More than half of Idaho’s land is considered public. These are lands that are managed by federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. We ride horses, hike, camp and play on these lands. It’s part of what makes Idaho a great place to live.
But Idaho’s public lands are more than just about recreation. Counties with public lands in their backyard receive payments in lieu of property taxes, which helps pay for essential services such as emergency responders and schools. Federal policies like the Endangered Species Act and massive wildfires create more complexity in managing these lands.
Right now, there’s a movement among Western states to have the federal government transfer these public lands to states including in Idaho. Earlier this month KBSX hosted a community conversation about the future of Idaho’s public lands.
EarthFix reporter Aaron Kunz produced this video.
Our panelists for the KBSX community conversation included:
Scott Bedke is the Speaker of the Idaho House and he represents House District 27. He’s a long time rancher who calls Oakley, Idaho home.
Dr. John Freemuth teaches in Boise State University’s Master of Public Administration Program and Political Science Department. He’s an expert on natural resources and public land policy and administration.
David Groeschl is Idaho’s state forester. He joined the Idaho Department of Lands in 2008. He’s also the Deputy Director of the Forestry and Fire Division at the department. He has 28 years of forestry experience.
Jonathan Oppenheimer is a Senior Conservation Associate with the Idaho Conservation League. His work focuses on forest, fire, roadless, wildlife and other public lands-related issues.
We recorded our conversation before an audience. Here you can watch our guests talk about the future of Idaho’s public lands and hear questions from the crowd.
Don’t miss our broadcast of this conversation Thursday night beginning at 7 pm on KBSX 91.5 and again Sunday after at 2 pm.
And share your thoughts with us. How do you see the future of Idaho’s public lands? Do you think public lands in Idaho should remain under federal management or be transferred to the state?
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio