As of Tuesday, May 12, 2015
RIGGINS – The Bureau of Land Management’s Cottonwood Field Office is asking for public comments by mid-June regarding a 36-acre parcel just north of Time Zone Bridge. The plot will be transferred to Idaho County for use as a public shooting range as soon as the BLM completes its work – possibly as early as this August, BLM Coeur d’Alene District Planning and Environmental Coordinator Scott Pavey said Monday, May 11.
By a federal law ratified last year, the BLM is required to convey the federal land to the county. By other federal laws, the BLM is required to document issues involved with the land to be transferred, including public safety and access, which are the main issues addressed in the scoping document the Cottonwood Field Office released last week.
The site is connected to U.S. Highway 95 by a BLM road, and the BLM is proposing to guarantee the county’s right of way along that road.
A trail that parallels the north bank of the Salmon River – commonly used by spectators during the annual jet boat races – crosses the land to be conveyed. The BLM is proposing to retain an easement so that the public can continue to use this path to access the riverside land above Time Zone Bridge.
Historically, the site held a landfill which was decommissioned and covered over in 1972; the law requires the county to “release and indemnify the U.S. from any claims or liabilities from past uses of the land.”
While the Idaho County Commission has favored establishing a formal shooting range on the site for many years, the idea took a big step forward last summer with support from Rep. Raul Labrador. Idaho’s Congressional delegation eventually had Labrador’s legislation attached to an unrelated defense bill, which was signed into law in December.
The full text of BLM’s proposed action is online at http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/Districts-Idaho/CDA.html. Comments on the proposal are due by June 15, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.