Cook County Board Opposes Buffer Zone

The Cook County Board of Commissioners recently voiced its opposition to the establishment of a buffer zone near the limits of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Cook County News Herald reported, HERE, that Commissioner Bob Fenwick, writing on behalf of the Board, expressed opposition to the creation of noise buffer in locating a new snowmobile trail to South Fowl Lake.  Fenwick wrote:

“We feel it necessary to state that no action should ever be taken to create either legally or by custom a buffer zone of any kind near the boundaries of the Wilderness. Along with the deleterious economic and cultural effects, it should be noted that such zones stand in direct conflict to the intent of the BWCA Act of 1978.”

The letter comes as the U.S. Forest Service continues the scoping process to assess the noise impacts of the trail which would replace one that, until recently, cut illegally through the BWCAW.  The judgement from a 2006 lawsuit over a proposed trail directed the Forest Service to consider the potential impact on the BWCAW of noise coming from the trail.

The Cook County Board’s letter, according to the News Herald, also chided the Forest Service for not appealing that element of the decision.  It believes the Boundary Waters Act of 1978 directs and encourages the Forest Service to develop non-wilderness recreation opportunities in close proximity to the BWCAW boundaries.

Wilderness News Online reported on the snowmobile trail in August, HERE.

A News Herald story on the matter from that time is HERE.

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