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“Proposed SNRA Land Transfer”

Letter to Custer County Commissioners and the Mayor and City of Council of Stanley from Central Idahoans for Accountability in Government. .

March 30, 2005

Custer County Commissioners
Chairman Lin Hintze
Commissioner Wayne Butts
Commissioner Cliff Hanson

City of Stanley Mayor Paul Frantellizzi
Councilman Neil Anderson
Councilman Steve Barnard
Councilman Dick Neustaedter
Councilman Charlie Thompson

Subject: Proposed SNRA land transfers

Dear Elected Officials,

We are requesting a public meeting with you in Stanley to discuss CIEDRA’s (Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act) proposed transfer of 162 acres of SNRA land to the county and/or city. We would also like to tour the parcels with you, and invite local citizens to join us.

We are gravely concerned that CIEDRA’s SNRA land transfers for real estate and commercial development would undermine the values for which the SNRA was established. Giving away these SNRA lands for development sets a precedent for similar future transfers.

The SNRA was created on August 22, 1972: That ... in order to assure the preservation and protection of the natural, scenic, historic, pastoral, and fish and wildlife values and to provide for the enhancement of the recreational values associated therewith, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is hereby established.

Since 1972, American taxpayers have spent $58 million dollars on easements and/or outright land purchases to protect the above values. Recently $2 million was spent in the Stanley Basin to curtail development on 160 acres. Now, incredibly, CIEDRA proposes to turn over 162 acres of SNRA lands to you for real estate and commercial purposes.

We object and believe that most local citizens and Idahoans would also object -- if people were informed.

We are also concerned about our Stanley elk herd that winters along Valley Creek. We have written to Rep. Mike Simpson regarding how commercialization along Valley Creek and the hot springs area (Parcel C of 68 acres) would ruin crucial, historic elk wintering grounds, and displace our elk. During hard winters of deep snow, the elk survive on Valley Creek’s snow free thermal areas.

The Valley Creek uplands (Parcel B of 86 acres) are grazed by elk during the spring and fall. During light snow years like this one, our Stanley elk herd foraged there much of the winter.

In normal winters, a groomed snowmobile trail goes from Stanley to Nip and Tuck road through Parcel B. This is the ONLY snowmachine access to the north and west from Stanley. Snowmobiles also use the gentle hills on Parcel B as a winter playground.

Selling ten lots of seven acres each for trophy homes on Parcel B would displace elk and/or snowmobilers depending on snowfall. We assure you that wealthy people, who would buy these lots, will NOT want snowmobiles in their expensive neighborhood. If snowmobiles are allowed, then it's likely the lots won't sell.

In sum, we object to the SNRA land transfers specified in CIEDRA, and cannot support CIEDRA because of them. We urge you to ask Rep. Mike Simpson to withdraw the SNRA land parcels from his bill. If necessary, we will travel to Washington D.C. to inform key members of Congress that local citizens oppose these SNRA land conveyances.

We look forward to talking with you in person over this important issue.

Please contact David Kimpton, 774-3386, by Friday April 8th.


David Kimpton
On behalf of Central Idahoans for Accountability in Government

Rep. Mike Simpson
Sawtooth Society Director Bob Hayes
Idaho Media

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