ALERT: Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA)

SAWS Action Alert

Comments should be sent to your US Senators and Congressman before May 16.

The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) contains language that will include authorization of approximately 300,000 acres of land as designated wilderness.  This land is located in central Idaho, southeast of Stanley, and is known as the Boulder-White Clouds.

The declared purpose of CIEDRA is to spark economic growth of the region through development by providing new property tax revenue.  Certain parcels of public land, including land from the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), will be exchanged to local city and county governments for future development.

Is there really a positive economic benefit to wilderness designation?  The Frank Church and Sawtooth wilderness areas are in the immediate vicinity of the Boulder-White Clouds (BWC).  According to the forest service less than 4% of the Payette, Salmon-Challis and Sawtooth National Forest visitors recreate in these wilderness areas.  Nationwide, wilderness visitation is less than 5%. SAWS does not see how restricting the access of 95% of the public to our public lands could possibly promote increased economic benefit to the local communities.

For more information, please see the following website:

As people are aware, SAWSÔÇÖ position is strictly ÔÇ£No More Wilderness.ÔÇØ┬á We need to get as many letters sent between now and May 16 as possible.

The following contains excerpts from an alert prepared by the Idaho State Snowmobile Association, who is a SAWS affiliate organization.  A big Thank You goes out to them for their dedication to and knowledge of this important issue, important to many multiple use recreationists.

First, explain who you are and why you have an interest in the BWC area.  Either you have recreated there and you are familiar with the area or you have an interest in the management of the public lands in Idaho.  Make the comments as personal as you can and make it clear that this issue is important to you, your family and friends.

Next, explain why you cannot accept BWC Wilderness/CEIDRA because there is no proven reason why new wilderness areas are needed for 5% of the forest users.  Some possible reasons you might want to include in your letter are listed below.  If you chose to use any of them, please rewrite them with your own personal comments. 

  • This land is not under any threat and no one has demonstrated compelling need for wilderness designation.┬á Most of the BWC┬áarea is part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.┬á The qualities valued so highly in the BWC are still there because of good management under existing laws and plans.
  • BWC provides outstanding opportunities for diverse recreation.┬á Motorized and mechanized recreation have historically shared this wild and beautiful place.┬á They can continue to share it in the future.┬á Motorized and mechanized users have ridden these mountains for decades and the area still qualifies for wilderness.┬á What better testimony could there be for the compatibility of these sports with these mountains?
  • Wilderness is a classic example of the government creating scarcity.┬á If motorized and mechanized recreation activities are eliminated from this highly valued place, they will be displaced into smaller and smaller areas, increasing crowding and possibly degrading the quality of our experience.┬á We are not willing to give up our access to the BWC and will fight to keep it open.
  • A wilderness designation in the BWC will eliminate motorized and mechanized users.┬á Yet, why should we not be able to use the BWC if we do so in a responsible manner?┬á Like wilderness users we also enjoy challenge in wild and beautiful settings.┬á We value the same attributes, but access them in a different way.┬á Those who prefer hiking and horse riding already have the nearby Sawtooth Wilderness and Frank Church Wilderness for their exclusive use.┬á Must they have it all?┬á Must every special place be off-limits to snowmobilers?
  • Recreation is the new ÔÇÿgemÔÇÖ of Idaho.┬á The demand for primitive backcountry areas for a variety of sports, including motorized and mechanized, is only going to increase.┬á There is no need or justification for locking up thousands of acres of land that is suitable for multiple uses and adequately protected under existing laws.
  • The rural communities surrounding the BWC cannot afford to lose the economic benefits associated with motorized and mechanized use.┬á If wilderness was good for the economy, than why arenÔÇÖt the economies of Elk City, Grangeville, Challis, or many other small communities near wilderness areas booming?┬á In the real world those counties and communities adjacent to vast areas of wilderness are economic basket cases.┬á Much of the spending associated with wilderness activities takes place away from these communities.┬á Wilderness users buy their equipment and food from businesses like REI, based in Seattle.┬á Their local spending is limited to perhaps a meal and some gas.┬á Outfitting businesses that facilitate wilderness activities are seasonal and pay at or near minimum wages.┬á Many of those businesses are headquartered far from the places where they operate.
  • Wilderness is not the ÔÇÿultimate protection for the landÔÇÖ.┬á In fact, wilderness designation often leads to neglect and a lowering in priority for management.┬á Management of wilderness is expensive.┬á Administrative travel that takes a few hours in non-wilderness lands can take days and weeks in wilderness.┬á Modern tools are off limits for trail and other facility management, increasing the cost of management.┬á Natural fire in wilderness is a necessity to maintain its wilderness character as a place affected primarily by nature, but costs lots of money to manage and can easily escape small, irregular units of wilderness such as those being proposed today.┬á Managers have few management tools available to them and most of those tools are prohibitively expensive to use.┬á In wilderness if a stream is blocked by an earth slide or endangered species habitat is in danger of destruction by fire, or other natural catastrophe, that is nature at work, untrammeled by man.┬á The BWC needs to be managed for its unique character, not neglected.┬á

Here are links for those outside of Idaho:

Lookup your U.S. House Representative

Lookup your U.S. Senator

Be sure to include your name, address and phone number, plus ÔÇÿCentral Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) ProposalÔÇÖ in the subject line of the email.┬á

Please send this alert to anyone you know that supports shared access to OUR public lands. 

Thank you all for your interest in and dedication to protecting YOUR right to ride. 

Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Protecting the right to ride for the owners of 247,864 registered snowmobiles (2004) in the western United States.

┬áCopyright ┬® 2005 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights Reserved.

Permission is granted to distribute this information in whole or in part, as long as Snowmobile Alliance of Western States (SAWS) is acknowledged as the source. If you are not yet a member of SAWS and you would like receive these alerts, please sign up on our web site at