BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Jim Risch says he wouldn't bet on a new central Idaho wilderness this year, given the gulf separating the plan's backers from its foes.

A bill to protect 331,000 acres in the Boulder and White Cloud mountains got a hearing Wednesday in the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Public lands and Forests.

But Risch, a committee member, said Thursday that U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, the Republican behind the wilderness push, must do more to win over opponents, "or obviously they don't move."

Some snowmobile and ATV groups oppose it, as does Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Simpson now says addressing Otter's concerns is his top priority, including provisions to let Idaho wildlife agents land helicopters to track wolves.

Even if he wins those concessions, however, Otter says he still doesn't support new Idaho wilderness.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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