Group opposes monument overlap with Sawtooth area - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Group opposes monument overlap with Sawtooth area

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By KEITH RIDLER
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A conservation group says it's opposed to any overlap of a proposed national monument in central Idaho with the rugged Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

The Sawtooth Society in a statement on Monday says national monument status wouldn't increase current protections for the recreation area and could hinder an eventual wilderness designation.

A proposed plan to create three wilderness areas totaling 332,775 acres while also releasing 130,000 acres from wilderness study area to a multiple-use designation has failed to get through Congress.

So some groups are asking President Obama to use his executive power under the Antiquities Act to create a 592,000-acre national monument that includes the rugged Boulder and White Cloud mountains.

Sawtooth Society Executive Director Gary O'Malley says it's too early to abandon the wilderness goal.

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