The Sawtooth Society said Monday it opposes the proposed overlap of the existing Sawtooth National Recreation Area with a new Boulder White Clouds National Monument.
The group, formed in 1997 to support the SNRA said it does not oppose a national monument outside the SNRA nor does it support it. But it reiterated its support for Republican Rep. Mike Simpson’s Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act.
“The Act creating the Sawtooth NRA was unanimously endorsed by the Idaho Congressional delegation, had broad support in Congress and across Idaho, and it has protected the Sawtooth NRA for well over 40 years,” said Sawtooth Society President Paul Hill. “We urge a similar patient approach in the present case.”
Until recently, the opposition of Simpson’s bill by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and GOP Sen. Jim Risch, along with congressional deadlock made passage of the bill appear hopeless. But Simpson said in August he still hopes the wilderness bill can pass.
“We don’t believe this is the time to abandon efforts to enact the CIEDRA legislation, which would provide predictable and truly effective additional protection for the Boulder-White Clouds,” Hill said. “It’s simply unwise to trade this time-tested approach for an unpredictable bureaucratic process with an unknown outcome, such as a Presidential Proclamation of a National Monument.”
A large coalition of Idaho conservation and sportsmen groups along with Blaine County and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter are urging the Obama administration to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect the area that has been in limbo since the passage of SNRA law in 1972.