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What We Do

Photo Credit: Matt Leidecker

The Sawtooth Society has championed a number of advocacy projects that focus on protecting the SNRA’s open spaces, enhancing its recreational facilities and services, and facilitating stewardship of this incredible natural asset. Here are some examples:

Sawtooth Society | Kokanee salmon spawning in river

Sawtooth Society Policy Position Statement on Salmon Recovery

Salmon and steelhead have been historic and essential parts of the natural, cultural, and recreational environment of Central Idaho and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) for thousands of years. However, in recent decades the numbers of these fish returning to spawn have declined dramatically and these fish are threatened with extinction. The Sawtooth Society strongly supports collaborative efforts by members of Congress, federal, state and local government and agency officials, Tribes, and other interested stakeholders that desire promptly to identify and implement remedial actions that will restore returns of wild salmon and steelhead to the SNRA to sustainable and harvestable levels. We would measure success using the smolt-to-adult return ratio with a target ratio in the 2-to-6% range. Efforts should be based on the best available science, consider all available actions to restore returns, and encompass, as much as possible, steps to respond to legitimate concerns of stakeholders adversely impacted by such actions.
Adopted by the Sawtooth Society Board of Directors July 24, 2020

Private Lands Program

The “What Works” brochure for private landowners is the product of a multiyear project between the Forest Service and the Sawtooth Society to document design characteristics and other factors that play a role in ensuring that private structures don’t dominate the view or detract in any way from the SNRA’s immense natural beauty. Included in the booklet are the findings, based on 45 years of experience, as to what works best to ensure inconspicuous development.

Recreational Grants

Fees collected from the sale of Idaho’s special Sawtooth National Recreation Area motor vehicle license plate are available to fund recreation-related projects in the 756,000-acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA). The program is administered by the Sawtooth Society under a contract with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. Since its’ creation in 2000, the program has funded over 230 recreation projects totaling nearly $1 million.

Click Here to Learn More

Cell Tower Opposition

The Sawtooth Society has voiced opposition to AT&T and FirstNet’s application to build a new 195’ cell tower within the SNRA, requesting that the State of Idaho withhold approval of the project until it meets a variety of criteria regarding its height, construction, design, and placement. The Sawtooth Society has also called for the publication of a visual impact simulation and radio frequency propagation map of the proposed tower; a proposal of alternate solutions (other than tower height) to ensure broad cellular coverage; and public input on the project

Dark Sky Reserve

The SNRA is part of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, which received designation from the International Dark Sky Association in December 2017 as the nation’s first gold-tier dark-sky preserve. This designation recognizes the SNRA’s skies as being among the darkest in the country.
Researchers say 80 percent of North Americans live in areas where light pollution inhibits views of the starry night sky and that the milky way is not visible to over one-third of the world’s population. Central Idaho contains one of the few places in the contiguous United States large enough and dark enough to attain reserve status. Only 16 such reserves exist in the world.
We encourage residents of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve to incorporate dark sky appropriate lighting around your home and help reduce light pollution in our valley. Review the infographic on the right, to help you determine if your property is dark sky friendly.
Come check out the stars in our backyard and join us in preserving them for generations to come.
For more information click HERE

Is your property dark sky friendly?

Photo Credit: James Bourret

Sawtooth Vision 2o2o

This comprehensive strategic planning document for the SNRA was created collaboratively by the Sawtooth Society and the U.S. Forest Service, two organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the SNRA. With public input and guidance from other stakeholders, Sawtooth Vision 2020 came to fruition in 2006 and was updated in 2016. It lays out a shared long-term vision and set of strategies for the businesses, organizations, and individuals who live, work, and/or recreate in the SNRA. Since its writing, the document has been credited with keeping attention and resources focused on critical issues in the SNRA and helping to achieve positive outcomes.

Stanley to Redfish Trail

The 15-year effort to establish a multi-use trail between Stanley and Redfish Lake began in 2005 with the U.S. Forest Service’s purchase of a scenic/conservation easement through private property near Stanley. This easement made possible a direct walking, horseback riding, and ADA accessible trail surface from Redfish Lake directly to Pioneer Park and other town trails planned for the city of Stanley. The Forest Service developed trail plans for over a decade. With a final agreement in place and funding secured, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in the summer of 2019 and work is currently underway to build the trail.