Boulder-White Cloud National Monument Would Give Central Idaho a 'Second-Paycheck'


According to a recently released study from the Idaho Outdoor Business Council, creating a national monument out of the Boulder and White Cloud mountains would create up to 155 new jobs and increase economic output by $12.3 million. The Boulder-White Clouds are two mountain ranges in the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. 

Many environmental groups including the Idaho Conservation League, the Wilderness Society and the Outdoor Alliance, along with the Idaho Outdoor Business Council are pushing the government to have the mountain ranges permanently protected.

“The Boulder-White Clouds are a national treasure, and they deserve to be protected as a national monument,” Bob Rosso, owner a sporting goods store in Ketchum, said in a press release from the IOBC. “It should come as no surprise that ‘the brand’ of a national monument would boost the status of the area, increase visitation and create more economic growth in Central Idaho. That’s a positive thing for our local economy.”

If the area became a national monument, the 21-page study stated, the designation would boost public visitation and draw new people to live in Blaine, Butte, Custer and Camas counties. The study author, Don Reading, called that positive economic impact a “second-paycheck” for Central Idaho. He said the jobs created would range from service-industry jobs to professional jobs like accountants, lawyers and doctors.

“These would not all be low-wage service jobs,” Reading said in the press release. “Many are going to be those amenity-migrants who work in high-skill professions weather that is business, law, technology or similar.”

The study stated that the Sawtooth National Forest’s average per person per trip expenditures amount to almost $250, including lodging, restaurants, gasoline, park fees and souvenirs. With the proposed Boulder-White Cloud monument, the study said visitor numbers could increase by a third, creating those 155 jobs and adding $12.3 million into economic output.

While the economic argument for a Boulder-White Cloud monument might make economic sense to some, others see the designation—with its attendant upswing in visitors—as a threat to the fragile ecosystem

The proposed monument size is approximately 571,000 acres.