As a longtime resident of Idaho, I strongly believe that preserving the Boulder-White Clouds area as a national monument would bring benefit to all people in Idaho who live within the range of the magnificent rivers that carry water from this watershed. This impressive and unique high-alpine area gathers water from more than 150 peaks over 10,000 feet. A monument protects this extremely important resource for wildlife and fishing, hunting, farmers, ranchers, and the thousands of people who live in the cities and small communities, which depend on the snow runoff for water.
West of the 100th meridian, there is scarce rainfall in many areas of the Intermountain West, and the runoff from high-altitude snowfields is vital to the health and viability of residents, industry and the economy of the area. The lack of interest in water protection and refusal to think of the future has created water problems across the U.S. I do trust that Idahoans will think ahead and realize that preservation of this splendid place would not harm the present economy, but rather it would certainly sustain the future economy and necessary clean water we all depend upon.
When I was a child in the 1930s, I recall the townsfolk not being able to drink the water in the river because of chemical plants contaminating the water upstream in West Virginia. Hundreds of people were adversely affected with health problems, as well as difficult obstacles in order to obtain this important necessity of life—drinking water. We have a responsibility to this spectacular area and its watershed. We have an opportunity to recognize how important this place is for the future of our great-great-grandchildren—we dare not assume that the land will take care of itself.
Evelyne Stitt Pickett