Carol Eleazer’s letter (Idaho Mountain Express, Dec. 18) was very perceptive. She observed that groups advocating national monument status for the Boulder-White Clouds region of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area appear less concerned about protecting the region than in establishing “bragging rights” to mollify donors who are disappointed by the organizations’ failure to secure wilderness designation after more than a decade of trying.
Idaho Conservation League and Wilderness Society donors might be fooled by this tactic, but others should not be so gullible. A national monument is not wilderness and cannot pretend to be one. Moreover, national monument status cannot provide greater protection for the Boulder-White Cloud region than is available under Public Law 92-400. That is the law that created the Sawtooth NRA, and which has served those who live, work and recreate in the area so well for more than 40 years.
If these and others seek further safeguards for the region, they may do so via the established process for amending Sawtooth Forest management plans and travel plans. They do not need to circumvent this open, inclusive and transparent process by seeking a backroom deal with the Obama administration.