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Current News & Issues: Wilderness


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Letter to Mt Express by Lynne Stone re. article on Blaine County Commissioners CIEDRA hearing .


October 14, 2005
Mountain Express, Ketchum Idaho

Dear Mt Express:

Last week’s Mt Express article about the Blaine County Commissioners hearing on Rep. Mike Simpson’s Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness plan, had some errors and erroneous implications.

1st, Rep. Simpson’s CIEDRA bill will NOT provide $18 million to buy out public land grazing allotments. The bill has up to $7 million earmarked for ranchers who would voluntarily relinquish their White Cloud grazing permits.

2nd, those from the audience speaking for CIEDRA at the hearing numbered 14 people. Those unsure or against numbered 7. That’s 2-1 for the bill. Not a 50-50 split, as Greg Moore reported.

State Representative Wendy Jaquet and retired Blaine County Commissioner Len Harlig were among the long time county residents urging support for CIEDRA.

3rd, regarding the “conservation” panel speaking against CIEDRA, I had never met three of the six people on that panel before. Only two have “longtime” (as Moore reported) experience on this issue. One, singer Carole King, is advocating her bill, the Northern Rockies Prosperity Act - a bill that would designate wilderness in five states.

King’s bill is not realistic. It would likely close every mountain bike, motorbike and snowmobile area in Blaine and Custer County including the popular Fisher-Williams Creek Loop.

In the over two decades I have worked on Boulder-White Clouds wilderness protection, it’s become very clear that many others besides Wilderness advocates also use and care about these mountains. This is why Rep. Mike Simpson has worked out a compromise so that CIEDRA also includes motorized and mechanized recreation areas.

CIEDRA is in its FIFTH revision since a draft plan was introduced in June 2004. It’s steadily improved.

My words to Blaine County Commissioners included the well-known fact, that neighboring Custer County needs an economic boost. CIEDRA would do that. Indeed, CIEDRA could be the “Custer County Prosperity Act”.

CIEDRA would give Custer County $5 million for infrastructure and economic development.

Moore’s story infers that Boulder-White Clouds Council for whom I work, supports giving away 2000 acres of federal land to Custer County. We do not. I spoke in strong opposition to the transfer of 162 acres of SNRA land in Stanley to Custer County and the City of Stanley.

Lastly, I disagree strongly with Kaz Thea, Northern Rockies Prosperity Act, who stated that the new wilderness areas in the Boulder-White Cloud would “have no heart” like there is in the Sawtooth. Having traveled over all the Boulder-White Clouds in the last 23 years, I can assure Kaz and anyone else, these wilderness areas will indeed have heart -- they would be magnificent.

Politics is the art of the possible. After going 25 years without any new Wilderness areas in Idaho, CIEDRA makes Wilderness for the Boulder-White Clouds possible.


Lynne Stone, Director
Boulder-White Clouds Council

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