A conditional-use permit application is being reviewed by Blaine County Planning and Zoning, South Central Health District and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to build 27 cabins, a lodge, a barn, a store, an unspecified number of wall tents, a new winter ski guiding operation and a camping area at the historic Beaver Creek Store, near Smiley Creek in the Sawtooth Valley. All of this would be on 10 acres currently zoned for one house per 40 acres.

A development of this scale at this location should be met with scrutiny on multiple fronts.

The property has a scenic easement on it that was purchased by the SNRA in 1985—the development plans show a new road and septic leach field in the scenic easement. The leach field is also adjacent to Beaver Creek. The emergency services of Smiley Creek do not have capacity to protect such a development. The proposed winter snowmobile and ski guiding operation would negatively impact important habitat for mountain goat, fisher, wolverine, wolf and lynx. Furthermore, Smiley Creek Lodge already runs a snowmobile rental operation and Sawtooth Mountain Guides already holds a permit to ski guide in the area.

Check it out for yourself at co.blaine.id.us/590. Send your comments to Blaine County Planning and Zoning at pzcounter@co.blaine.id.us, Sawtooth National Recreation Area at kflannigan@fs.fed.us. and susan.james@usda.gov, and the United States Forest Service at jim.demaagd@usda.gov. and kurt.nelson@usda.gov.

Justin Stevenson


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