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New wilderness signs honor former Gov. Andrus

Posted: 10:41 AM, Oct 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-10 12:41:29-04

KETCHUM, Idaho — Idaho Conservation League staff and Central Idaho Wilderness Steward volunteers installed new signs this week along the White Clouds Wilderness boundary –- reflecting the area’s name change to the Cecil D. Andrus White Clouds Wilderness.

Betsy Mizell, ICL’s Central Idaho Director, helped collect the $8,000 in funds to make more than a dozen signs. The money was raised by Craig Gehrke of the Wilderness Society and Andy Brunelle, one of Gov. Andrus’ staffers from 1988 to 1995.

ICL’s Ketchum office also helped recognize each donor who contributed to the effort.

For three days this week, a team of four ICL staff and two Central Idaho Wilderness stewards hiked the wilderness and installed the signs at six different locations along the boundary.

“The Cecil D. Andrus White Clouds Wilderness is such a beautiful area in Central Idaho. It’s fitting that it bears Andrus’ name because he did so much to protect these and other public lands throughout Idaho and the U.S.,” Mizell said.

The new name of the wilderness area was championed by Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson and officially changed by Congress in 2018 to honor the late former Idaho Governor and U.S. Secretary of the Interior. But the Forest Service, given its tight budget and backlogged work schedule, had neither the funds nor the labor to make and install signs with the new name.

ICL members helped establish the Frank Church River of No Return, the Owyhee Canyonlands, and the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness areas.

The group’s Central Idaho office runs a successful wilderness stewardship program.

(photo courtesy: Idaho Conservation League)