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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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Boulder-White Clouds monument provides cold, clean water for Big Lost River fishery

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Media contact:  Steve Stuebner, 208-484-0295, sstuebner@cableone.net

KETCHUM, Idaho  — Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds went fishing with Scott Schnebly, owner of Lost River Outfitters, on the Big Lost River last week to see first-hand the importance of the proposed monument to sustaining this prized fishery and local businesses like Lost River Outfitters.

“Fishing was great on the Lost River today,” said Michael Gibson, field rep for Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds.  ”It’s early season in the high country, and the water is cold, but the fish were biting, and it really is a testament as to why we need to protect the Boulder-White Clouds.”

Here’s a video from the fishing trip.

“Trout depend on cold, clean water to survive,” Gibson continues. “The high-elevation snowpack of the Boulder-White Clouds provides that cold, clean water.”

Michael Gibson releases a nice trout on the Big Lost River.

Michael Gibson releases a nice trout on the Big Lost River.

Gibson and Schnebly fished for several hours on the Big Lost River, downstream from the confluence of the North Fork of the Big Lost, and they stayed busy catching some beautiful fish, mostly wild cutthroats, but some were a cross between cutthroat and rainbow.

“The grand slam consists of about nine species here. Pretty fun. It’s a great river,” says Schnebly, who’s been fishing the Big Lost since he moved to Ketchum from Seattle in the early 1970s.

Schnebly lands another beautiful fish.

Schnebly lands another beautiful fish.

After Gibson caught the first fish, a healthy cutthroat, Schnebly hooked a robust rainbow. He played it for several minutes after catching it on a stonefly nymph. “Now that’s a real Lost River fish,” he said as he pulled it in. “They’re so strong! Look at the condition and the girth on this guy.”

Schnebly supports protecting the Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument for multiple reasons, including protection of salmon and steelhead on the East Fork of the Salmon River and main Salmon, the high-quality trout habitat in the high-mountain lakes, increased tourism and economic development.

“It’s a really special area — very spectacular,” Schnebly says. “It’s an important area for anadromous fish — keep the Salmon River cold. It deserves protection, it has for many decades. It’s time to get the job done.”

The Big Lost fishery and watershed would benefit from monument designation, he says. “This is a very clean, high-elevation watershed.  The riparian habitat, the animals, the fish, the water quality — it’s all important, and it’s all tied together. We’ve failed to recognize that in so many ways.”

While some people in Stanley say Central Idaho is already overrun with tourists, Schnebly disagrees. “We can sustain a greater tourism base easily,” he says. The month of June is fairly slow in the Wood River Valley, for example, he says, leaving only two months, July and August, for tourism-based businesses to prosper.

Schnebly has signed onto a letter with other business leaders to demonstrate his support for the proposed Boulder-White Clouds National Monument, and urges other small business owners to do the same.

“I think it would be huge,” Schnebly says. “We would benefit in Ketchum, Hailey would benefit, Stanley would benefit, Challis could benefit if they were interested in promoting, and Idaho needs that kind of economic growth. That’s why I’m  in favor of it.”

A peek inside the Lost River Outfitters Suburban ... the fishing poles are rigged and ready to go ...

A peek inside the Lost River Outfitters Suburban … the fishing poles are rigged and ready to go …

The key would be to protect the natural resources in the Boulder-White Clouds area to ensure that they can sustain increased public use, he says, such as the possibility of implementing catch-and-release regulations on the Big Lost River. “We have to protect the resources that bring people here,” he says. “Keep things sustainable.”

For more information about the Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds campaign, contact Michael Gibson at sportsmen4bwc@gmail.com, 208-908-9185, or visit www.sportsmenforbwc.org. For more information about Lost River Outfitters, contact Scott Schnebly, scott@lostriveroutfitters.com, 208-720-3813, www.lostriveroutfitters.com.

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