Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Forest Service did right thing

Sawtooth Forest Supervisor Jane Kollmeyer demonstrated the utmost professionalism and integrity by denying the proposed 90-foot Galena cell tower. She painstakingly followed Public Law 92-400 establishing the SNRA and longstanding forest visual management policy. Considerable time, energy and money were expended but it was well worth it. Common sense, the facts and the law prevailed in the long run.

On behalf of dozens of SNRA supporters in the Wood River Valley, throughout Idaho, and all over the West, we all want to say an unequivocal "thank you" to Supervisor Kollmeyer and her able staff for a job well done. I want to note that some of the key citizens and groups that gave Jane substantive input were the 300-member Nordic and Backcountry Skiers Alliance—Chris Pilaro, executive director; Linn Kinncannon of the Idaho Conservation League; Don Shepler of Galena Lodge; retired SNRA Forest Service land managers Ed Bloedel, Carl Pence, David Hoefer, Tom Kovalicky, and Jeff Jones; former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus; Dr. Dave and Kathy Richmond and Steve Wolper of the Sawtooth Group of the Sierra Club; two dedicated retired SNRA landscape architects who lent their considerable visual management acumen—Denise Jackson Ford and Tom Streit; Mike Treshow; Jeff Ferreday of Boise; Scott Silver of Bend, Ore.; Gary Gadwa and John Rember of Stanley; and many others! I apologize for missing a few.

In these tumultuous technological times we need to pause and reflect on the visionary homework that created the SNRA in 1972. We should constantly remind ourselves that this gem of Idaho and the nation in our backyard is a place for quiet contemplation and refreshment. The SNRA must not be whittled away, comprised or diluted. Truly—preserving the irreplaceable visual resource is an absolute cornerstone of the SNRA. Hats off to Jane Kollmeyer.

Scott Phillips


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