Beauty, and certainly economic development, is in the eye of the beholder.
And you couldn’t find a better example of that than Idahoans who are pushing to change Craters of the Moon National Monument into a national park.
And just one state to the south, you have GOP Utah leaders fighting like mad that the Bears Ears area of southeastern Utah was made a national monument.
The Utah leaders want President Donald Trump and/or Congress to rescind the national monument status, or at the very least greatly reduce the monument’s size.
But in Idaho citizens want just the opposite – upgrade the Craters of the Moon monument to national park status – hoping that tourism will save small surrounding towns.
A new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds that 55 percent of Idahoans want Craters to be moved up to national park status – with the clear hope that such a new designation will lead to more economic development in the sparsely-populated area and towns nearby.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds across Idaho that only 32 percent of the folks oppose a national park at Craters.
You can read about Craters here, which was designated a national monument in 1924 and expanded considerably in 2000, both by presidential decrees.
Fifteen minutes outside of the Craters boundary, the small town of Arco is struggling, as this Idaho Statesman article shows.
While local officials support the idea, the Idaho Legislature has failed to go along.
Only Congress can create a national park, although presidents via the 1906 Antiquities Act can create a national monument.
But before Congress can act on the national park upgrade, the Idaho Legislature has to ask for it.
And so far such a bill has not passed.
- Women want the park more than do men.
Two-thirds of women (66 percent) favor the upgrade, while only 59 percent of men do.
- Republicans, Democrats, independents, all want the national park designation.
Republicans favor it, 58-29 percent; Democrats, 78-16 percent; and independents, 60-29 percent.
The only group that doesn’t give majority support for the change are those who self-identified to Jones that they are “very conservative” politically.
Forty-six percent of that group wants the national park designation, while 42 percent oppose it.
However, the sentiment flips with those who said they are “somewhat conservative” politically; they favor it greatly, 63-28 percent – as do moderates and liberals.
Jones polled 628 adults from Feb. 16-28. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.91 percent.