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*-- Obama signs law giving Idaho wilderness federal protection --*

WASHINGTON (UPI) - President Barack Obama on Friday signed legislation designating three new wilderness areas in Idaho, providing federal protection to more that 275,000 acres of land, the White House said.

The Sawtooth National Recreational Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act makes the Boulder-White Clouds land part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The land will be divided into three wilderness areas -- the Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness, the White Clouds Wilderness and the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness.

The move comes after more than a decade of support by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, the Idaho Statesman reported. It will make sure the land "remains for future generations as it currently is today," the White House said.

The bill, which was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, "is a huge victory for Idahoans who've worked for over 15 years to create a land management plan for the Boulder White Clouds," Simpson said earlier in the week.

"I am grateful for each and every person who participated in crafting this solution over the years and I am especially grateful to Senator Jim Risch who worked relentlessly to see this pass the U.S. Senate today."


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