The Blaine County Commission said Wednesday it's drafting a resolution in support of the concept of a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument.
The commission held a public hearing Wednesday that brought 50 people out to speak about the proposal to turn the two mountain ranges and elk and deer winter habitat to the east into a national monument.
Chairman Larry Schoen said the commission will draft a resolution that it will send to President Barack Obama and the secretaries of Interior and Agriculture in support of the concept. The commissioners want the monument patterned after Republican Rep. Mike Simpsons Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, which would have protected more than 300,000 acres of the area as wilderness.
The commission wants uses such as grazing, snowmobiling, mountain biking and motorcycling to continue in the area where appropriate, Schoen said. It also wants to ensure that the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is not undermined.
I think the board thinks protection under a national monument is warranted, but we have some concerns about how that will be done, Schoen said.
Obama can establish a monument without Congress simply by signing a proclamation under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1908. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is planning to join New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich in a visit Friday to the Organ Mountains region of south-central New Mexico that also is under consideration as a national monument.
Read more about the proposed monument here.