The following is Boulder-White Clouds Council's view of Rep.
Boulder-White Clouds Council Comments
Rep. Mike Simpsonís Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation
"I want to reiterate that this is not legislation. It
is a framework that I believe provides a win for all parties and allows us
to discuss this important issue." Congressman Mike Simpson.
With respect to Rep. Simpson, we disagree that this is a
"win". Instead, as proposed, his plan for a motorized Mecca on the
White Cloudís west side is a great loss for wild lands and wildlife. His
plan is better on the White Cloudís east side, where motorized intrusion
from machines has yet to gain a strong foothold.
The Framework has five parts.
1. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL IDAHO
The plan proposes to transfer lands to Custer County
adjacent to or near Stanley or in the Sawtooth Valley, which could be sold
for between six to ten million dollars.
We oppose transfer of SNRA federal lands to Custer County
or the City of Stanley. Such transfer goes against the 1972 SNRA
legislation, which was intended to stop subdivisions and protect scenic
vistas via easements.
If Stanley needs room for low cost or employee housing,
there are numerous properties for sale including hotels, which perhaps
could be converted into such, rather than developing and spoiling public
lands. Also, we not believe cities or counties should be in the business
of real estate, attempting to raise millions of dollars. The track record
is poor in Stanley and Custer County for enforcing regulations that
protect the environment.
On June 30, the City Council of the town of Stanley,
population about 100, passed a resolution requesting:
Property be transferred from the Forest Service to the
City of Stanley:
Banner street, appr. 8 acres, maximum four home sites
Old sewer ponds, appr. 50 acres, for affordable housing,
community and recreational development. [Note: a hot spring in this area
might be developed into a swimming pool with nearby RV park]
Sewer Pond upper bench, appr. 400 acres, for low-density
We will post more comments addressing concerns with the
above requests Ė including impacts to endangered salmon and steelhead in
Valley Creek; impacts to three rare endemic plant species; and impacts to
the view shed seen from Highway 75 between Lower Stanley and Stanley.
AT the City of Stanley's June 30, 2004
Resolution on Rep. Mike Simpson's
Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Proposal (CIEDRP).
AT an article from the Challis
Messenger on this subject.
AT an additional article from
the Challis Messenger:
"Hosac proposed land exchange with City of Stanley" by Anna Means
2. Transfer 1,000 acres of Challis National Forest lands
to Custer County. We oppose this and instead support direct
appropriation of funds to help Custer County. At the July 1st Challis Town
meeting, most residents expressed the need for money, not land that Custer
County will have to try and sell with unpredictable results.
3. Transfer small miscellaneous parcels to Custer County
or private landowners to clean up conflicts with USFS and BLM.
"Transfer?" Perhaps the Framework meant "sold"? Any public
lands that are to be transferred to private ownership must be paid for at
fair market value, or private lands in equal value elsewhere must be given
to the Federal Government to become part of our public lands.
4. Transfer small parcels to Custer County and the State
of Idaho to be used for recreation and tourism development.
We oppose giving land to Custer County and the state of
Idaho for this purpose because of the motorized bias that both entities
have long shown. Allowing the county or state to establish motorized
beachheads in and near the Boulder-White Clouds would create a motorized
nightmare that would ruin peace and quiet and harm wildlife security. If
such parcels would be to enhance wildlife habitat and further the publicís
appreciation of wildlife and natural values, we would reconsider.
Stanley to Redfish Lake Bike Path/Snowmobile Trail
conveyed to the State of Idaho "without consideration".
This area is part of the SNRA and any such trail SHOULD
NOT BE conveyed to the state of Idaho. The Framework does not state
if the bike path is to be motorized or not. We support a bicycle path if
the trail stays within SNRA jurisdiction. We do not support a motorcycle
path or snowmobile path. Redfish Lake in winter already receives too many
visits from noisy, stinking snowmachines. Snowmobiles chase away other
quiet recreationists who would otherwise stay and spend time and money in
PART 2 - PRIVATE PROPERTY & ECONOMIC USERS
RANCHERS - Allotment buyouts.
We support permit buyouts from all ranchers within the
Boulder-White Clouds. Allotments bought out must be permanently retired
and not re opened. We also support easements for ranchers in the East Fork
Salmon River and elsewhere to help them hold onto their base property and
not subdivide it.
OUTFITTERS & GUIDES - the plan provides for a ten-year
extension to all outfitters from current permit expiration date, allowance
to apply for additional extensions, and $500,000 to be held in fund for
trails and other improvements related to outfitting, guiding, hiking and
We prefer to let current managing agencies of outfitters
handle their permits. We also wonder why such a large sum of money is
allocated to outfitting needs -- instead of going through the current
system of having trail projects or improvements planned by the Forest
Service or BLM. The current system allows for public comment on such
projects. The Simpson plan does not.
MINING - We support the purchase of existing mining
claims within the area. The plan needs clarification on what is
"reasonable access to development" since someone may decide that
bulldozing a road to a claim, rather than hiking or riding, may be
PART 3 - RECREATION - MOTORIZED & OTHER
Note: This is the part of Simpsonís plan that fails
to protect the west side of the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains as
Wilderness, but makes motorized use the main use.
Simpson leaves out the following areas, which were
recommended by the Sawtooth National Forest for Wilderness:
Fourth of July Lake-Washington Lake Trail 109 (Fourth of
July is presently in his Wilderness boundary but may not be for long due
to pressure from motorbikers and snowmobilers)
Phyllis Lake, Thunder & Lightning Lakes
Heart Lake and Six Lakes Basin
Champion Lakes & Rainbow Lakes
Warm Springs Meadow
Martin Creek trail
Big Boulder trail
Little Boulder trail
North Fork Big Wood
West Fork Big Wood
East Fork Big Wood
SOME GOOD NEWS IN THE PLAN -- Simpsonís wilderness
boundary on the east side in the Herd Creek, Jerry Peak, Sheep Mountain
and Bowery Peak areas is better than Forest Service recommended wilderness
boundaries. In fact, Simpsonís east side wilderness proposal makes the
overall plan worth trying to improve.
The Framework specifically states that the following
trails will remain open to motorized travel:
Big Boulder/Frog Lake/Little Boulder Loop
Casino Lakes area trails
Germania Creek trail #111
Germania Creek-Bowery Cut-off trail #114
Washington Lake Trail #109
There may be other trails that are not specified.
Washington Lake - While we are willing to compromise
on some trails, we especially are disappointed that the Washington Lake
area is left out of wilderness. Washington Lake is just a mile from Fourth
of July Lake and both are the White Cloudís most popular family lake
hikes. Simpson is showing preferential treatment to motorbikers and
snowmobiles over thousands of families who hike and camp at the lakes.
Casino Lakes - We believe the motorized people should
compromise in the Casino Lakes region and allow the Rough Creek trail to
Rough Creek, Garland Lakes and Lookout Mountain to be Wilderness.
Germania Creek - We oppose Simpsonís proposal to leave
Germania Creek trail out of Wilderness. Germania Creek is the fall and
spring migration route for elk, deer and pronghorn. There are mountain
goats and bighorn sheep that will suffer from increased motorized
intrusion. The trail is in bad shape and crosses Germania Creek several
times. If the route is greatly improved, then hoards of motorcycles will
swarm the canyon, ruining a primitive backcountry experience for other
Big Boulder-Frog Lake-Little Boulder - The Frog Lake
area has high wilderness qualities and should be Wilderness.
Champion Lakes Trail #105 - Simpson proposes opening
this to year around motorized use. We oppose this ludicrous notion.
Champion Lakes isnít even open to mountain bikes.
Phyllis Lake - Washington Basin new motorized trail -
another bad idea. Phyllis Lake trail is closed to motorized use now.
Simpson would build a new trail for motorcycles and snowmachines over a
9,600-foot pristine pass, through mountain goat habitat, to connect to
Washington Lake Creek and Washington Basin. Then, some how on to Champion
Lakes. This is one of the most preposterous parts of Simpsonís plan.
Warm Springs Meadow - Simpson has yielded to motorized
interests and is proposing to keep a mile of the Meadow open to cycles so
that they can ride from Fisher Creek or Williams Creek, through the Meadow
to Martin Creek, and out to Casino Lakes region. All of Warm Springs
Meadow should in Wilderness. Simpsonís proposal allows motorized intrusion
into the heart of Warm Springs canyon. He also allows winter snowmobiling
in Warm Springs Meadow.
Grand Prize Gulch trail #112 - the Framework states
that this trail will be closed to motorized use, but then itís shown as
open to winter to snowmobiles. This is unacceptable. We support wilderness
designation for Grand Prize and the West Fork of the East Fork.
Snowmobiles will not stop at the top of Grand Prize at the wilderness
boundary. They will trespass to reach the powder bowls on the back side of
the Boulder Mountains.
Idaho Dept. of Parts & Rec - would be given $1 million
dollars for campgrounds, recreation facilities and access to federal
We absolutely oppose the Frameworkís plan to give funds to
the pro-motorized Parks & Rec department. The lands in the Boulder-White
Clouds should remain under jurisdiction of the Sawtooth and Challis
Forests and the BLM. Letting Parks and Rec. with their motorized bias and
distaste toward quiet recreation, establish campgrounds for motorized
launch pads into the Boulder-White Clouds would ruin the area.
"Equivalent Opportunity" - The plan states that if a
motorized trail or road is closed for whatever reason, another equivalent
motorized trail or road must be opened. This shall be done with the ORMV
(Off road motorized vehicle) advisory council. This is terrible
suggestion. Simpson proposes to take trail and road management out of the
hands of the forest service or BLM and gives it over to a motorized
council. There would be no environmental analysis or public input. This
language must be stricken from Simpsonís plan.
In the same vein, Simpson proposes to create new motorized
trailheads, access points and campgrounds to make up for lost opportunity
due to wilderness. We oppose this -- thereís plenty of access and
dispersed camping areas.
We support a new backpacker trailhead at Livingston Mill.
PART 4 - CONSERVATION
Wilderness Acres: Simpsonís plan calls for 250,000 to
300,000 acres to be wilderness. It would be managed in three parts as the
White Cloud, Boulder and Jerry Peak Wilderness areas. We prefer that it be
called the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness and managed as one. We support
having the SNRA, Challis and BLM cooperatively manage their portions of a
unified Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness.
These areas need to be added as Wilderness to Simpsonís
Champion Lakes watershed
Phyllis Lake Basin
Heart Lake/Six Lakes Basin
Washington Lake and Washington Lake Creek
Germania Creek-Bowery Cut-Off
Mountain Meadow Creek
Little Boulder-Big Boulder trails
Rough Creek-Rough Lake-Garland Lakes-Lookout Mountain
Warm Springs canyon Ė include the ENTIRE drainage in
Wilderness. Extend wilderness boundary to near the Salmon River at
Robinson Bar. Add nearby canyons of Treon and Beaver Creek to Wilderness.
Slate Creek Ė add entire watershed except for private land
and roads to Wilderness.
North Fork Big Wood River watershed
Upper Eagle Creek and Lake Creek near Ketchum
North Fork Big Lost River canyon to within 100í feet of
Big Lost watershed canyons: Pinto, Burnt, Garden, Lake,
Twin Bridges and Deep Creek drainages down to Trail Creek Road.
Corral Creek, Sawmill Creek and the North Fork of Sage
Creek down to the Sage Creek/NFK Sage roads.
Eliminate the Mosquito Creek jeep trail in the Simpson
recommended Wilderness for Bear Creek and Dry Hollows area.
Add the Corral-Horse Basin WSA entirely Ė there are no
Add the entire Railroad Ridge-Potaman Peak area to
Wilderness, leaving one road to the top of Railroad Ridge.
Wheelchair access: We support a proposed wheelchair
access trail at Bowery Guard Station and upstream along the East Fork
Salmon River. Also, we support a similar trail at Fourth of July and
Washington Lakes -- the easiest lakes to access in the range.
Part 5 - ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
Federal Reserve Water Right - the plan says this is
unnecessary. However, we support Federal Reserved Water Rights against a
future time when developers may seek water from the Boulder-White Clouds
to cool condos in California or grow hay in southern Idaho.
Military Overflights - the plan says nothing shall
restrict low level, flight testing or other various military flight
options. This is too permissive. Land use managers and the public should
have a say in such military activities and restrictions, if necessary,
should be established over the Boulder-White Cloud Wilderness area.