Failed Collaborative Efforts Relating to Public Lands Use in Idaho’s Boulder-White Cloud Mountains Area

E. Scott Lee


U.S. Representative Mike Simpson touted his collaboration efforts regarding the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA). He stated he had worked hard to bring together different stakeholders representing local ranchers, local, state, and federal government officials, recreationists, wilderness proponents, and other interested groups and individuals to work toward resolving the public land use issues facing the Boulder-White Clouds area in Central Idaho. On its face it appeared to be a perfect example of collaborative decision making. Yet, CIEDRA failed every time it was introduced in Congress. Analysis of the process utilized by Simpson reveals that the CIEDRA collaboration was unsuccessful because there was, in fact, no collaboration. The necessary steps for collaborative decision making were not followed and ultimately, when resistance to the collaborative efforts was encountered early on in the process, a conscious switch was made to “shuttle diplomacy” which was ultimately unsuccessful.

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