Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Be specfic about national monument

    It’s time for a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument proposal to make sense.
    Proponents have advanced a national monument as an alternative to the failed wilderness proposals of the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, yet they’re expecting buy-in from the public without actually proposing what protection would look like.
    This approach has left people confused. For example, half the proposed monument already enjoys protections by lying within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area—protections that the monument proposal would leave in place. While complaining that SNRA management has not been protective enough, monument advocates propose giving SNRA law “primacy” and leaving management in the hands of the same people currently making decisions.
    Make any sense to you?
    To foster a fuller discussion of the national monument idea, I invite people to visit a new website:
    The website explores the current proposal and presents alternatives. The alternatives range from modifications of the current proposal to the creation of a 291,199-acre Jerry Peak National Monument, which would encompass lands within the current proposal outside the SNRA and receive immediate benefits from a general monument proclamation.  
    The website also takes a look at the proponents’ ad campaign and economic study, and it examines what can be done under national monument law.
    I have reservations about monument designation. My concerns focus on the potential for increased use and impact that the national monument marquee may bring, and on whether a monument would bring meaningful protection to roadless areas.
    But I also think that, at a minimum, the public deserves a proposal that spells out what “protection” would look like so people can gauge their support and evaluate a monument’s impact on communities. As the creator of, it’s my hope that the website encourages people to pursue this goal.
John Kelley
Sun Valley

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