The following Guest Opinion appeared in the Idaho Mountain Express for
August 4, 2006. View the original article online at
CIEDRA would provide profound legacy
LINN KINCANNON and RICK JOHNSON
For the Express
After 35 years of advocacy and attention by three
generations of Idahoans, the Boulder-White Cloud mountains have taken a
significant step toward permanent protection. The Central Idaho Economic
Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) has passed the U.S. House of
Representatives, the first Idaho wilderness bill to do so since Frank
Church was our senator 26 years ago. Although the motorized recreation
community and some environmentalists have criticized CIEDRA, the reality
is that it is a balanced, carefully crafted piece of legislation that
will protect the first new wilderness in Idaho in a generation.
CIEDRA has the support of Idaho's largest conservation organization—the
Idaho Conservation League, as well as the local Boulder-White Clouds
Council, The Wilderness Society, the National Wildlife Federation, and
the Isaac Walton League. It is also supported by the Blaine and Custer
county commissions, the mayors of Ketchum, Sun Valley and Stanley, and
many of Idaho's disabled recreation groups. On behalf of these groups
and others who care about protecting Idaho's future, we offer our
sincere thanks to the thousands of Idahoans who helped get this bill
passed out of the U.S. House.
To stand on Jerry Peak's 10,000-foot summit on the eastern side of the
White Clouds and realize that everything you can see for miles to the
west will be included in the new 319,900 acre wilderness—a wilderness
much larger in size than the Sawtooth Wilderness—is a tremendous
feeling. To give future generations that same opportunity in our
increasingly developed world is a legacy of real value.
Idaho is our nation's third fastest growing state. With that population
growth has come a comparable increase in off-road motorized recreation.
There are more than 100,000 registered trail bikes and ATVs in Idaho, a
number that has increased by over 30,000 in just the last three years.
It is essential that we set aside sanctuaries for wildlife and quiet
recreation right now.
CIEDRA contains compromises that we have considered very seriously. We
would rather have a bill that only designates wilderness, with no other
provisions. But while people argue about finding a perfect bill, Idaho's
precious roadless lands are being roaded and scarred. Passing CIEDRA
will forever protect some of our nation's most stunning landscapes, and
will ensure that our children and grandchildren will be able to
experience the Boulder-White Clouds as we have. We owe it to them.
Linn Kincannon and Rick Johnson are senior representatives of the Idaho
Conservation League, based in Boise and Ketchum.