04 January 2007

Media: "The Great Wilderness Compromise" on PBS

One of our favorite journalists -- and former "Uneasy Chair" blogger -- Jon Christensen brought the following to my attention this morning:

"The Great Wilderness Compromise"

PBS "NOW" heads out West on Friday, January 5, to examine a controversial effort to find common ground on wilderness protection in the reddest state in America: Idaho.

Correspondent Jon Christensen follows Rep. Mike Simpson,the Republican sponsor of a compromise wilderness bill, from the halls of Congress to the peaks of the White Cloud Mountains. To break through the polarization that has stymied efforts to protect wilderness in Idaho for a generation, Simpson has worked hand-in-hand with environmentalist Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League for six years carefully crafting a local compromise that gives something to everyone, but none of them everything that they want.

"NOW" talked with residents, ranchers, off-road vehicle fans, and wilderness advocates, including singer-songwriter Carole King, an ardent opponent of the compromise, which would give public land to small towns in the region for future growth the most controversial of the bills many trade-offs. Exchanging public land for wilderness is a tug-of-war that has entered into a number of wilderness bills that were seeking passage in the last session of Congress. And the Idaho compromise will be among the first bills put on the congressional agenda in the new year. "NOW" offers a window into the passions that drive the wedges and the ongoing quest for common ground in western wilderness politics.

To find your local show time, check PBS NOW.

You can also see the entire 20-minute report plus additional online features after January 5 at PBS NOW Archive.

For more information about the program, which is part of a longer documentary in progress on wilderness politics in the West, e-mail jonchristensen@stanford.edu.

Jon is a research fellow at the Center for Environmental Science and Policy in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a Ph.D.candidate in American History and the History of Science, Medicine and Technology in the History Department at Stanford University.

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