Friday, July 6, 2007

CIEDRA?A matter of balance

Congressman Simpson's Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) leaves you wondering why Congress cannot resist the urge to solve problems that don't need solving and pass laws that aren't needed. With all the pressing problems facing this country why can't they simply leave alone what is working and concentrate on fixing what is truly broken?

So, what's not to like about CIEDRA? Well—just about everything. CIEDRA authorizes gifts of the taxpayer's money to local governments to buy their support for three unmanageable wildernesses that they know will actually hurt their economies in the long run. CIEDRA gives away thousands of acres of our valuable public land, some of it in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), to be sold for development of trophy homes. It makes all kinds of promises, such as development of special trails, motor parks, extended permits for outfitters, and freedom from annoying environmental laws, appeals and judicial reviews for grazers. It has something for everyone, providing their support is needed for passage of the Congressman's bill.

But all of these promises may be hollow.

Authorizing money is a long way from actually appropriating it. The courts will never allow language, like that protecting grazers, to stand. Then, of course, we have a Republican wilderness bill in a house controlled by Democrats. Who do you think will dictate the final language of this thing if it actually becomes law?

We don't need this divisive bill. Uses in the Boulders have reached a balance. They are well managed for a variety of uses as a part of the SNRA. They are under no threat of development or destruction and are better protected by existing laws than they would be under CIEDRA.

Motorized and non-motorized users share much of the area quite nicely. Some lands are closed to motorized access providing folks with a matchless motorless experience. Local economies in places like Stanley have adjusted to a yearlong recreation economy. They don't need to have a major component of their winter and summer customer base, motorized recreation, prohibited from entering their major attraction, the Boulders.

You don't believe the things I've said are true? The best course for you and everyone else who has concerns about CIEDRA is to read the bill itself. It isn't long and takes just a few minutes. Go to Congressman Simpson's web site,, and see for yourself. He also lists the gifts of money and land. Then let the Congressman and the rest of the Idaho delegation know how you feel. Nothing is broken in the Boulder White Cloud Mountains. So fix something that really needs fixing, like the immigration problem.

Jerry Stuart


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