Letters from the West

Bethine Church's family spreads ashes, supports Boulder White Clouds monument

Bethine Church’s family and friends spread her ashes Thursday within view of the Boulder-White Cloud and the Sawtooths as they expressed their support for a national monument.

Church, the widow of the late Sen. Frank Church, died in 2013. The family put out this statement:

“My mother's roots in the Sawtooths and Boulder-White Clouds ran deep,” said Chase Church. “She loved this country and committed much of her life to make sure this land remained one of Idaho’s special, wild places.”

“One of Bethine’s final acts of advocacy, just a few weeks before she died, was to declare her support, for national monument designation for the Boulder-White Clouds,” said her cousin Patricia Young who serves on the Sawtooth Society Board. “Bethine knew that national monument designation for the Boulder-White Clouds would give those beautiful mountains the protection they’ve long deserved, and finish the job her husband Senator Frank Church started over 40 years ago to protect the whole of the Sawtooth and Boulder – White Clouds landscape.”

“No one knew better than Bethine that wild places in Idaho do not stay that way unless Idahoans step forward to champion their protection, taking advantage of opportunities to do so,” said Dan Williams, a Boise attorney who ran for Congress. “Bethine saw that such an opportunity exists, right here and right now, for the Boulder-White Clouds. National monument designation would recognize these rugged, spectacular mountains as the national treasure they truly are.”

“Too many who profess to love the White Clouds are sitting on the fence or imagining downsides to a monument designation for the Boulder-White Clouds,” said Larry LaRocco, a former U.S. Representative. “Those of us honoring Bethine today call on others who love these mountains to join us in honoring Bethine’s passion and dedication and unite in support for national monument designation for the Boulder-White Clouds.”

“Over the coming weeks and months the family and friends of Bethine Church will be doing all we can to promote monument designation for the Boulder-White Clouds,” said Garry Wenske, Executive Director of the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University. “We owe so much to Bethine and her passion to see the Boulder-White Clouds protected. We can think of no better way to honor her than achieving, once and for all, lasting recognition and protection of the Boulder-White Clouds.” "It is fitting the next Frank Church Conference in October will highlight the accomplishment of the Wilderness Act in its 50th year."