Coalition Proposes Conserving Lands Previously Targeted by Developer
Thursday, September 23, 2021
MCCALL, Idaho -- After the rejection of a developer's proposed land swap near Payette Lake, a coalition of groups wants the state to do the opposite.
The coalition United Payette submitted a proposal today to conserve more than 5,000 acres of endowment lands near the lake. The plan has support from Valley County, the nearby city of McCall and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, external relations director of the Idaho Conservation League, said the surrounding community wanted to come up with a better solution than development.
"Together we've been working to develop this plan over the last several months," Oppenheimer explained. "And [we] are hopeful that it will be well received and looking forward to working with the Department of Lands and the Land Board to see the project implemented and ultimately to see the lands around Payette Lake protected as public lands for future generations."
More than 1,200 people have signed a petition supporting the proposal. Trident asked the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners to rescind the Department of Lands' decision and hold a contested case hearing, but the board unanimously rejected their requests this week.
The Department of Lands said Trident undervalued the land around the lake. The agency is constitutionally required to maximize returns on endowment lands, which generate money for public schools and other beneficiaries.
Oppenheimer pointed out many community and regional stakeholders were concerned about the privatization of thousands of acres around Payette Lake.
"Resulting in development along the lakeshore and limiting public access on what are now state endowment lands that have been managed for decades for public use and accessibility to the lake, as well as for timber harvests and for other public purposes," Oppenheimer outlined.
Oppenheimer described what United Payette has in mind for the area.
"We are looking at some elements here that could include conservation and recreation leases on some of these lands, potential conservation easements," Oppenheimer noted.
Trident had paused its lawsuit against the state, pending the outcome of the hearing. It's back on. The developers argue the state overvalued the land, calling their proposals' rejection "capricious" and "arbitrary" or an "abuse of discretion" and alleging bias among a member of the Department of Lands' staff.
get more stories like this via email
This afternoon, members of the public will get to have a say on the management plan for the first new aquatic preserve created in Florida in 32 years…
May is Community Action Month, and local agencies helping low-income families hope Congress signs off on a plan to bolster and modernize their …
After two decades of drought and with no relief in sight, many Utahns are looking for ways to conserve water, and for many residents, part of the …
May is Wildfire Awareness Month, and state officials are encouraging Coloradans to get up to speed on prevention and emergency-exit strategies if …
The White House is fielding pitches from top Democratic lawmakers about their desire to dramatically expand student loan forgiveness. While a …
Health and Wellness
As the school year winds down, education leaders are shedding light on increased mental-health demands among students, including thoughts of suicide…
A new report found dishonest employers steal from some 213,000 people in Ohio each year by paying them less than the minimum wage; and it is just one …
Illinois has a new law banning the sale and possession of "ghost guns," essentially untraceable firearms that are sold in kit-form online or at gun sh…