Editor’s note: This guest blog was authored by Alan Reynolds, one of the Boulder-White Clouds’ biggest advocates.
When I used to come here to visit, I would drive down old Highway 93 (now 75) and admire the Sawtooths and Boulders as they skyline the ride. Then one time I looked up the 4th of July Creek valley and saw mysterious pale peaks hidden by the big front range foothills. Except for that 6-second window, the Boulder-White Clouds don’t exist from the road.
I moved here for the wild land and rivers, and I looked up the peaks and found the White Clouds. I searched for access and began exploring the hidden range. I would leave work at 5 on Friday and be hiking into spectacular lakes by 6.
My job as the county land planner led me to the federal land planning efforts that were mandated by the Sawtooth National Recreation Area legislation that delayed the cratering of Castle peak with an open-pit molybdenum mine. The roadless area review and evaluation processes focused federal planning efforts to value natural lands for their wilderness values and wild land recreation potential. Boundaries and acreages were discussed and tweaked and put into forest plans, and were prepared for legislative description.
After one whittled-down wilderness bill did not survive the legislative process, the political ideology landscape killed the planning efforts.
But the mountains are still there. The lakes still hold beautiful trout and the meadows still feed the bighorns and elk. The lodgepoles still feed and house the jays and squirrels.
And then Rep. Mike Simpson came along and hammered at the process and made it happen. Thank you.
– Alan Reynolds