Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Celebrate Idaho Rivers

Wild & Scenic Rivers Act is as important as ever

Express Staff Writer

Wild & Scenic Rivers Act protects the Salmon River near Stanley. Photo by Tim Palmer

2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. In celebration, the Idaho Rivers United will hold an evening with photographer Tim Palmer at the Community School in Sun Valley on Thursday, June 19, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. There will be a $5 admission fee at the door. Before the presentation there will be a social hour with an opportunity to meet Idaho Rivers United board members and executive director Bill Sedivy.

"Our goal is to protect and restore the rivers of Idaho," said Nikki Karpavich Outreach and Membership Coordinator for Idaho Rivers United. "The decline of salmon is a tragic story, and we are trying to raise awareness. We have a big membership in the Wood River Valley, mostly due to the success of the Legacy Project."

The entire weekend is a big celebration for the Idaho Rivers United. After Sun Valley, there will be a conference in Salmon with community leaders and interested people to discuss how to manage the rivers and their ecological benefits.

Palmer will present a slide show at The Community School based upon his coffee table book "Rivers of America." He will also talk about what is happening to the rivers around the country, which he has spent over 30 years photographing.

"In the show, I will tell my personal story of being involved and my passion for rivers and river conservation," Palmer said. "Because of easements, the Sawtooth Valley looks pretty much the same because of the land protecting efforts."

Palmer will give a slide show tour of rivers in America and highlight the Middle Fork River in Idaho because it was one of the first protected rivers in Idaho.

"It is fitting we celebrate this program in Idaho," Palmer said. "Idaho rivers are longer than others. Idaho has the fourth largest mileage of rivers of all the states."

There is a bill to protect Idaho's Owyhee River that has been passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to designate 517,000 acres of Wilderness on public lands in Idaho and establish 316 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers. This will be Idaho's single largest addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wild and Scenic Rivers system since the 1980s Central Idaho Wilderness Act.

"The wild rivers of Idaho are among the longest free flowing undeveloped rivers of the west," Palmer said. "They are not broken up by dams, irrigation and other problems, which are in the West."

Copies of Palmer's book will be available at the presentation. For details, call (800) 574-7481.

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