Letter: Boulder-White Clouds

February 11, 2014 

I support increased protection for the Boulder and White Cloud Mountains, but I also believe the national monument proposal needs a compelling case. To date, proponents have come up short.

At the Jan. 22 Blaine County Commissioners meeting on the proposed Boulder-White Clouds National Monument, the most consistent reason proponents gave for a monument was that other protection efforts have not worked. That’s hardly a persuasive argument. Proponents failed to define problems and describe how a national monument would improve things.

A national monument would make little difference for the Boulder and White Cloud Mountains. They lie within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which offers greater protection than a national monument.

Further, supporters say a monument should preserve SNRA authority. The easiest way do that is to leave the Boulder-White Clouds as is and eliminate the risk that a monument proclamation may get it wrong.

On the other hand, half the proposed monument lies outside the SNRA. A Jerry Peak National Monument would offer immediate protections to that land.

But that’s jumping ahead. First, proponents need to articulate a case. Right now, people are rushing to get somewhere without understanding where they’re going.


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