We are so lucky to live in Idaho. We know that one of the many things that makes Idaho a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family, and retire is our broad expanses of public land. We spend our days outside –skiing, hunting, biking, fishing, hiking, and more.
But our great resources are threatened when public lands are sold to private owners, which then reduces or cuts off our access to the outdoors.
Two Texas billionaires bought up 172,000 acres of private land that had been publicly accessible to hunters and recreational users and now blocks access to public land–and then lobbied state legislators to enact a new trespass law that makes trespassers liable for a variety of fees and legal costs, including those of the plaintiff. This type of action results in less land for you, the sportspeople and recreationists who work to preserve those spaces.
We’ve also heard talk from state leadership and candidates about transferring federal lands to the state, which would come at massive costs to taxpayers. Management, particularly of wildfires, could decimate the state’s budgets and create the possibility that those public lands would ultimately need to be sold to alleviate costs.
Further, our lands sustain more than just our own enjoyment: our economy and public health are dependent on the environment. Yet we continue to see salmon runs drop year after year, while electricity from our own dams is being sold at a loss to other states. Additionally, irresponsible mining operations have created gashes in our lands that make our landscapes eyesores and contaminate our water sources for generations.
So what can we do?
Let’s oppose the sale of public lands. We must demand conservation plans to protect our natural resources – our salmon, our water, our air. Let’s vote for politicians who understand that our state’s natural grandeur and beauty are worth preserving for our children and grandchildren. Let’s champion ways our lands can be used to help our state economy and create jobs while preserving and protecting Idaho’s natural resources and beauty.
I came to Idaho as an adult, and I raised my family here. We, like most Idahoans, have spent so much of our lives in the forests, mountains, and waterways that make this place home. I know that we have to honor the lands of this state because they form the foundation for what makes us unique. From Coeur d’Alene to Bear Lake, from Homedale to Driggs, there’s no place like Idaho.