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The Sawtooth NRA at 50: Our Legacy and Future Challenges

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*If you are unable to attend some or all of the conference, it will be recorded. By registering you will have exclusive on-demand viewing access at your convenience.

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area was created 50 years ago to protect the iconic mountain landscapes of central Idaho. Rather than create a national park, Congress believed that a national recreation area would preserve the natural, scenic, historic, pastoral, and fish and wildlife values while also providing a recreational playground for Idahoans and the nation.

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Photo provided by James Bourret Fine Art Photography.

On Tuesday, May 24, the Andrus Center will host a virtual event to explore how well this vision has been achieved, and to assess the protection challenges likely in store for this sanctuary of wilderness peaks, flowery meadows, and mountain lakes over the next 50 years. View the schedule. *SCHEDULE UPDATED*

In the morning we will hear the retrospective views of speakers who have experienced much of the Sawtooth NRA history and from those who had a hand in its management. In the afternoon Native Americans, scientists, local business owners, conservationists, land managers, and government officials will give us their perspectives on the Sawtooth NRA’s possible fate over the next 50 years as it deals with existing and future challenges. The conference is scheduled as a 8:45 am to 4 pm online event and will be followed by a white paper.

The morning speaker will be Sara Dant, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor and Chair of the History Department, Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, and author of Peak Park Politics, an article about the history of efforts to protect the Sawtooth Mountains. The mid-morning speaker will be Daniel L. Stone, Policy Analyst for Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Fish and Wildlife Department will host the lunch keynote address on Now and the Future. And the afternoon speaker will be Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon who will discuss his legislative initiative to better support National Recreation Areas.

The morning discussion panel, The Sawtooth NRA at 50: How Have Things Measured Up, will be moderated by Andy Brunelle, retired Forest Service Capitol City Coordinator in Boise and natural resources assistant for Gov. Cecil Andrus. The first afternoon discussion panel will be moderated by Emily Wakild, Professor of History and Director of Environmental Studies at Boise State University.  Climate Change Challenges for the Sawtooth NRA. The second afternoon discussion panel: The Sawtooth NRA in the Coming Age of Mass Recreation and Cultural Change will be moderated by Steve Botti, Mayor of Stanley, Idaho. The closing is Where Do We Go From Here?

The Discussion Panelists include:

  • Ken Paur, retired Forest Service attorney
  • Paul Ries, former Sawtooth NRA district ranger
  • Kathryn Grohusky,  Executive Director of the Sawtooth Society
  • Patricia Young, board member the Sawtooth Society
  • Cliff Hansen, Sawtooth Valley rancher
  • Craig Gehrke, former Idaho State Director of The Wilderness Society
  • Kirk Flannigan, Area Ranger, Sawtooth NRA
  • Jeff Clegg, General Manager, Redfish Lake Lodge
  • Justin Hayes, Executive Director, Idaho Conservation League
  • Angenie McCleary, Blaine County Commissioner
  • Wayne Butts, Custer County Commissioner
  • Deb Bitton, Mystic Saddle Ranch & Redfish Lake Corrals
  • Katherine Himes, Director for the James A. & Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research

This conference will be hosted online through the conference platform, HOPIN. The Andrus Center has successfully hosted four events using the HOPIN platform and we hope attendees enjoy the unique online experience that goes well beyond your typical ZOOM webinar. Tips, tricks and frequently asked questions regarding the platform will be provided closer to the date.

Registration for this virtual event is $20 and discounted student tickets are available thanks to the generosity of sponsors and individual donors.

*Discounted Student tickets are available on a first come – first serve basis. To apply for a student scholarship, please complete this online request form and an Andrus Center representative will contact you. If accepted, your registration cost will be $10.

Interested in sponsoring this year’s conference? Please email andrus@boisestate.edu.