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Letter to Mt. Express, by Erik Schultz.

 

CIEDRA Deals are Reasonable

 

February 15, 2006
Mountain Express, Ketchum Idaho


Dear Editor:

I am tired of out-of-state environmentalists representing minor league groups like Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Wilderness Watch, (Missoula) and Western Lands Project (Seattle) attacking local efforts to find workable solutions to the decades-old question of wilderness designation for the Boulder-White Clouds.

Wilderness designation in Idaho has never come clean and simple, as some would have us believe. Our two most cherished protected areas, the SNRA and the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, were products of locally driven compromises and exceptions that caused heartburn to environmentalists. The fears that those compromises would sabotage the very places they intended to protect proved unfounded.

Now Rep. Simpson has presented us with a new set of compromises necessary to realize protection for our backyard cathedral.

To be sure, conveying some public land to Custer County as part of the package that would designate over 300,000 acres of the largest roadless chunk of real estate left in Idaho and the lower 48 is tough to swallow. But what our out-of-state friends donít mention is that this precedent has already been set by other Western states in much larger amounts.

From 2000-2004, Congress passed three major wilderness and development bills for Oregon and Nevada that collectively privatized over 200,000 acres of public land. These bills enjoyed widespread bipartisan support. In comparison, CIEDRAís small land transfers seem downright reasonable.

History shows that the tough deals needed to pass wilderness bills will eventually fade in importance, and all that remain are landscapes protected for all time.

Erik Schultz
Hailey, Idaho
 

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