BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Obama administration intends to work with Idaho leaders to determine if the Boulder-White Clouds area merits national monument status. The Boulder-White Clouds is a 500,000 acre roadless area in east-central Idaho.

Parts of those lands have been considered before for either monument or protected wilderness status. Vilsack was in Boise Monday to be briefed about the upcoming wildfire season. The Idaho Statesman reports ( ) Vilsack vows to collaborate with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, supporters and others as part of the evaluation process.

Otter has been one of the major opponents to efforts to give the area federal wilderness protection. Vilsack compared the process that would be used in Idaho to the one used for the Chimney Rock National Monument established last year in Colorado.