COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) -- Commissioners who govern northern Idaho's Bonner County fear a plan to protect habitat for woodland caribou will create economic hardships in rural areas.

The Spokesman-Review reports (http://bit.ly/sU4YHN ) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating more than 375,500 acres in the Selkirk Mountains as critical habitat for endangered woodland caribou.

Nearly 80 percent of the proposed habitat is federal land in Bonner and Boundary counties in northern Idaho and nearby Washington state's Pend Oreille County.

The Bonner County Board of Commissioners predicted Tuesday that the plan will create new restrictions on logging, snowmobiling and forest access. Commissioners referred to the proposal as a "de facto wilderness" designation.

Federal officials contend the proposed habitat designation would impose nominal new restrictions on logging, winter recreation and other forest activities.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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