In response to a successful petition and lawsuit by some of our regional colleagues, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a mapping of critical habitat for the woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains. Some 375,500 acres are designated, most of which is in remote roadless areas in Boundary County, Idaho, with some lands designated in Bonner County, Idaho and Pend Oreille County, Washington. The tiny herd of Selkirk caribou — estimated to consist of about 46 animals — are probably the most endangered mammals in the continental United States.
Unfortunately, opposition from the Bonner County Commissioners threatens this essential protective measure. With an overwhelming portion of the critical habitat on government-owned upper-elevation backcountry lands, and with none of the habitat on developed private lands, the Commissioners’ resistance holds little merit. Comments will be taken on the proposal through January.