House kills resolution on recreation area’s 50th anniversary

March 16, 2022 GMT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers in the House on Wednesday rejected a resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho.

The House voted 45-22 to kill the resolution that opponents decried as a recognition of federal land management in Idaho.

The 1,150-square-mile (3,000-square-kilometer) area includes the most rugged and pristine landscapes in the state that draws outdoor enthusiasts from around the country for its fishing, hunting, backpacking, rock climbing and other activities.

The area includes the Sawtooth, Hemingway–Boulders, and Cecil D. Andrus–White Clouds wilderness areas.

Republican Rep. Megan Blanksma blasted the resolution.

“This is not a celebration of wilderness of the state of Idaho,” she said. “This is a celebration of the federal government’s over-reach in management of what should be state lands.”

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Democratic House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel supported the resolution, talking about discovering the area some two decades ago.

“The notion that you could hike for a week, for 10 days, and be surrounded by gorgeous crystal clear streams and trees and stunning peaks,” she said. “I had never seen anything like it. I didn’t know that there was such a thing in North America people could go to for free and hike into.”