May 07, 2009

Idaho Delegation Gets Reversal On Backcountry Mail Delivery Decision

Delegation receives notice from Postmaster General

Washington, DC - Mail delivery will continue for residents of Idaho's Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho's Congressional Delegation announced today. U.S. Postmaster General John Potter, in separate letters today to Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Representative Walt Minnick, reversed an earlier decision to cancel the contract for backcountry mail delivery. Potter indicated that acceptable service to backcountry customers could not be achieved in any other fashion other than continuing an air mail contract with Arnold Aviation to deliver the mail. Ray and Carol Arnold, of Cascade, have been delivering mail by air to the wilderness area for 34 years.

"We are greatly appreciative that Postmaster General Potter has taken the time to study the situation in Idaho's backcountry and recognizes the reality-not just on the ground, but in the air," said Senator Crapo. "Idaho's wilderness and the people who live there make our state a very unique and special place and they deserve universal mail service, just as all of us do."

"I am very pleased that Postmaster General Potter has agreed to continue the airmail contract for central Idaho. Even in this age of technology the U.S. Post Office remains a vital link. The service they provide to the families, businesses and many others in these backcountry areas is indispensable and I appreciate that the Post Office has seen the need for continuing this delivery contract," said Senator Risch.

"This is great news for Idahoans who treasure our backcountry, the way of life this mail service represents and the lifeline this service provides to remote sections of Central Idaho," said Representative Minnick. "When my friend Ray Arnold first informed me of the Postal Service decision to cut his route, I made it a priority to explain to USPS officials exactly why this service is important to the First Congressional District. I want to thank my fellow members of the delegation for doing the same, and I want to thank the Postmaster General for reviewing and reversing the decision."

"I am greatly relieved," said Carol Arnold. "This reaffirms my faith in our Congresspeople!"

Approximately 20 families in Idaho's backcountry could have lost mail, and accompanying food and medical supplies, had the contract for service stopped at the end of June. Copies of Postmaster General Potter's letters to the Idaho Delegation are enclosed.