By BUCK DREW
To the gentleman from California who wrote a very thought-provoking letter published in the Idaho Mountain Express: In the letter, you declared your intention not to visit the Sun Valley area because of the publicized wolf derby in Salmon. Maybe I can help shed light on the subject. I now live in Ketchum, but I raised my two children in Salmon for 10 years, in the 1980s.
One child went on to graduate valedictorian from Salmon High School and the other accompanied his father to Ketchum and graduated from The Community School. I have experienced both towns extensively and love each for completely different reasons. These two towns adequately represent the diversity of Idaho culture.
I chose to live in Salmon because I was in need of an adventure outside my suburban upbringing. I was not disappointed. Salmon is a very caring community filled with wonderful people who practice the Golden Rule by birthright.
Alas, there are those extremists depicted well in your letter, whose mission it is to challenge anything which might influence the perceived limiting of their liberties.
Fortunately, those who publicly display such disregard for varied wildlife populations are a minority. While living in Salmon, I was constantly reminded that folks in the Lemhi Valley display a more pragmatic attitude towards their cattle, their game, and any other animal that may compete for the same space. A good friend and rancher would regularly tell me, “Buck, I am sure you love your golden retriever. If she gets anywhere near my cattle, I will shoot her.” That was one of the few times I did not see Dave smile; he meant it.
Sun Valley and Salmon represent two distinct lifestyles in Americana today.
Salmon, like any location in Idaho, must be seen in its entirety. Most of our communities are full of contradictions. Dave, the rancher, also thinks like a conservationist and recently sold a large easement of family land to The Nature Conservancy. And Dave’s neighboring rancher was the first parent to step up and donate enough money to Salmon Youth Hockey to provide the children uniforms and equipment.
By the time I left this beautiful part of Idaho, Salmon had an Arts Council, tennis and golf, and most importantly to me, a sustainable ice hockey rink. They were making progress.
Your pro-environment sentiment is certainly shared in the Wood River Valley. I can only hope you realize that by boycotting Sun Valley you will miss out on a cultural light of Idaho, the best skiing, the incredible hiking, magnificent mountain biking, fishing and all the other wonderful activities.
Many conservationists and progressive thinkers live in the Wood River Valley and are doing their best to protect and preserve wildlife and lands. Our combined efforts and outdoor experiences are what ultimately bind us together as a community. We celebrate life on a daily basis by living it.
Sun Valley and Salmon represent two distinct lifestyles in Americana today. You may not want to miss out. The tone of your letter depicts you as the type of engaged personality we need more of in Idaho, not less. Instead of boycotting, would you consider meeting with me to discuss joining some of the effective conservation organizations already in place?
Buck Drew, of Ketchum, is a dentist and the board president of Idaho Rivers United.