The denial of a proposed cell phone tower for the Galena/ Sawtooth Valley area is extremely disappointing. Some type of emergency contact system is urgently needed. The many beetle-kill trees are certain to burn at some point. It's also certain careless action by someone will start the next burn if events the night of July 4 are any indication.
While enjoying the July 4th weekend at the family cabin in Sawtooth Valley, I witnessed an act of arrogance and stupidity that was breathtaking. That evening, campers at the confluence of Hell Roaring Creek and Salmon River began lighting fireworks. These were not backyard fireworks. Large starbursts, loud explosions and firecrackers echoed across the valley. I was stunned and angered.
Working with Michelle Erdie of Sawtooth Forest to create a defensible space around the family cabin has been an educational experience. The family has cut trees and piled slash for years. Observing someone endangering the private property and nearby campers was unacceptable. I apologize to anyone disturbed that night during my check of the camps along the river trying to locate those responsible. The reactions of one group caused me to take their license numbers. They called me "psycho" as I walked away. Only a true psycho would set off fireworks in a camp surrounded by dead trees and many nearby campers. This incident was reported to Stanley Ranger Station the next day. The large burned areas visible across the valley, a result of the Valley Road Fire, along with the obvious potential for fire to spread quickly out of control, would only escape someone truly stupid. I won't go into other slobs leaving a half burned plastic garbage sack in a nearby fire-pit.
The visual impact of the Hell Roaring Fire, that could easily be burning now, will make a phony pine tree on the Galena ridge seem insignificant.