Like Causes?

Install the App

house Bill H.R. 1138

Designating Federal Lands in Central Idaho as Wilderness Areas

Argument in favor

This bill makes an appropriate tradeoff between conserving wilderness areas for public enjoyment while also setting land aside for local governments to use how they see fit.

Ronald's Opinion
This land should be returned to the people.
Like (6)
Peter's Opinion
Central Idaho's wilderness areas are incredibly beautiful. Keep them wild. If you have a chance, visit Bighorn Crags in the Frank Church National Forest. I just did.
Like (1)
Bobbi's Opinion
Block transfer of my federal lands to states.
Like (1)

Argument opposed

The Sawtooth area should be made a national monument, rather than a wilderness area — as it would provide for an even higher level of wilderness conservation.

AndrewGVN's Opinion
Idaho should have the full authority of what they want to do with this land, the federal government shouldn't be able to designate specific pieces of land for local government use, the state should designate areas for their best interests.
Like (4)
jrs333's Opinion
Let the state control this area. We have seen how the Office of Land Management has been used as a political pawn. Let the states have the land and get the federal government out of the land business. It was just another way the federal government tried to make money off of the citizen.
Like (3)
Alex's Opinion
No federal land, it belongs to the States.
Like (3)

What is House Bill H.R. 1138?

This bill would designate 276,000 acres of federal land in central Idaho as wilderness areas, and include them in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Additionally, this bill requires transferring the ownership of the specified parcels of federal land to Blaine and Custer Counties, and the cities of Challis, Clayton, and Stanley in central Idaho.

The bill also releases specified portions of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). The WSA designation is given to roadless areas that have been primarily affected by the forces of nature, while providing “outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined types of recreation.”


Visitors to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Forest Service and BLM personnel, and the local governments receiving conveyances of federal land.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1138

$250.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost less than $250,000 over the next five years, which would primarily be used by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop new management plans and install new signs. It would also involve the removal of a barn from one of the parcels of land.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) attempted to pass similar legislation between 2004 and 2006, but his proposal  — which was similar to this legislation  — ultimately failed to go anywhere.

Rep. Simpson has praised the cooperation that occurred between recreation enthusiasts and conservation groups to arrive at this proposal, although not all conservationists have retained their support for this particular bill. The new bill would allow existing motorized-use trails to remain open to motorcycles, and as a result some conservationists believe Rep. Simpson has “veered away from that compromise.”

There are also proposals that could designate the area as a national monument which could come about as the result of a presidential authorization, though that is not likely to occur before the end of 2015.

This bill was approved unanimously by the House Natural Resources Committee.


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Mystery in the mail)


Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act

Official Title

To establish certain wilderness areas in central Idaho and to authorize various land conveyances involving National Forest System land and Bureau of Land Management land in central Idaho, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • EnactedAugust 7th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed August 4th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed July 27th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedFebruary 26th, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!