Bill to create national park in Idaho introduced

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A key state senator is backing legislation urging Congress to turn Idaho’s Crater of the Moon National Monument into a national park.

Sen. Jeff Siddoway, chairman of the influential Senate State Affairs Committee, introduced his proposal to legislative leaders on Wednesday. It must now clear a legislative hearing.

The goal is to convert the 54,000-acre monument into a national park with no changes to how it’s currently managed — which include maintaining access to grazing and hunting. Currently, there are no national parks in Idaho.

County officials from Lemhi, Bonneville to Minidoka have all voiced support for the project with hopes that the change will spark more tourism in the rural region.

Former President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Craters of the Moon as a national monument in 1924. The area has contains volcanic flows, which gives off an appearance of a lunar landscape.