BOISE – The Idaho Conservation League celebrates the passage of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Addition Act through the U.S. Senate. The action taken is the nearly final step to formal and lasting protection for one of America’s most pristine and wild landscapes, the Boulder and White Cloud Mountains of Central Idaho.
"This has been an extraordinary week and a half," Rick Johnson, Executive Director of the Idaho Conservation League, said. "The bill has passed the U.S. House, had successful committee passage in the U.S. Senate, and now passage by the full U.S. Senate. This is an amazing accomplishment by Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. Jim Risch. We thank you for your leadership, as will generations to come."
The next and final step is a signature by the President.
"From our perspective, this wilderness bill could have been stronger. The national monument proclamation ICL and others have been working towards over the last three years would have protected more acreage. However, we understand that legislation requires compromise. The conservation community had to give some-and so did other stakeholders. At the end of the day, we are pleased that one of Idaho’s most pristine wildernesses gets the lasting protection it deserves."
The new 275,000-acre wilderness will protect the region’s diverse wildlife, waterways and ecosystem while still providing recreational opportunities that make this region a destination for many and a driver of the local economies.
The Idaho Conservation League has worked to protect the Boulder-White Clouds since its founding in 1973, and has been a very close partner with Rep. Mike Simpson in his efforts since he was first elected to Congress. Frustrated by over a decade of Congressional inaction, ICL and other partners, with the encouragement of former governor and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, developed an alternative strategy: a national monument.
"ICL’s goal has always been enduring protection for the Boulder-White Clouds in whatever way could get the job done. We congratulate the delegation on this achievement and thank thousands of supporters who’ve been steadfast in their advocacy for this very special place."