Sunday, November 27, 2022

FSPW reaches 10,000 Friends

| December 12, 2021 1:00 AM

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, a local grassroots nonprofit, recently made their 10,000th Friend. This a major milestone in keeping the Scotchman Peaks area wild and roadless for future generations. These 10,000 “Friends” of the Scotchmans have all signed their name in support of designating the Scotchman Peaks as Wilderness.

The Scotchman Peaks proposed Wilderness is 88,000 acres – about the same size as Lake Pend Oreille. The area spans North Idaho and Northwest Montana, crossing into Bonner, Lincoln and Sanders counties. Iconic destinations in the proposed Wilderness include Star Peak, Little Spar Lake, the Ross Creek Cedar Waterfalls, and of course, Scotchman Peak.

Since the 1970s, the land has been managed as Wilderness by the U.S. Forest Service. This means it is roadless and undeveloped. But the Scotchman Peaks lack protection from future development. That’s why the Friends are working to pass a bill in the U.S. Congress, ensuring that the area remains wild for future generations.

“As the number of quiet, wild places shrink, Scotchman Peaks Wilderness will become even dearer," said Friend of the Soctchmans and Bonner County local, Molly O'Reilly.

Efforts to make Scotchman Peaks Wilderness began in 2005 in the communities surrounding the Scotchmans. Since then, support has quickly grown in towns and on the trails. The Friends lead people on hikes, build trails, and teach outdoor education to local students. All of this work is to ensure more people can get out and explore the Scotchmans.

“One hike at a time, we are introducing people to their wild backyard,” said Phil Hough, Executive Director from FSPW. “Slowly but surely, more and more people are discovering that the Scotchmans are exceptionally wild and well-worth saving.”

An overwhelming majority of FSPW’s Friends are from Idaho and Montana, living in the communities surrounding the Scotchmans. They are bow hunters from Libby, backcountry horsemen from Rathdrum, mountain bikers from Sandpoint, and everyone else in between.

FSPW’s official 10,000th friend was Lesly Starling, resident of Libby, Mont. As a nurse, she deeply values her time spent in nature as a source of rejuvenating self-care.

“I believe that our wild lands need protection and I really love the idea of a community and volunteer driven grassroots collaboration working towards that outcome,” said Starling.

To learn more about FSPW or become a Friend of the proposed Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, visit

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