The following is BWCC/Lynne Stone's response to Frankenstein
TO Idaho Mt Express
Re: "Frankenstein Wilderness" Editorial July 16 04
Simpson's idea for the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains is not yet a
blueprint for a "Frankenstein wilderness" as your July 16 editorial was
Rep. Simpson has a PROPOSAL.
The Congressman heard from Idahoans at three public meetings two weeks
ago and has probably been receiving hundreds of written comments. He has
promised to read every e-mail and letter.
He has urged all user groups to listen to one another. The conservation
community has urged him to consider what is best for that which cannot
speak for itself -- the wild country and its wildlife.
If Rep. Simpson refuses to change his plan for motorizing and ruining
wilderness values on the White Cloud's west side near the Sawtooth
Valley, including favorite family hiking areas, then we agree with the
Express, this plan is a monster that should be put to rest. There are
other issues that also need changed or dropped.
But, let's not give up yet.
Today, A long time Wilderness campaigner sent an e-mail from Washington,
D.C. He said: "Legislation, in the very best of times, is about taking
risks and working hard, and not giving up, and trying to be resilient
and keep one's eye on the great goal even when the sledding gets rough
and things could be bleak."
Conservationists are working to fix the bad parts of Rep. Simpson's
Central Idaho Plan. He's heard tremendous opposition to opening up
Champion Lakes to motorcycles and snowmobiles. Also, against building a
new motorized route through the Phyllis Lake cirque. And he's heard
strong opposition to giving the pro-motorized Idaho Dept. of Parks and
Recreation money and land for trails and campgrounds.
Your editorial mentioned ATV's. There's confusion about ATV's (all
terrain vehicles). ATV's are "four wheelers", not motorcycles. ATV's are
not allowed on any single-track trail in the SNRA. They would not be
allowed on the trails like Germania and Frog Lake that are being
proposed as motorized routes. These trails are currently open to
motorbikes. His plan suggests having Germania Creek being a motorized
trail that separates the Boulder Mountains and White Clouds. This does
not necessarily mean there would be a three part Wilderness.
Unfortunately, I don't believe we are going to see any more pure
Wilderness areas like the Sawtooth, which was designated in 1972. In
1980 there were compromises in the Frank Church River of No Return
Wilderness legislation. The "Frank" has corridor roads such as
Loon-Beaver, Indian Springs, Poker Meadow-Boundary Creek and Sleeping
Deer. There are airstrips and inholdings in the Frank. There are jet
boats on the Salmon River. Yet, it's still an incredible wild place,
away from those modern, motorized intrusions.
I believe the Mt. Express has mistaken some existing roads for motorized
trails in the Simpson Proposal. His map is confusing. It shows existing
roads like West Pass, upper East Fork Salmon River, Herd Creek and Road
Creek in the same manner as motorized trails. The significant motorized
routes surrounded by Wilderness would be Big Boulder-Frog Lake-Little
Boulder Creek loop, Germania Creek and a mile of Warm Springs Meadow. In
return, Idahoans gain over 300,000 acres of Wilderness.
But, wilderness legislation will not move forward unless Rep. Simpson
backs off on his awful motorized plan for the western White Clouds.
There's also confusion about two places with similar names: Washington
Basin and Washington Lake basin. The former is an old mining area and
accessed by the Pole Creek-Germania Creek four wheel drive road.
Currently 4WD's, ATV's, motorcycles, snowmachines and bicycles go to
Washington Basin. Washington Basin is a magnificent place, but with its
roads and buildings, is not in Forest Service or conservation groups'
Washington Lake, several miles away, near Fourth of July Lake, was
recommended for Wilderness by the Sawtooth National Forest and should be
Wilderness. However, snowmachiners who want to high mark on 11,000' foot
slopes are having a strong voice in keeping Washington Lake, a family
hike, out of Simpson's wilderness boundary. We urge hiking families who
use Washington Lake to write to Simpson. Also, speak up for other family
trips: Phyllis Lake, Thunder and Lightning Lakes, Heart Lake and Six
Lakes Basin and Rough Creek.
Let's not throw in the towel, yet on Rep. Mike Simpson's plan. The fact
that Custer County residents who testified at the Challis hearing
largely did not oppose Wilderness was a watershed event.
Lynne Stone, Director
Boulder-White Clouds Council
Stone has worked on Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness designation for
over 20 years. She is the author of a hiking and mountain book guide
"Adventures in Idaho's Sawtooth Country", published by The Mountaineers,