Jon Marvel is the Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. We interviewed him in May at Redfish Lodge during the Idaho Conservation League’s annual conference.
In your opinion, what role does ranching have in the Boulder-White Clouds?
“I think that ranching is not compatible on public land and in the East Fork watershed over the long-term. It is not economic and it also affects negatively wildlife, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. It also affects water quality. These issues are critically important for the recovery of salmon, steelhead and bull trout…I think that there is absolutely a way to resolve this that is equable. Ranching like many ways of life cannot continue forever, and in this case, it is not economic right now, just ask the ranchers. But if we offer them a buyout that enables them to have some money to look into other ways to make a living, even on their land, and also a conservation easement so that they don’t feel obliged to subdivide their land, we can have a win-win situation for wildlife, wilderness, recreation and these ranchers.”
What do you see for the future for the Boulder-White Clouds?
“I think that people will continue to live in the East Fork of
the Salmon River indefinitely, and the Sawtooth in the valley, and in
the Big Lost River around the Boulder-White Clouds. But the way people
work and live in these areas will change, and I believe that it will change
for the better. It will be more compatible with those values that we hold:
wildlife protection, water quality, all of these things are more important
then traditional lifestyles that have not been compatible.”