We would like to commend senators Risch, Crapo and Congressman Labrador for their Sept. 30 decision to intervene in the ongoing Upper Lochsa land exchange between the Forest Service and Western Pacific Timber. We agree that an exchange that is fair to all parties will require legislation. If federal lands are to be divested into private ownership, the rights of the public to access these lands must be protected.
The Idaho Delegation members, after talking with all of the interested citizens, have laid out seven principles which provide an excellent blueprint for legislation. They state that the exchange legislation must be transparent, provide a net economic benefit to Idaho County, protect the environment, recognize the tribal rights, protect historic recreation and other uses, protect private property rights and that none of the protections should impose any additional fiscal burdens on the federal government. There will undoubtedly be devils in the details – there always are, but it appears that proposing and passing well designed legislation gives all interested parties the greatest opportunity to be heard and to have their goals met.
Let us all work together as Idahoans to find a solution to this issue which will make us proud.
Idaho Recreation Council