local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Friday — February 13, 2004


Will Simpson lead
on wilderness?

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson still has a chance to be the leader that Central Idaho needs—or fade into the footnotes of history.

Last year, Simpson and his staff broadcast his effort to craft a bill to create a federally protected wilderness in the Boulder and White Cloud mountains of Central Idaho.

Simpson is now in his third term. He and his staff spent a great deal of time the last couple of years organizing meetings and conferring with different groups of wilderness users.

In the fall, the promised plan became hostage to a fight between southern Idaho farmers and salmon advocates in a complicated battle over Snake River reservoir water that advocates want released to carry smolts to the ocean. Drought-ridden farmers took exception to the demand.

Conservationists sued the federal government and demanded a new analysis of the effects of Snake River dams on salmon recovery. The case awaits a judge’s ruling.

It’s time for Simpson to get the Boulder-White Clouds hostage released. Although some of the players involved on both sides of the salmon fight are the same ones in wilderness negotiations, the wilderness designation should be a separate issue altogether.

Yet, since the bout over salmon, Simpson’s silence on wilderness has been deafening.

If Simpson has drawn up a plan for a Boulder-White Clouds wilderness, he’s been keeping it under lock and key. No one in the public—including people who were part of the discussions--have seen anything that looks remotely like a bill for a new wilderness area.

Simpson has a choice.

He can use the charisma and talent that served him well in the Idaho House for 14 years and brought bickering legislators together under his gavel when he was Speaker of the House for six years. Or, he can decide the whole issue is too hot to handle and drop it.

That would be a shame.

The Boulder and White Clouds mountains have long been designated as wilderness study areas. The economic arguments against wilderness have faded away in light of evidence that wilderness produces economic benefits for nearby communities.

Anyone who hikes or camps in these mountains knows they need and deserve wilderness protection. The alternative is to watch this wilderness waste away as the incursions of man take their toll.

Long ago, this nation acknowledged that people need places in which to escape from the noise and the demands of modern society.

As the nation’s population has continued to grow, the need has become acute. The economics are there. The discussions are over.

What this wilderness needs now is leadership. Only Simpson can decide if he will provide it.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.