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Current News & Issues: Wilderness


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“Wintering elk and CIEDRA’S proposed SNRA land conveyances”

Letter from Central Idahoans for Accountability in Government to Rep. Mike Simpson inviting him to a tour.

Central Idahoans for Accountability in Government
P.O. Box 149
Stanley, Idaho 83278

March 10, 2005

Rep. Mike Simpson
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Subject: Wintering elk and CIEDRA’S proposed SNRA land conveyances

Dear Rep. Simpson,

You have asked for input before you re-introduce CIEDRA in Congress.

There are few views more stunning than a herd of elk against the brilliant backdrop of the Sawtooths in winter.

We are hoping that you might visit and be able to view them. We are including recent photographs of wintering elk in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) between Stanley and Lower Stanley. Eighty elk wintered here in the past five months along Valley Creek hot springs and nearby uplands. In hard winters there may be 125 to 150 elk.

Although elk have wintered here for generations, seeing the herds this year has an unprecedented importance because of legislation you introduced last year, the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA).

Your bill, in its current form would greatly harm these elk and their traditional wintering grounds, if the affected lands were transferred out of the SNRA for real estate and/or commercial development. The Sawtooths’ trophy elk could be replaced by trophy homes, condos, apartments, campgrounds and RV’s.

CIEDRA would give away 68 acres (on either side of Valley Creek), and 86 acres on the Valley Creek bench above the Stanley Museum. These SNRA lands would be sold and subdivided, and/or paved over for commercial uses. Taking away historic elk winter range would place the elk into greater conflict with humans, dogs, new fences, ornamental plantings and collisions with vehicles.

Unless modified, CIEDRA would profoundly and irrevocably damage important wildlife, botanical and scenic values that we hold dear in the Sawtooth country.

Knowing that you care about the fate of wildlife in the SNRA, we encourage you to come see the elk for yourself and talk with us. We now face a situation where wildlife would be seriously affected or forced out from their traditional wintering grounds. This has occurred in the Wood River Valley. We don’t want it to happen here.

We hope you can visit, but regardless, we urge you to withdraw the proposal to give away SNRA and other lands (including at Cape Horn) to Custer County and the City of Stanley for development.

While we support the protection of the Boulder-White Clouds, this should not come at the expense of ruining wildlife habitat and other priceless public lands in the SNRA and elsewhere.

Please contact Noel Sitton, 208/774-4000 to arrange a tour, so that we might discuss this critical wildlife issue first hand.


Dave Kimpton, Stanley

Marie Osborn, Stanley

Noel Sitton, Stanley

Kitty Anderson, Stanley

Jerry Hughes and Carol Finley, Stanley

Hans and Lotte Muller, Stanley

Tom Stuart, Lower Stanley

Kirk Bachman, Lower Stanley

Gary and Laurii Gadwa, Lower Stanley

Drew and Ann Nosworthy, Valley Creek

Tom and Ellen Glaccum, Iron Creek

Marilyn Mueller, Obsidian

Andy Munter and Janet Kellam, Fisher Creek

Lois Glenn, Smiley Creek

Doug and Ann Christensen, Ketchum

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