Did you know that Idaho has sold off 41% of its state-owned land since statehood; more than 100,000 acres have been sold to private interests since 2000. Legislation has been introduced at both the state and federal level to pave the way for federal land transfers to local governments for possible sale, mining or development.
At the federal level Utah Rep. Chaffetz introduced HR 621 on January 24 that identifies 3.3 million acres across 10 states (including Idaho) to be ‘disposed of’ and sold off, just a few days after the House passed a rules package that makes such land seizure plans easier to execute.
In Idaho, Senator Steve Vick (R- Dalton Gardens) introduced SB 1065 which establishes an official state policy that there will be no “net loss of private property within the state.” The bill requires every state agency to sell “into private ownership any parcels that are not necessary to their public purpose.”
Historically, when federal lands have been transferred to states, they have become less accessible. Public lands are sold at the state level because state’s like Idaho can’t afford to take on the monumental task of managing multi-million dollar wildfires, not to mention the costs associated with managing thousands of miles of roads and trails.
If you don’t want to see your cherished public lands sold off to the highest bidder. Contact your legislators NOW! Or make your voice heard at the state-wide public lands rally on Saturday, March 4 at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise. The two hour demonstration will start on the steps of the Capitol Building at 11:00am MST, before moving inside to the rotunda. This family-friendly event will feature guest speakers, and provide an opportunity for YOU to send a message to our local and federal officials that public lands belong in public hands!