Central Idaho's Sawtooth National Recreation Area would be better off remaining under U.S. Forest Service control than as a national park, at least for now, says a report prepared for Rep. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
The 13-member Sawtooth Land Use Advisory Board was appointed by Craig to study whether the 754,000-acre area was being managed properly. Craig had suggested possible changes, including the consideration of national park status.In a final report delivered to Craig last week, the board recommended that it or a similar group of Idahoans continue monitoring Forest Service management of the Sawtooth region.
It said continued control by the agency could benefit the area's economy "if its management incentives could be changed to better address recreation, visitor services and resource protection."
The board said designating the Sawtooth Range and the surrounding area a national park was "an unsettled and misunderstood question" that should be left open to further public debate.
"The issue does not appear to be one that will go away soon," the report said.