by Deanna Darr
After nearly eight years, the Owyhee Initiative is nearing a final vote in Congress.
The initiative, turning more than 500,000 acres of the Owyhee Canyonlands in southwestern Idaho into wilderness, and adding hundreds of miles of wild and scenic river designations, is part of the larger Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 approved by the Senate earlier this week.
It is now before the House of Representatives, and Sen. Mike Crapo, longtime sponsor of the Owyhee Initiative, said he hopes for a vote within the next two weeks.
If the House passes the bill without changes, it will head for President Barack Obama's desk for final approval. If there are changes, Senate supporters of the bill will face the threat of continued filibusters.
The initiative has had it’s many supporters and detractors over the years, something Boise Weekly will be taking a closer look at in the coming weeks. Check back in a few weeks to see how ranchers and conservationists managed to agree on something.