Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sawtooth Society has reached out to others

    A Nov. 11 Idaho Statesman article describing interaction between National Monument proponents and the Sawtooth Society overlooks an important fact. The Society has repeatedly reached out to proponents on this proposal. Before we got involved, we visited proponents and let them know our concerns. Before taking a public position, we attempted to contact them with notice of our position. Since then, we have consistently communicated our interests and concerns.
    Four public meetings on the proposal have occurred in the Sawtooth Valley. The Society has attended all four, taking the opportunity to directly hear the desires, needs and concerns of the people most affected; some proponents have attended none. The Society continues to support additional wilderness protection for the Boulder-White Clouds, as it has for over a decade, and shares many conservation goals with monument proponents. However, we also believe legitimate questions exist about the potential impact of increased visitation caused by a monument on the fragile mountain environment, limited recreational facilities and emergency services.
    What studies have been done on the Boulder-White Clouds’ and Stanley’s capacity to accommodate such impact and who will pay for the resulting additional support services required? Have all alternative routes for additional protection been thoroughly examined? These questions deserve answers, which are best achieved through inclusive public discussion. We will continue seeking ways to foster this approach in cooperation with proponents.
Paul Hill
President, Sawtooth Society

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