Many of us in Idaho find it interesting that the influential Los Angeles Times recently ("On Behalf of an Idaho Park," editorial, March 17) endorsed the idea of a national park in the rugged, beautiful Sawtooth Mountains in our state. That idea, while perhaps supported by one politician in Idaho and by you folks in Southern California, is hardly taken seriously by those of us who know and love the Sawtooths and neighboring White Cloud Mountains.
You are correct in saying that Congressman Larry Craig, who sees himself as a U.S. Senate candidate someday and whose district incidentally does not include the Sawtooth area, has formed a committee to study the national park question once again. So far, however, the congressman has spent most of his time explaining why many members of his own committee flatly reject the national park concept. Rather than reaching the conclusion you reached, that a Sawtooth park is such a good idea it won't go away, I would suggest that the proper conclusion is that it's a marginal idea that has never received much support.
Your editorial is also correct in suggesting that the Sawtooths are among America's great natural wonders, but the area is already protected by national recreation area status and nearby areas are under consideration for wilderness protection. Many of us who live near, and play in, the Sawtooths are convinced the area is so special, and so spectacular that it deserves to be left alone. The high peaks, alpine lakes and lush open meadows don't need national park designation to be seen and enjoyed. Additionally, national park status would rule out many current uses of the area, including big game hunting, while doing nothing more to provide protection.
National park status would inevitably bring lodging, concessions and all the accommodations of modern life. The Sawtooths provide a natural, unspoiled experience. That is the way it should be.
JOHN T. PEAVEY
Democratic Caucus Chairman