeks ago, I asked the people of Idaho County to vote yes or no on the proposal to make the South Fork of the Clearwater Wild and Scenic or not.  

I would like to thank the Free Press for printing my 3 letters and thank all the people who voted. Here is how the numbers broke out: 104 total votes, 101 no and 3 yes.  97 percent no to Wild and Scenic.

That number surprised me. I realize this is a very small sample size, and there is nothing scientific, binding or official, in this “vote.” This was an informal “ask the man on the street” type survey what he/she thought. And I realize we do not manage our forest by a “vote.” But, the results do speak volumes.

How could it be the Forest Service received thousands of comments in favor of Wild and Scenic and a vote of the people of Idaho County reveal the exact opposite? And the more important question is: How can it be the people who live here, own businesses here, work here and recreate here are overwhelmingly against Wild and Scenic and the people from other states who can forward an e-mail in favor of something have the same voice?

I personally find it difficult to believe 97 percent to 3 percent is accurate.... But, I would say with confidence that “the people,” the average person from Idaho County, is against Wild and Scenic and the vast majority have valid reasons and they can articulate why they think it is a bad idea.   

I also learned the Forest Service has a real PR problem. My question to them would be why did they do this?  I understand there is a “process” and you personally did not develop “the process.” But surely you knew public opinion was strongly against this. Why spend the thousands of man hours, at taxpayer expense, to promote a program that is so controversial? Isn’t there something else we could have spent the money on that we all could be on board to get done in the forest? Is it possible “the process” is broken? 

Gary Bowling

Elk City


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