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The Boulder-White Clouds are a sportsmen’s paradise.

We aim to keep it that way.

Idaho sportsmen have waited nearly a decade for Congress to preserve our hunting and fishing opportunities in Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds. But after years of broken stalemate politics in Washington, D.C., enough is enough. It’s time to resolve Congress’s shortcomings before some of the best backcountry hunting and fishing in the country can be spoiled by new developments, new mines or irresponsible motorized use.  The clearest path to protect the Boulder White Clouds is via a National Monument proclamation. This is the best opportunity available to set existing management in stone to ensure this remarkable landscape remains the way it is today for future generations of sportsmen and women.

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Stellar fishing in the White Clouds underscores need for national monument

Chris Gerono hooks a nice native west slope cutthroat trout in the Big Boulder Lakes.

Chris Gerono hooks a nice native west slope cutthroat trout in the Big Boulder Lakes.

Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds took several seasoned anglers into the Big Boulder lakes recently to go fishing.

The Big Boulder lakes are located in the headwaters of the White Cloud Mountains. The cold, clean water in the lakes is ideal for growing lots of fish.

A horse packer carried our camping gear and float tubes into Walker Lake. But the anglers had to pack their float tubes up steep, rocky slopes to access the best fishing. All of the hard work paid off, because once the anglers starting fishing, they were catching fish constantly.

Kahle Becker, board member of the Idaho Wildlife Federation, hikes into the Big Boulder Lakes.

Kahle Becker, board member of the Idaho Wildlife Federation, hikes into the Big Boulder Lakes.

“Yeah, being out in the float tube there, that water was so clear you could see 30-40 feet down, and it’s just surreal experience, look down, and see all of these cutthroat down there … it was like a Caribbean snorkel trip or something,” said Kahle Becker, a board member of the Idaho Wildlife Federation.

“Fishing was really awesome, super awesome,” adds Chris Gerono, an Idaho fishing guide. “It was just amazing, I think I caught 9 fish in 9 casts. We caught several of the biggest fish of the day. With the float tubes, we were able to kick around and fish to likely spots and enjoy the magnificent towering white mountain peaks that were all around us. There were some little snowfields left from last year … absolutely, breathtaking fly fishing at its best.”

“It was pretty dang good,” Becker says. “Had one of the best high mountain lakes fishing days of my life there. It was a lot of fun …  beautiful scenery, crystal clear water, nice cutthroat, fought pretty hard.”

The beauty of the White Clouds is breathtaking ...

The beauty of the White Clouds is breathtaking …

Sportsmen for Boulder White Clouds support the creation of a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument. “I think the Boulder White Clouds are really the crown jewel of Central Idaho,” says Michael Gibson, outreach coordinator. “It deserves protection in perpetuity. The fisheries resources, the hunting resources here, the big game resources, are just off the charts. It really deserves to be protected more than it is right now.”

The Boulder White Clouds national monument proposal would protect the whole East Fork of the Salmon River watershed. By combining the Jerry Peak Roadless Area, Herd Creek and BLM lands on the east side, it adds ecological integrity to the monument proposal.

“The Boulder-White Clouds really encompass one complete watershed in the East Fork of the Salmon River,” Becker says. “It has some great high-elevation, clean feeder sources for some of the most pristine steelhead and salmon runs that we’ve got left in the lower 48.”

proposed-map

The Boulder-White Clouds national monument proposal embraces the whole East Fork of the Salmon River watershed.

“The East Fork of the Salmon watershed for fisheries values is just unbelievable,” Gibson adds. “It’s the highest spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead found anywhere in the world. We need to protect that.”

With global warming, the high-elevation watershed in the White Clouds will keep the East Fork cold during the hot summer months.

After packing out of the mountains, Kahle Becker and Michael Gibson went hunting for chukar partridge, a popular game bird in Idaho. The chukars like the shrub-steppe habitat in the East Fork area. Much of that habitat lies on BLM lands that are part of the Boulder-White Clouds monument property.

Kahle Becker says it’s time to finish the job of protecting the Boulder-White Clouds.

Former president Teddy Roosevelt was quite the sportsmen and conservationist.

Former president Teddy Roosevelt was quite the sportsman and conservationist.

“It’s time to act now, it’s stalled out in Congress too many times. We’ve got the Antiquities Act, which was originally used by Teddy Roosevelt, one of the greatest sportsmen hunters we’ve had as a president, and no matter what side of the political isle you’re on, you can agree that Congress is broken, and we can’t wait any longer to get this area the protection it deserves.”

Former four-term Gov. and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus supports the Boulder-White Clouds National Monument

Former four-term Gov. and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus supports the Boulder-White Clouds National Monument

Adds Gibson, “Bethine Church and Cecil Andrus, they had a vision for this landscape, and it’s not done yet. It’s been  50 years since people have been working on conserving this area. As Idahoans, we need to get together and decide what’s important in the BWC’s and we need to protect that.

Bethine Church supported the Boulder-White Clouds national monument as one of her final wishes and her ashes were spread over the countryside by her family.

Bethine Church supported the Boulder-White Clouds national monument as one of her final wishes and her ashes were spread over the countryside by her family.

The following sportsmen’s groups endorse the campaign:  Sportsmen for BWC, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Ada County Fish & Game League, National Wildlife Federation, Idaho Chukar Foundation, Fly Fishers of Idaho and Boise Valley Fly Fishers.