Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Protect the Boulder- White Clouds for future


    It’s time for this president to create a national monument for the Boulder-White Clouds. It is time for us to put aside our selfish interests and give the Boulder-White Clouds area the long-term protection it deserves.
    I grew up hiking, fishing and enjoying the scenic beauty of these two pristine mountain ranges. More recently, I have noticed increased pressure on this area from different user groups, and it makes me concerned about the future of this special place. Many of these user groups came together under the proposed CIEDRA legislation, sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson, and recognized the importance of putting together some sort of protection for this spectacular area.

The good thing is that people have noticed and are moving here, which stimulates our economy.

Unfortunately, CIEDRA did not have the support of all user groups or our current governor or U.S. senators. Without this support, the House bill had no chance of making it though our divided Congress back in D.C. This leaves the area in a state of limbo. The time is now to add some sort of long-term protection to the Boulder-White Clouds so that we may preserve this spectacular area for future generations.
    A national monument can accomplish this by respecting existing uses and making sure impacts don’t increase in the future. The Idaho economy stands to benefit from setting aside certain areas such as the Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument. Sitting at the trailhead last summer on my way backpacking in the White Clouds, I noticed all the out-of-state license plates. Having pristine wilderness like the Sawtooths and Frank Church, and hopefully a national monument in the Boulder-White Clouds, provides a huge economic benefit to our Idaho economy. We get a tremendous amount of visitors coming to spend time in our protected wild places to hike, whitewater raft, fish and hunt. We also get the added value of keeping and attracting businesses that think they need to be in a place that has our quality of life. Businesses such as mine find it easier to attract and retain good quality employees when we protect the things that make Idaho a great place to live. The quality of life here in Idaho is a good way to differentiate us from the rest of the country. The good thing is that people have noticed and are moving here, which stimulates our economy.
    I believe we can welcome new people, and keep this area as it is, but we need to plan ahead. Anything we can do to help protect the things that make this a great place to live are worth doing. Adding the Boulder-White Clouds to our list of national monuments gives us the best chance of protecting and enhancing our quality of life here in Idaho. This generation and this president can pass on a legacy to future generations by creating the Boulder-White Clouds National Monument.

Brian Ellsworth is Boise business owner.

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