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Despite Concerns, Nearly All Idaho's Trust Lands Open to Public

Idaho's trust lands generated nearly $100 million last year, with much of the money going to support public schools. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture/Flickr)
Idaho's trust lands generated nearly $100 million last year, with much of the money going to support public schools. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture/Flickr)
July 10, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – A new map from the Idaho Department of Lands shows nearly all of the state's trust lands are open for recreation.

In response to a measure that ultimately failed during the 2017 legislative session, House Concurrent Resolution 20, the department unveiled a map revealing 2.3 million of the 2.4 million acres of trust lands are accessible by foot or water, and in some cases by motorized vehicle.

That amounts to nearly 96 percent of the acreage, says Tom Schultz, director of the Idaho Department of Lands.

"During the session and before the session, there was a concern that people maybe didn't have access to state trust lands and that lands were being closed,” Schultz relates. “So, we wanted to assure the public that state trust lands or endowment lands in Idaho are mostly, in fact, open."

About 100,000 acres are not accessible, either because they're surrounded by private landowners' property or are unsafe for public use, such as lands reserved for military training. The new map is online at idl.idaho.gov.

The Lands Department is also working on a map with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to guide people planning hunting and fishing trips on trust lands.

Schultz says as a sportsman himself, he finds these maps to be a good resource and recommends them to others.

"We want to make sure the public has good information, so that they know where they are and then, they know they can get access,” he states. “And if they're having trouble getting access, too, they can let us know and we can see what, if anything, we can do to help facilitate then."

Schultz says the primary mission of managing state lands is to raise funds for public schools, charitable institutions, and other beneficiaries. He says in 2016, trust lands garnered nearly $100 million.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID