Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boulder-White Clouds effort needs to look at motorized uses

    It’s wonderful to see support for adding to the protections already in place for the Boulder and White Cloud mountains. Count me in. Unfortunately, the national monument proposal—in its current form—isn’t the answer.
    Anyone truly interested in Boulder-White Clouds conservation needs to take a detailed look at the proposal. What you’ll find is it wouldn’t do a thing for the mountains. All it would do is put in place a planning process that’s no better and no worse than what’s already there. It would be the same process, with the same basic goals, now in place in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
    Further, the proposal—in its current form—could do away with SNRA protections that are greater than those available under any kind of national monument proclamation. For example, the SNRA law allows the purchase and retirement of mining claims without the consent of owners.
    While the current monument proposal includes land outside the SNRA, the debate is focused on the Boulder-White Clouds.
    What’s needed is a national monument proclamation that directly addresses motorized and mechanized vehicles that are degrading the wilderness character of the Boulder and White Cloud mountains. It makes no sense to expend the political capital necessary to create a monument unless a presidential proclamation directly takes on the problem.
    Heartfelt sentiments for greater protection need to be backed up by a proposal to make actual on-the-ground changes.
John Kelley
Sun Valley

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