Sun Valley Celebrates Anniversary of Sawtooth National Recreation Area | Valley of the Sun

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The town of Sun Valley passed a resolution last week honoring the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, a U.S. Forest Service-designated area that includes natural areas in and around Blaine County.

City Council approved the resolution by a 4-0 vote on Thursday, April 7.

“After reading that a resolution with similar intent had not passed in the Idaho Legislative Assembly, I decided it was important for this municipality, which is very close to the NARS, to do it because we all benefit,” Councilor Jane Conard mentioned.

In mid-March, the Idaho Legislature voted 45 to 22 against a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of the region’s establishment, calling it an example of federal overreach. At the end of the month, Stanley passed a similar resolution, which inspired Sun Valley to follow suit.

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area was established in 1972, largely through the efforts of the Idaho congressional delegation, Sens. Frank Church and Len Jordan, and Representatives Orval Hansen and James McClure. It consists of 756,000 acres of land and includes the Hemingway-Boulders, White Clouds, and Sawtooth Wilderness Areas. The area has over 700 miles of hiking trails and 300 high-altitude alpine lakes that visitors can access.

The resolution, in addition to mentioning the recreational benefits of the NARS, recognizes the importance of the land to the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, who own and govern the Fort Hall Reservation in southeast Idaho near Pocatello. .

SRNA’s role in preserving waterways for the many species of fish that inhabit the area is also recognized. Rainbow trout, sockeye salmon, and chinook salmon, in addition to several species of trout, swim in the rivers of the SRNA.

The resolution also notes the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the first of its kind in the United States. The reserve encompasses 906,000 acres, the majority of which is public land within the NARS. The reserve is one of the last large areas in the country without significant light pollution.

The resolution also promises “continued collaboration and partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to protect and improve…policies and regulations affecting the management of the area.”

“It’s a special resource that we have, and should be celebrated,” Conard said. 

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