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Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

July 17, 2017 GMT

In September of 2014 the Lost Rivers Valley community, which included the cities of Arco and Mackay, participated in a community review which is a collaboration of federal, state, tribal and local governments along with the private sector, and coordinated by the Idaho Rural Partnership. The main focus of this review was to guide and direct small rural communities to see their strengths and potential for economic development and sustainability. In their conclusions and recommendations they mentioned a strong economic potential right in our own backyard, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, to build mutually beneficial marketing agreements with the National Parks Service and the opportunities which are passing literally by our front door every day with the 200,000+ visitors to the Park.

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Three years ago we combined the once separate and dying, Butte County Chamber and the Mackay Chamber together, from the direction of the review to help market the entire Lost Rivers Valley as a destination. Together we have grown the Chamber and have many businesses who support us. Craters of the Moon is a vital part of our economy. Secretary Zinke’s recent decision to remove Craters from the list of potential reductions was due in part to the response he received from Governor Otter, Senator Crapo, and the vast majority of Idaho citizens who weighed in. Not only did Idaho sound its voice, but so did a whole gamut of international and national visitors.

We as a Chamber board and members strongly oppose reducing the Monument borders and in fact support an update or increase in the original Monument to be designated as a National Park. The website for the Craters Foundation lists many reasons to visit but also many valuable assets of this rare and unique area such as ‘Understanding Climate Change through our National Parks’, ‘Engaging Teachers in the Discovery Experience’, ‘Cultivating Civically Engaged Stewards of our National Parks’. These are just a few extremely important parts our Craters of the Moon plays in the bigger scope of education and preservation of our unique and vast landscape not seen anywhere else on the planet.

Thank you to the elected officials who heard the voices of their constituents and did the right thing. Thank you to the many Idaho citizens and organizations who join with me in Protecting Craters of the Moon. To those who haven’t visited this majestic place yet, there is no time like the present.

Dr. Helen Merrill D.C.,

President - Lost Rivers Chamber of Commerce