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Commissioners want voter opinion on possible national monument

What do you think of possible Island Park national monument?

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho - The Fremont County commissioners want to see how voters feel about Island Park becoming a national monument. On Monday, the commissioners unanimously decided to put an advisory question on the Nov. 4, ballot.

During the public meeting, the commissioners had to decide between two drafts to put on the ballot. They ended up choosing the second draft because it was shorter and easier for voters to understand. The draft, which will soon become a resolution, explains what national monuments are and lists the pros and cons. At the bottom there is a place where voters can indicate if they are in favor of or oppose a national monument in Fremont County.

Kenneth Watts lives in Island Park and helped write both drafts.

"One of the best ways to oppose the national monument was to develop an advisory vote and let the citizens vote so that your county could know the feelings of the citizens," Watts said.    

But the results won't be binding; the idea is to gauge the public's interest. Meanwhile, Fremont County Commissioner Bill Baxter said the commissioners won't stop there. He said next week they will put a resolution together with other counties who also oppose national monument status within Fremont County.

"We have already sent our resolution to Sen. James Risch, but I think as we get all the counties involved we would like to send it to the president of the United States and let him know how we feel," Baxter said.      

If the majority of voters are in favor of creating a national monument, Baxter said they would have to see through to what the people want.

At the tail end of George W. Bush's second term, the administration explored the idea of designating Island Park as a national monument. But nothing has been made official since then.

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