For the week of June 17 thru June 23, 1998  

GAO to arrive in SNRA in July


By KATHRYN BEAUMONT
Express Staff Writer

The General Accounting Office will visit the Sawtooth National Recreation Area the week of July 6 to do "survey scoping work" as part of an audit of the SNRA, according to public affairs officer Ed Waldapfel.

The audit, which is in its preliminary stages, was requested March 17 by U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, chairman of the Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The audit will focus on funds allocated to the SNRA for fiscal years 1993-97.

"We welcome the audit," said Waldapfel. "This is just looking at what has been appropriated and what actually gets down to the ground level."

The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress and is responsible for examining use of public funds.

Audits of national forests are common, Waldapfel said. The last GAO investigation involving the SNRA was in 1996.

This audit, however, involves only the SNRA. As part of its "survey scoping work," the GAO will also visit the SNRA Regional Office in Twin Falls and the Intermountain Regional Office in Ogden, Utah, during the week of July 6, Waldapfel said.

Other SNRA personnel applauded the GAO visit as well.

"The only downside to this is going to be the time it takes to provide the information," said Ed Cannady, backcountry ranger for the SNRA. "But if it brings out the truth we are not afraid of the truth."

 

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