Idaho Department Of Lands

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho state foresters are using a provision of the 2014 federal Farm Bill to increase logging in some forests. The collaborative approach comes at a time when the debate over public land management continues – often at a fever pitch.

Screengrab / Idaho Department of Lands

The Idaho Department of Lands has released a map detailing recreation accessibility on the state's public endowment lands despite earlier political resistance from Idaho lawmakers.

According to the agency, Director Tom Schultz requested the mapping of the state-owned land after the Idaho Legislature spiked a resolution urging the department to highlight which areas are accessible for recreation.

Idaho officials have sold seven commercial properties for $17.3 million as part of a plan to get rid of politically contentious commercial real estate and use the money to buy timberland and agricultural land that the state uses to generate revenue to fund schools.

The Idaho Department of Lands sold the properties on Thursday in an auction that officials said brought in $4.5 million more than the appraised value of the properties.

The Idaho Land Board on Tuesday approved selling most of the commercial properties owned by the Idaho Department of Lands as part of a plan to get rid of holdings that had become a political liability for some of its members.

The board voted 5-0 to sell 11 properties in Boise, three in Idaho Falls and one in Heyburn worth about $25 million.

A financial consultant says selling the properties at a time when real estate prices are high benefits the state more than holding onto them.

Idaho Department of Lands

A wildfire burning 40 miles northeast of Boise is moving away from structures, but continues to pour smoke into the Treasure Valley.

The 2,500-acre Walker Fire started Saturday on private property near Grimes Creek and Mack Creek. The fire is suspected to be human caused.

Burning eight miles southwest of Idaho City in Boise County, the fire has destroyed four structures, including three cabins.

The Idaho Department of Lands says some areas are still under evacuation:

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials have approved a plan to protect habitat for greater sage grouse on state endowment lands as part an effort to avoid a federal listing of the bird under the Endangered Species Act.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and four other statewide elected officials on the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday voted 5-0 to adopt the 82-page Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan that details conservation measures developed by the Idaho Department of Lands.

Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington

The Idaho Department of Lands has proposed conservation practices to protect sage grouse from mining as well as oil and gas development. According to a department press release, the draft plan works with Gov. Butch Otter's outline for sage grouse protection.

State lands officials are requesting more money for wildfire suppression and a better public records keeping system for fiscal year 2016.

Idaho Department of Lands Director Tom Schultz asked legislative budget writers Monday for $100,000 for the first phase of a system that will make it easier to fill public record requests. Overall, the department is seeking roughly a $3.7 million, or 8 percent, budget boost.

Idaho Legislature

Two lawmakers who have so far sought unsuccessfully to halt the Department of Lands' expansion into commercial real estate are again criticizing the agency, this time over a 2012 property swap they contend wasn't to Idaho's advantage.

Last year, the Department of Lands swapped state endowment land on Payette Lake in McCall for privately-owned Idaho Falls commercial property.

Idaho's assessor concluded each property was worth about $6.1 million.