President Obama Signs Legislation Designating Boulder-White Clouds Region New Wilderness Area

After years of environmentalists' advocacy and a decade of support from Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, the Boulder-White Clouds region is now a protected wilderness area. Just three days ago, President Obama signed legislation granting the strongest level of protection given to public land to 275,665 acres to be designated as three separate wilderness areas: the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness, the White Clouds Wilderness, and the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness. 

"I am grateful to President Obama for his signature on this important legislationand humbed by the tireless work of countless Idahoans that led to its passage," Rep. Simpson said in a statement following the bill signing at the White House.

A year ago, the Boise Chamber's Travel Industry Advisory Board listened to a presentation on the economic benefits of a decision to name Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument. In addition to protecting the area from mining, irresponsibe recreational uses, and development, naming the area as a national monument was estimated to provide a substantial boost to the Central Idaho economy by creating between 47 and 155 jobs and generating an additional $3.7-$12.3 million for the area.

Click here to read the Idaho Statesman's coverage of the decision

Click here to watch the PBS NewsHour documentary on Idaho's new wilderness, produced by the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Public Television.

Image 1 courtesy of the Idaho Statesman- Behind President Barack Obama as he signs the bill are, from left, Gary O’Malley, of the Sawtooth Society; Rick Johnson, of the Idaho Conservation League; Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho; Craig Gehrke, of The Wilderness Society; and Marcia Argust, of America’s Wilderness project.

Image 2 courtesy of the Idaho Conservation League's website