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Idaho’s Canyonlands Make “52 Places” List

October 15, 2007

Boise, ID – Idaho's Owyhee Canyonlands are highlighted as an example of America's wild legacy, in a new report from the Sierra Club that identifies 52 places of living history.

The 500,000 acre Canyonlands area is popular for hunting, fishing and backpacking, as well as being home to sacred Native American sites. Report coauthor Myke Bybee says local ranchers, sportsmen and conservation groups have been working for 20 years on a plan that has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the area isn't divvied up for development.

"It's a collaborative process that's ongoing, which hopefully will be the 'silver bullet' that solves the problem and permanently protects this area. One of the biggest threats to all of our public lands is simply development, the growth of cities, communities and homes."

The "Owyhee Initiative" would protect the area's wilderness, while recognizing that recreation and ranching are an important part of its economic base. Opponents say the Initiative would put too many limits on off-road vehicle use. The Owyhee Canyonlands also was recently named one of the "seven wonders of Idaho" by a Gem State newspaper.

The deserts of Wyoming and giant sequoias of California are also on the Sierra Club's list. Bybee says, while the landscapes are different and face diverse pressures, development has been a pervasive threat to many of them. See the full report online, at www.sierraclub.org/52places.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID