Public Lands, in Our Hands

Idaho is a state like no other. We are fortunate to live beneath majestic mountain peaks that offer us some of the best hiking and skiing in America. We live beside crystal-clear lakes, rivers, and streams full of world-famous Idaho trout. We hunt and fish, we camp and hike, we ski and skate, we bike and walk.

The Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners reports that only 2.4 million acres remain and advocates need to remember that state management is not designed to keep our public lands in public hands.

Over 60% of Idaho is public land, which means that all of us, regardless of our wealth or ability to own land, have access to these treasured activities. It’s what makes us love Idaho! And it’s up to our elected officials to ensure that this land remains public–and that Idaho’s air and water is protected so our wildlife and citizens have a healthful living environment.

While I grew up next door in Great Falls, Montana, I have spent most of my adult life here in Idaho. I raised my children here, where we’ve been fortunate to spend our free time outdoors, enjoying our beautiful surroundings. Because of our connection to the outdoors, my endorsement from the Conservation Voters for Idaho (CVI) is incredibly meaningful to me because they’re working to create a sustainable and healthful state for all of us.

Both CVI and I also understand that Idaho has vast natural resources. Some politicians will tell you that we have to make a choice: protect our lands, or grow our economy. And I know this simply isn’t true. By embracing alternative energy projects (like solar, wind, and hydro-electric), Idaho can be at the forefront of bold new economic efforts, all while ensuring our public lands stay public and we prioritize our health and natural beauty.

Here in Idaho, state officials have let out-of-state billionaires buy up hundreds of thousands of acres. Those billionaires then lobbied state officials to create strict anti-trespassing laws that have ensured once-public lands are now inaccessible to us–and just this week they’ve blocked off previously accessible logging roads with gates. Why should Idaho’s public lands be privatized? Let’s keep public lands in public hands.

The Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners reports that reimbursable wildfire costs have averaged 7.1 million dollars over the past four years.

Some support Idaho taking ownership or management of public lands from federal oversight, but this is a short-sighted plan that will leave Idaho on the hook for millions of dollars every fire season. We can’t support that or risk the state selling off land once it has it under its control.

As your Lieutenant Governor, I’ll keep advocating for the prioritization of clean energy, ensuring public lands stay accessible to all, and for an economic plan that recognizes our state’s natural resources while keeping our water and air clean for future generations. We need to stand up for everyone’s right to public lands and a healthy environment. Let’s make #IdahoStronger and #VoteForTheVet Kristin Collum on Nov. 6th.