Conservationists who protested the cutting of the 75 cottonwood trees north of Ketchum doubt they will appeal a court ruling allowing the demise of the trees.
But they point out their efforts have yielded some concrete results along the embattled Idaho 75 highway project.U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ruled the state Transportation Department's intent to widen a curve along the Wood River was too far along to halt chopping the cottonwoods. Three protesters went so far as to chain themselves to the trees for a day.
Lodge also said the trees represented a danger to motorists who might run off the road.
"If we were going to appeal, we would have done so by now," said Andrew Parnes, a Ketchum attorney representing the Idaho Conservation League and the Wood River Environmental Alliance against the project.
"At this point, all that would happen (if we blocked the tree cutting) is we would end up in jail," said Barge Levy, an Elkhorn resident who chained himself to a tree.
"We realize the fact that there are other major issues that need our attention," said Doug Christensen of the Wood River Environmental Alliance. But the protest has had an effect, he added.
The Transportation Department intends to replant vegetation alongside the curve and additional wetlands have been granted protection, said alliance director Karen McCall.
"The Transportation Department is on notice that the citizens aren't going to ignore their practices from now on," Christensen said.