Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness

Stanley Council President Steve Botti walks the Fourth of July Trail, a gateway to the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness,

outside Stanley on Sept. 1, 2015.

STEPHEN REISS, TIMES-NEWS

HAILEY • A local guide, publisher and photographer is trying to raise money to print a guidebook on the Boulder-White Clouds.

Matt Leidecker, who owns Idaho River Publications, started to work on “Exploring the Boulder-White Clouds — A Comprehensive Guide” in summer 2014, as the debate raged over whether to make the mountainous expanse in Blaine and Custer counties a wilderness area or a national monument.

After years of debate, political impasse and a compromise on the wilderness boundaries that got some groups that had opposed the proposal on board, Congress voted last year to protect the Boulder-White Clouds, and President Barack Obama in August signed the bill creating the new White Clouds, Hemingway-Boulder and Jerry Peak wilderness areas.

Leidecker immersed himself in the area in 2014, trying to cover every mile of trail and more off-trail. All in all, he said, he covered 526 miles and more than 127,000 vertical feet on foot and mountain bike over 50 days of research.

Now, he is trying to raise money on Kickstarter through pre-orders of the book and other rewards such as T-shirts, note cards, maps and photographs.

“Printing on the waterproof paper adds a significant up-front printing cost, so I try to recoup some of that through pre-sales and by offering other unique rewards through the Kickstarter interface,” Leidecker said.

This is the fourth time he has used the crowdfunding platform, and it is Leidecker’s fifth guidebook; he has already written guides to Sun Valley and the Sawtooths, and river guidebooks to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and to the Rouge River in southwestern Oregon.

Leidecker said he tries to provide a “big-picture perspective” on the landscape with his guidebooks, covering every road and trail rather than focusing on a few hikes and offering details such as geological information and mini-guides to common wildflowers.

“The Boulder-White Clouds offer more variety than the better-known Sawtooth Mountains to the west,” Leidecker said in a news release. “You have a core of granite basins and high alpine lakes similar to the Sawtooths. But, there are also several rugged sedimentary canyons that offer opportunities for true wilderness solitude. The rolling volcanic sage-steppe landscape in the Jerry Peak Wilderness was a highlight during my research.”

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