Like everything else, renewables have their place and time. Their time is now, and ICL promotes renewable energy at all levels. Their place is on land that’s already converted for human uses. So we’re also protecting southern Idaho’s China Mountain wildlife haven from a misplaced wind project.
China Mountain is one of those Idaho experiences that leaves you feeling you’ve gone back in time a few hundred years. Only an hour’s drive from Twin Falls, it’s a jewel of a high-elevation wildlife refuge. More than 1,000 elk, 1,800 pronghorn, and many sage-grouse have persisted in the area while almost a million acres burned nearby.
Why didn’t China Mountain burn? Partly because the mountain is at high elevation and stays moist late in the year. Snow still blocks the main road in mid-June. And partly because much of southern Idaho has turned to flammable cheatgrass, but this mountain is still quilted in aspen, chokecherry, big sage and native wildflowers.
This high-elevation haven is threatened by a giant wind development that would carve the mountain with new roads and trenches and add hundreds of industrial wind turbines, all to sell power to Nevada.
We’re thrilled to see windmills sprouting along I-84 on farmlands: The farmers are happy with the extra money and the energy stays in Idaho. But big construction and big wind don’t belong on China Mountain’s wildlife habitat.
ICL is working with groups like the Audubon Society, the Idaho and Nevada Wildlife Federation, and the Nevada Wilderness Project to protect China Mountain’s wildlife. Next week, we’ll give you a chance to tell the BLM what you think.
In the meantime, experience wild Idaho with a China Mountain spring wildflower hike. We can’t point you to a tourist website-you’ll have to do old-school map navigating. When we go, we take 3 Creek Road out of Rogerson and then turn south on Monument Springs Road. Enjoy!