Blaine County, ID Commissioner Angenie McCleary Expresses Strong Support for Boulder-White Clouds NM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2014
Blaine County, ID Commissioner Angenie McCleary
Expresses Strong Support for Boulder-White Clouds NM
“It’s a place that people want to go back to”
Hailey, Idaho -- In a video released today by the Idaho Outdoor Business Council, Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary expressed her strong views supporting national monument designation for the Boulder-White Clouds region in Idaho. The Commissioner emphasized that the quality of life in Blaine County and access to outstanding recreation is what makes it a special place, and permanently protecting the Boulder-White Clouds is an important goal to help sustain those key values.
“We care a lot about environmental protection, so as a board we believe a national monument will enhance protection while still allowing for recreational opportunities which are an attraction for visitors as well as our residents,” said Commissioner McCleary. “I believe it will have a positive impact on the economy. We are driven by tourism and recreation and I think this will help attract people. People already love to come here and this will be one more reason for them to come.”
The Boulder-White Clouds region is the largest pristine unprotected roadless landscape in the lower 48 states, and considered one of the last best wild places in North America. With an abundance of fishing and hunting opportunities and rugged alpine terrain, the area is a mecca for sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
Blaine County in central Idaho is adjacent to the southern border of the proposed monument. The county is home to the Sun Valley ski resort, and hosts events and festivals throughout the year, including Wagon Days, Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sun Valley Harvest Festival, and the Sun Valley for the Arts Wine Auction.
Earlier this year, the Blaine County Board of Commissioners issued a resolution which speaks to the importance of the public process and raising local voices. The resolution makes the case for monument designation, asking the President to declare the Boulder-White Clouds a national monument by proclamation for the purpose of permanently protecting the area’s exceptional scientific, cultural and historical values and wilderness qualities.
The Blaine County commissioners are part of a growing coalition of key organizations interested in the benefits a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument brings to their businesses, communities and to Idaho as a whole. Recently 45 Idaho businesses sent a letter to President Obama, expressing their support for the protection of the stunning Boulder-White Clouds landscape through a National Monument proclamation. The letter was organized and sent to Washington by the Idaho Outdoor Business Council (IOBC), a coalition of businesses and recreation groups dedicated to preserving and promoting Idaho’s spectacular wild lands and waters.
“As a coordinator for the IOBC, it is encouraging to have the backing of the Blaine County Commissioners in this collaborative effort to protect the Boulder-White Clouds,” said Cailin O'Brien-Feeney, Policy Director for Winter Wildlands Alliance, a national conservation group headquartered in Boise. “Last week I met with the Idaho Congressional delegation and Administration officials and they heard our message about the connection between land protection, and benefits to the local economy loud and clear. On this video Commissioner McCleary reiterates that, and further emphasizes the importance of permanently protecting the Boulder-White Clouds. “
The IOBC letter highlighted for the President the economic benefits of the proposed Boulder-White Clouds National Monument to the areas of Blaine, Butte, Camas and Custer counties, with a focus on likely increases in visitation and visitor spending, and the growth brought about by new amenity-driven businesses and residents. A recent study commissioned by IOBC to quantify the monument’s economic impact forecasts a 10% - 33% increase in visitor spending, which would generate 47 to 155 new jobs in the four-county area and increase the region’s total economic output by $3.7 - $12.3 million per year.
In total there are more than 20 local and national recreation and conservation groups, including the Outdoor Alliance, Idaho Conservation League, The Wilderness Society and Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds, in support of the creation of a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument.
The mission of the Idaho Outdoor Business Council is to provide a strong voice on behalf of sustainable recreation and of the benefits of healthy lands and waters to Idaho’s important outdoor recreation economy. The group accomplishes this by: Educating public officials about the importance of conservation measures including roadless areas, wild and scenic rivers, and improved opportunities for hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, camping, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing, Supporting public lands funding initiatives as drivers for Idaho’s outdoor recreation economy and quality of life. The group is online at www.idahooutdoorbusinesscouncil.org