I am a long-time resident of Idaho, and I am writing to express my concern about recent discussion and the pending decision to employ the Boulder White Cloud Wilderness Bill. I understand that the decision is being considered to enable the bill to be passed in the House of Representatives later this month.
However, I do not believe that the benefits of the Wilderness Bill outweigh its inherent flaws. Consider: Wilderness areas are selected to serve as safe havens and homes to our nation’s wild species; they should not be treated as parcels of land to be purchased and used to build trophy homes for the wealthy. The further bias of the bill towards land use for motor vehicle recreation will disrupt the natural habitats of many animals, not to mention put people in harms way.
Allowing the Bill to cater to ATV drivers, snowmobile enthusiasts and motorcyclists, will promote pollution, encourage greater numbers of vehicle accidents, and possibly lead to the deaths of unknowing victims that are attacked by large preditors in the territory.
It would seem that providing acreage for an official Wilderness Area would create longstanding natural resources. However, consider that the Bill allows nearly 3,000 acres of land to be dispense, free of charge for local Idaho counties to develop any way they deem appropriate. Would an incinerator, oil refinery or chemical plant built on the very edge of wilderness be appropriate? As already mentioned the Bill would also allow the purchase of land in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area for the building of trophy homes.
A Wilderness Area should be for wilderness, not a human resort with spackled areas of “rustic” wealthy dwellings. Lastly, I have heard that the state and local governments will have as much authority as the federal agencies to determine the process of fire hazard prevention within the boundaries of this area. If bulldozers and chainsaws enter into the picture unchecked, what will prevent entire forests from being razed?
Are these tradeoffs that we really want to make? I am curious to know all of the details of this bill, rather than just the rumors I have read about and heard. I would also like to know your stance regarding the bill, and what actions you intend to take regarding its exploitation. I am looking forward to your response and insight on the matter.
Barker, R. (2003, December 8). In Boulder-White Cloud mountains, another wilderness
compromise. High Country News. Retrieved online June 21st, 2006, from http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=14429
Ekker, T. (2006, February 15). Devil in the details of Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness Proposal.
Lowbagger. Retrieved online June 21st, 2006, from http://lowbagger.org/boulderwhitecloud.html
Stahl, G. (2004, June 23). Boulder-White Cloud plan scrutinized. Idaho Mountain Express.
Retrieved online June 21st, 2006, from http://www.mtexpress.com/2004/04-06-23/04-06-23wildcriticism.htm