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BOISE -- A federal appeals court has upheld Idaho's homemade strategy for managing millions of acres of roadless wilderness across the state.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision Monday supporting Idaho's plan crafted in 2006. The so-called Idaho roadless rule provides the framework for use and protection for more than 9 million acres of federal public backcountry.

The plan was upheld by a federal judge in Boise last January after a coalition of environmental groups challenged its legality.

Monday's decision was cheered by U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican who while serving as governor led a collaborative effort to develop a state plan for Idaho's inventoried roadless tracts.

Risch says the decision affirms the all the work to develop a plan unique to Idaho.

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