Richard B. Meyer, Hailey, writes
about the fight for Castle Peak & the creation of the SNRA in 1972.
April 11, 2005
Subject: Recalling the fight for Castle Peak & creation of the SNRA
Thank you for the superb reporting in last week’s paper about the Sawtooth
National Recreation Area (SNRA) land giveaway and the great photo of
wintering elk on Valley Creek.
Rep. Mike Simpson’s proposal to give away over 162 acres of SNRA land for
development, most of it irreplaceable wildlife habitat by Valley Creek
near Stanley, is an abomination. This can’t be allowed to happen. Idahoans
need to speak up and fast.
About 35 years ago, I took a helicopter ride into the White Cloud
Mountains where ASARCO was doing mining exploration. I learned that the
company intended to develop a huge open pit molybdenum mine at the base of
Castle Peak. Others and myself sought help from fellow Idahoans, including
Cecil Andrus, to stop the mine. After a hard fought battle, we succeeded.
In 1972, the SNRA was created by Public Law 92-400 to protect natural,
scenic, pastoral, wildlife, fish and recreation values. Any future mining
venture would have to be weighed against these values.
Also, in order to keep the SNRA the special place it is and compensate
private land owners for not developing their land, since 1972 American
taxpayers have spent millions – approaching $60 million -- in scenic
easements or to buy land to stop development.
But now, Rep. Simpson seems to be shrugging off over three decades of
effort and concern that the SNRA remain unspoiled. Rep. Simpson is
prepared to hand over to Custer County and the City of Stanley, crucial
elk winter range and riparian areas of Valley Creek, a salmon and
This is wrong and it must be stopped. These SNRA lands belong to all of
us, to our children and to future generations. Please contact Rep. Simpson
and say no to SNRA land transfers. His D.C. phone number is 202/225-5531;
FAX 202/225-8216; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard B. Meyer
Hailey ID 83333