Horsemen lobby against land restrictions

Associated Press - Spokesman-Review

NAMPA, IDAHO - 4/8/02 _ The outdoorsmen who venture into the state's wilderness on horseback are worried they may someday find the trail cut off to them.

The Back Country Horsemen of Idaho organization is lobbying lawmakers and the U.S. Forest Service to ensure two bills headed for Congress do not restrict their access to wild lands.

During the organizations annual state convention in Nampa on Saturday, the group met with Randy Welsh, the U.S. Forest Service Region 4 director and a representative from U.S. Rep. Butch Otter's office.

"Values have changed," Dennis Dailey, the outgoing chairman of Back Country Horsemen of Idaho, said. "America has become urbanized, and most of the people forgot how we came here."

Dailey said two wilderness bills that Congress will consider in late 2002 or early 2003 would limit access to an area along the Owyhee River, about 80 miles south of Nampa, and the Boulder and White Cloud mountain ranges near Stanley.

"Those bills are being promoted by environmentalists with a narrow view of outdoor use," he said. "But they're not the only fish in the sea. We're here, too."

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