With the effort again gearing up to change a small part of Craters of the Moon from a national monument and preserve to a national park, it’s again worth reviewing why this is a bad idea despite the tighter environmental regulation it will bring throughout the region.
The purpose of a national park is to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein ...” according to the law creating the National Park Service.
However, the Craters national park proposal is designed to prevent any new conservation measures while hijacking the national park “brand” to attract tourists and boost spending at area businesses.
The proposal would limit park boundaries to a 53,400-acre sliver of land that already enjoys park-level protections. The remaining 685,000 acres in the Craters monument and preserve would be left out.
Oddly enough, this effort to prevent new protections would bring unintended conservation benefits, such as stricter federal enforcement of environmental laws throughout the region and awareness of the Snake River Plain as an ecosystem that needs help.
Regardless, while I appreciate that communities in the Craters area seek an economic boost, exploiting national parks for private gain isn’t the way to go.
John Kelley, Sun Valley