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For the week of November 15 through 21, 2000

Carey comments on Craters

Expansion puts Craters boundary half a mile from city limits

Express Staff Writer

People in Carey knew U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt planned to recommend expansion of the Craters of the Moon National Monument six months ago.

Babbitt revealed his intentions when he invited Blaine County ranchers John Peavey, Bud Purdy and Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa to meet with him April 18 at Craters of the Moon.

Purdy, Cenarrusa and Peavey said Babbitt met with just the three of them in order to make the point that he wanted a good exchange with farmers and ranchers.

Cenarrusa said Babbitt "assured ranchers and farmers that there would be an open discussion and that livestock ranching would continue under BLM supervision."

Peavey said Babbitt made "a serious effort to communicate with livestock people who use that forage."

Carey officials thought they might be invited to join in the discussions, too—since the new boundary moved the monument to within half a mile of the city limits—but they weren’t.

Carey Mayor Rick Baird said now that the monument expansion is official, the city feels "similar to how we first felt."

That is, left out.

"The people of Carey didn’t have much input on the matter. I wish we had more public input," said Carey City Councilman Craig Adamson.

He said the city council heard from residents who were upset their chance to comment had been "bypassed."

Councilman Randy Patterson said he was doubtful the expansion would bring an increase in tourism trade for the city as touted.

"It won’t matter how big the monument is. A lot of people already visit the Craters. I think the expansion will have no or minimum impact on the tourism trade."

But Baird expressed concern the expansion "could significantly alter our quiet rural type of lifestyle."

"We’re really not impressed with economic impact if it destroys our way of life in Carey," he said.

As a sportsman, Baird said he wasn’t "particularly pleased" about the expansion since access would now be controlled where once it wasn’t.

Adamson and Patterson also expressed concern earlier that old hunting areas would be "locked up."

But Jim Morris, superintendent of the monument, gave a "Yes and no" answer on whether hunting will still be allowed.

Areas used for grazing in the newly added area and managed by the Bureau of Land Management will remain open for hunting. Those administered by the National Park Service will be closed.

So, for those in Carey, has a way of life changed?

Yes and no.


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