Craters of the Moon National Monument should become a national park. The key factors should be local and statewide political support for it, demonstrable ecological and scenic qualities of the land, and opposition to it by legitimate stakeholders. All of this can be quantified if proponents of Craters of the Moon engage local scientific and political knowledge into a concise report that could be spread to the public.
The ecological values that I’ve seen in Craters include the enormous number of kipukas (native grasslands surrounded by lava), unique and beautiful native plants, deer, antelope, and many varieties of birds. Thousands of acres of sagebrush have grown in the national monument, with only native species affecting them, a fact that has given sage grouse, pikas and pygmy rabbits superb habitat. Spatter cones, cinder cones, tree molds, stone arches and dozens of caves in Craters are fascinating to explore. In addition, designated wilderness and already protected unroaded areas in the national monument are important for wildlife. If the new designation includes protection of unique natural values and gives residents of Carey and Arco some money in their pockets, well, why not have a new national park?
Mike Medberry, Boise