Washington's Next Wilderness? The Colville National Forest is currently holding public commenting periods to help the agency evaluate Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs) within the Forest for their potential recommendation as wilderness. Evaluation of IRAs for potential wilderness recommendation is a required step in the forest plan revision process. And if conservationists would like to see areas such as the Kettle River Range, Abercrombie-Hooknose, and Salmo-Priest Country protected as wilderness they just may want to attend one of these workshops. I have long supported wilderness additions in northeastern Washington. Currently only 3% of the Colville, a paltry sum, is protected as wilderness. Conservation Northwest has long supported wilderness protection in this important biologically and scenic area of the Evergreen State. Contact Conservation NW on how you can help persuade elected officials make an Eastern Washington Wilderness Act become a reality. Read my book Columbia Highlands to find out more about this relatively unknown area. Visit the region and take to one of its many fine and lightly traveled trails. Consider attending the upcoming commenting session in Republic on November 1st. Get involved and help protect the last wild lands in Washington east of the Cascade Crest.
(Alan Bauer hikes the Kettle Crest trail October 2008)