Letters from the West

ICL’s Johnson says he’ll drop efforts on national monument if wilderness bill finalized

Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Rick Johnson told the opponents to his own Boulder-White Clouds National Monument proposal what they wanted to hear when he testified Thursday.

Wyoming Republican Rep. John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, pressed Johnson on what his organization wants.

Monument or wilderness?

“At the end of the day we want whatever gets done,” Johnson said.

Then Barrasso cut to the chase.

“Is it fair to say then you’d be satisfied if Congress designates these areas as wilderness and would oppose the monument idea and get others to do the same?

Johnson didn’t hesitate.

“If the bill passes, absolutely, then we have done the job,” he said. “However if the bill doesn’t pass... You’ve got it.”

The Boulder-White Clouds National Monument, is a 591,800-acre proposal Johnson and other groups have asked President Barack Obama to designate using the Antiquities Act of 1906.

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act would prohibit development and mechanized use — including the mountain bikes on 272,000 acres in three areas: Hemingway, White Clouds and Jim A. McClure-Jerry Peak.