Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Plans for monument must be more specific

    Let’s just name it, shall we? The Boulder-White Clouds Monument proposal isn’t about wilderness, the economy, hunting, fishing, or even about “family values” or “Idaho heritage.”  
    What’s driving proponents—chiefly, the Idaho Conservation League and the Wilderness Society—is bragging rights.
    After 10 years of failed attempts to pass CIEDRA, the ICL and the Wilderness Society need to score a win for their constituents and donors, to whom they are accountable.
    Their motives are revealed through their actions—a disingenuous approach to affected communities.
    It is now clear proponents used public information meetings in Ketchum and Stanley not to shape the monument proposal, but to shape the key messages they would use to sell their idea. At the same time they took public comment, proponents were busy crafting a well-funded media campaign to persuade people to support vague notions of what a national monument could accomplish.
    Meeting attendees consistently pressed for specifics and a more prescriptive approach so people could know what they were being asked to support—beyond the foggy platitudes that persist in being served up and now form the basis of the advertising.
    Before another print ad runs, proponents need to press the “reset” button. They need to start with authentic, not pretend, listening. They need to align their actions with their words. And they need to tackle the tough issues now, such as proposing clear designations for mountain-bike use.
    As stewards for this rare and precious resource we all call our backyard, we must not tolerate superficial proposals fueled by organizations and leaders too eager to bring home a trophy. As proponents plan their next steps, they might consider the possibility that they are depleting the most valuable resource of all: Trust.
Carol Eleazer
Sun Valley

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