It would not surprise me if every Idahoan has, somewhere in a drawer, a favorite snapshot of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It's hard to imagine a more photographed region of the state.
As a teenager, my buddies and I would spend a week at a time hiking the trails. Toxaway, Imogene, Hell Roaring, Spangle – the names are indelibly inscribed in my head. I still get a thrill seeing the massive granite batholith that is the Sawtooth Mountains, as I drive up Highway 21 toward Stanley.
When some friends – Byron Johnson and Patricia Young – suggested we profile the 40th anniversary of the creation of the SNRA, we knew immediately it would make a great addition to our Outdoor Idaho collection.
The program will cover the intense and fascinating battles leading up to the creation of the SNRA, but it seemed fitting to honor this national recreation area by also focusing on the many photographers who spend countless hours combing its peaks and valleys. Their work is truly inspiring.
In fact, it was a handful of photographers – Ernie Day and Jan Boles in particular – whose work convinced Idahoans to put a stop to the proposed open pit mine at the base of Castle Peak in the White Clouds, an action that ultimately led to the creation of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
If you've been to our Outdoor Idaho Facebook page, you already know about our monthly 'Iconic Idaho' photo contests, where photographers from across the State share their work with the rest of us. It seemed only fitting to feature some of them in our hour-long special.
We met up with them at Redfish Lake Lodge earlier this summer. Although I'd been admiring their work for more than a year on Facebook, this was where I met most of them for the first time. What a blast! Their willingness to trust us with their wonderful photographs means Idahoans are in for a real treat on December 2nd.
Our show covers a lot of territory. We profile author and hiker Margaret Fuller; her books opened up the SNRA for many of us. We explore what's killing the trees in the forest; and we were there this summer for the wildfires. We profile some Stanley entrepreneurs who work hard to make the SNRA a fun place to visit. And we examine the value of the Sawtooth Society to the future of the region.
Even as we continue to work on the show, "A Sawtooth Celebration" is quickly becoming one of our favorite programs.
But then, what's not to like about the most photographed region of the state.