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Friday, June 18, 2004


Boulder-White Clouds blueprint released

Myriad users accommodated in Simpson’s draft wilderness and recreation proposal

Express Staff Writer

There’s something for almost everybody in Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson’s new draft of wilderness and recreation legislation for the Boulder and White Cloud mountain ranges.

Released today, the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act proposal features potential designation of three separate wilderness areas, opening and closing of trails, construction of a paved bicycle path and federal land transfers to Custer County, among a myriad of other considerations.

It would also stick $1 million in the Idaho Off Road Motor Vehicle Program’s bank account and convey federal properties to the state of Idaho to be administered as campgrounds, recreation facilities and as access points to federal land. It would create a Boulder-White Clouds Recreation Management Area that would include all lands not designated as wilderness.

Simpson stressed that the document is meant as a starting point for public consideration and is not a finished product. The concepts will be refined over the summer following public meetings and a public comment period.

"I want to reiterate that this is not legislation," the Idaho Republican wrote in the introduction to the proposal outline. "It is a framework that I believe provides a win for all parties and allows us to discuss this important issue."

Though the document is broken into five distinct parts, the meat appears in sections about wilderness designation, property transfers and motorized trail access.

The proposal would designate three wilderness areas, totaling between 250,000 and 300,000 acres in all. They would be called the Boulder Wilderness Area, White Cloud Wilderness Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Area. The latter would be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, while the U.S. Forest Service would manage the Boulder and White Cloud wilderness areas.

Corridors of motorized trail access would divide the wilderness areas.

Along with the designation of three new wilderness areas, all other Wilderness Study Area lands contained in the two mountain ranges would be released. Congress designated the Wilderness Study Area in 1972 when the Sawtooth National Recreation Area was established.

Simpson also has proposed a number of strategies for economic development in Custer County, including the transfer of federal land to Custer County to be sold for development.

An undetermined amount of SNRA land west of Stanley and adjacent to Highway 21 would be conveyed to Custer County. After its subdividing, Simpson estimates the land could be worth between $6 million and $10 million.

Another 1,000 acres of Challis National Forest lands would be transferred to Custer County.

Other "small miscellaneous" properties would be transferred to Custer County or private landowners to clean up conflicts with the BLM and Forest Service.

Other small properties would be transferred to Custer County and the State of Idaho to be used for recreation and tourism development.

Another part of the economic development package would be construction of a paved bicycle path and winter snowmobile trail connecting Stanley with Redfish Lake.

"The Forest Service shall convey to the state of Idaho, without consideration, a right-of-way on federal land along the west side of Highway 75 from Stanley to the Redfish Lake turnoff," according to the document.

Also, ranchers impacted by the wilderness designation would be allowed to voluntarily retire their public land grazing privileges.

Finally, the proposal would reopen the Champion Lakes Trail to two-wheel motorized access, and it would create a new motorized trail connecting Phyllis Lake to the Washington Basin Trail. The proposal lists a number of existing motorized trails that would remain open to motorized and mechanized access.

Four trails presently open to motorized access would be closed and included inside wilderness area boundaries.

Simpson announced on Tuesday, June 15, that he would release the plan today. The release comes nearly nine months after the congressman stated the proposal would be ready for public review last September.


Town hall meetings:

Rep. Mike Simpson announced today that he would hold three town hall meetings in July to discuss the proposed framework for a possible Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA).

  • Ketchum, July 1, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., American Legion Hall. The focus at this meeting is on the wilderness component of CIEDRA.

  • Stanley, July 1, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Stanley School. The focus at this meeting is the recreation component of CIEDRA.

  • Challis, July 2, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Challis High School. The focus at this meeting is the economic development component of CIEDRA.

Information is available online at www.house.gov/simpson. E-mail comments there or write to Rep. Mike Simpson, 802 West Bannock Street, Suite 600, Boise, ID 83702.


Roads and Trails

Open to motors
Washington Basin Road
Fourth of July Road
Pole Creek Road
Fisher Creek road
Frog Lake/Little Boulder Loop Trail
North Fork of the Big Lost River Road
Casino Lakes area
Railroad Ridge area
Germania Creek Trail
Germania Creek-Bowery Cutoff Trail
Livingston Mill Road
East Fork Road to Bowery Guard Station
West Pass Creek Road
Herd Creek Road to Herd Lake
Washington Lake Trail to the lake
Champion Lakes Trail

Closed to motors
Grand Prize Gulch road and trail
Fourth of July Trail
Warm Springs Trail
Bowery Creek Trail
Snowmobile access
Railroad Ridge area
Casino Lakes area
Warm Springs Meadows area
Fisher Creek area
Washington Lake area
Washington Basin area
Pole Creek’
Grand Prize Gulch


City of Ketchum

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