we all love about Idaho
opinion by LINN KINCANNON
Kincannon, of Ketchum, is the Central Idaho director for the Idaho
Conservation League (firstname.lastname@example.org).
we love about Idaho? Open Spaces. Natural surroundings. The freedom to
enjoy our wilderness and pass them on to our children and grandchildren.
However we experience Idaho’s wilderness, fishing, hunting, hiking,
horseback riding, camping or just having the ability to get away, it is
important to protect these places of beauty and solitude for future
generations while we can.
many wonderful places, and rating favorites in Idaho’s outdoors is
like rating favorite family members; it can’t be done. They are all
the best in their own way. But there is little doubt that central
Idaho¹s Boulder-White Cloud Mountains are high on the list of favorites
for many Idahoans.
Boulder-White Clouds cover an area approximately 25 miles by 30 miles
with amazing scenery, free-flowing rivers, high mountain lakes, and over
60 wildlife species. One of Idaho’s largest elk herds lives there, as
well as mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The lakes provide great
fishing and camping opportunities.
there¹s no guarantee that what we cherish and enjoy about the
Boulder-White Clouds will be here 10 or even five years from now. In the
1950s we could not have imagined the huge impacts of industrial forestry
and road building or the capacity of enormous mines to scar mountains
and taint our lakes and streams. We aren¹t any better at predicting the
future now. How can we make sure that the Boulder-White Clouds will stay
the same as they are today, and that our children and grandchildren will
enjoy the same freedom we have to fish, hunt, hike or just get away?
way is to designate it as Wilderness, the gold standard of land
protection. The Wilderness Act, passed by Congress in 1964, states,
"In order to assure that an increasing population … does not
occupy and modify all areas within the United States … it is hereby
declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American
people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring
resource of wilderness," and promises "… outstanding
opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of
recreation." The Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness proposal ensures
that Idahoans will be able to use this treasure for future generations.
The land will remain open for outdoor activities (such as hiking,
hunting, fishing and horseback riding), while 160 miles of roads will
continue to provide easy access to the wilderness. No private land will
be affected and grazing can continue on the public lands. And protecting
the Boulder-White Clouds will help the local economy without displacing
any current businesses. This is a way to protect an important part of
Idaho for Idahoans.
generation of wilderness bills places added emphasis on the needs of
nearby communities. A Nevada "Wilderness" bill which was
recently passed by Congress facilitates land exchanges, provides land
for affordable housing, and gives other community support, as well as
designating wilderness. Idaho’s leaders have a great opportunity to do
the same in Idaho providing some much needed support for rural
communities in central Idaho and protecting the Boulder-White Clouds for
Note: The Boulder-White Clouds, a roadless area on the east side
of the Sawtooth Valley north of Ketchum, are currently managed as part
of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.