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Idaho in the 1970s


Governor Cecil Andrus
Governor Cecil Andrus

Heavy wartime demands for lumber and the enormous amount of construction throughout the nation after the war led to a boom in the Idaho lumber industry. Starting in the middle 1950s the industry diversified and began producing a variety of wood products. Beginning in the early 1970s, concern for the environment became a political issue. Under the leadership of Democratic Governor Cecil Andrus, elected in 1970, legislation providing for improved conservation of natural resources, rivers, and streams was enacted. Throughout the 1970s many regions in Idaho were designated as national forest areas or wilderness areas including the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, and the Seven Devils mountains.

With the state’s great expanse of forests, scenic mountain ranges, and spectacular river canyons, tourism became an important source of income in Idaho. Tourism became vital to the state’s economy with the decline in important mining and timber industries. When the Bunker Hill Mine and Smelter, one of Idaho’s largest employers, ceased operations in Kellogg in 1981, it left 2,000 workers without jobs. Just five years earlier Kellogg had been a regional hub to the Silver Valley area, in which about one-quarter of the population worked in the mining industry. Although the silver market improved, new technologies permanently eliminated thousands of jobs. Kellogg, like many other mining and lumber towns across the state, is trying to develop its tourist industry. Tourism supplemented agricultural and industrial diversification as a factor in the state’s continued economic growth.

Idaho in the 1990s


In 1992 Idaho was the center of a national controversy when Randy Weaver, a white separatist living in the state, failed to appear in court for a federal weapons trial. Federal officials surrounded his home on Ruby Ridge, where he had taken refuge. The 11-day standoff ended when shots were exchanged, leaving a federal officer and Weaver’s wife, Vicki Weaver, and son dead. The case raised questions about federal policy on the use of deadly force. The policy was eventually changed to emphasize that federal agents must use nonlethal methods to apprehend fugitives whenever possible. In the aftermath of the incident, Randy Weaver and his friend Kevin Harris were tried and found innocent in the death of the officer, and the Weaver family won a $3.1 million settlement against the federal government for the assault. In May 1998 a federal judge dismissed charges of involuntary manslaughter against the federal agent who shot Vicki Weaver, ruling that the officer had acted within the scope of his duties. "Idaho" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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