Friday, September 19, 2008

Sawtooth Society seeks new leader

Express Staff Writer

Following little more than a year under new leadership, the Sawtooth Society is back under the control of longtime founding Executive Director Bob Hayes.

Dave Genter, who was hired in June 2007, left Aug. 23.

"Dave's a very capable, competent guy and brought some real strengths to the job," Hayes said. "(But) Dave came from Helena, and he never fully made the move down to the SNRA. And so he was constantly on the road, and he had some business and personal issues that he needed to work on that were distractions as long as he was spending time down here."

Hayes said that all involved agreed it was best if Genter moved back to Montana, and the society looked for a new executive director.

Hayes, who is also president of the society's board of directors, said a search for a new director is under way, and the organization hopes to have someone on board within the next couple of months.

Hayes said the Sawtooth Society continues to keep its fingers in a lot of pies. New development, for example, continues to be a concern.

"I think we've got a new threat, and that relates to the lands owned by the state of Idaho within the boundaries of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area," he said.

The state trust lands, of which there are four parcels in the SNRA, are required to be used to benefit public education in Idaho, but that charge is antithetical to a federal mandate to preserve the area's scenic, pastoral and wildlife attributes.

"Thus far, the only inappropriate use of state land in the SNRA was the gravel the state was mining next to Fourth of July Creek in 2006," Hayes said. "The state has a legal right to do what it sees fit with its property, but we think an industrial gravel mining facility has no place in the Sawtooth Valley or Stanley Basin."

Hayes said the Sawtooth Society continues to work with the state and federal governments to try to find an alternative source of gravel.

The mission of the nonprofit group is to protect the scenic, natural and historic qualities of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, north of Ketchum.

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