Fremont County Says 'No' To Advisory Vote

Vote asked about potential national monument designation in Island Park

News Heather Randall, Rexburg, Idaho, Standard Journal
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Fremont County, Idaho — Closing poll numbers display Fremont County voter's nearly unanimous opposition to a national monument designation according to the results of the advisory vote measure on Tuesday's ballot.

Members of the group, The Caldera Heritage Coalition, have an extra bounce in their step after seeing the results they have worked judiciously toward making a reality for the past several months.

Out of the 4,104 individuals in the county who voted on the measure, 3,799 voted against a monument designation, and a mere 305 voted in favor.

The once controversial ballot measure was first brought to the Fremont County Commissioner's attention during the early summer months of this year in an attempt to create a record of the voice of residents in Fremont County.

The commissioner's voted unanimously at the July 14 meeting to approve adding the advisory vote measure to the Nov. 4 ballot. Exact wording of the measure was not approved until the Aug. 18 meeting.

“The people of Fremont County have overwhelmingly shown their opposition to national monuments. Their voice has been heard,” Chairman of the Caldera Heritage Coalition Ken Watts said.

Currently, there is no official monument designation proposal in existence according to officials in Fremont County, though Fremont County Commissioner Chairman LeRoy Miller said the advisory vote results can be viewed as “the efforts of the patrons of Fremont County protecting their interests.”

“We had a great turnout and we got very positive results,” he said.

Members of the Caldera Heritage Coalition and the county plan to send packets of information with the results of the election and other information about their concerns and opposition about a monument designation in Fremont County to Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch. Congressional representatives, Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson will also be receiving the packets.

President Barack Obama may still designate any location in the United States as a national monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906 without any public process or environmental review.

According to members of the United States House of Representatives voted in March to approve legislation that would “create new hurdles to presidential designations of national monuments” because supporters of the bill believe that both parties' presidents are “abusing their power to select these sites.”

Miller said the county has received opposition support in written documents from Teton, Madison and Clark counties, as well as from the City of Island Park, Ashton, St. Anthony and the Island Park's Chamber of Commerce.

Leanne Yancey of the Caldera Heritage coalition said she is grateful to the voters of Fremont County for their “powerful message.”

“Credit goes to Ken Watts for finding the advisory initiative opportunity inside all of the massive amount of research we were compiling to counter this effort,” Yancey said in a statement after the election.

Miller said all of the Fremont County Commissioners give their deepest thanks to members of the advisory vote committee for getting their message out and educating the public.

“The commissioners applaud the successful efforts of members of the committee for their hard work,” Miller said.

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