Not so fast, Mr. Editor. The trouble with the Lochsa Land Exchange started when it morphed into the Harpster-Blacktail-Fish Creek Land Exchange. That’s when the forest supervisor, with the county commissioners’ rubber stamp of approval and coaching from the local mill hatched a remarkably comprehensive plan to roll back the national forest boundary and throw their neighbors under the bus.
It’s taken years to get the public voice to register with our public servants on this issue and now all of a sudden, according the Free Press editorial board, “the issue has gone beyond all reason.”
Early on, the Idaho County Free Press dropped the ball on the biggest land deal in Idaho County history along with the defunct Clearwater Basin Collaborative that meticulously side-stepped the issue even though both sides of the proposed exchange involved tens of thousands of acres of public land entirely within the Clearwater River Basin in Idaho County.
Congressional interference with the Environment Impact Statement has called into question the legitimacy of the entire exercise. Bets are good that if the deal doesn’t get done the process will change yet again.
Thankfully, however, we have arrived at a stage in the process where we can finally see the lipstick as it gets applied to the pig.