Idaho Land Board

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says the state has to be vigilant monitoring the federal government's creation of a new sage grouse conservation plan because of federal employees who worked on the previous plan that caused Otter to file a lawsuit.

Otter told state workers at an Idaho Land Board meeting Tuesday that they can't allow federal workers he called "leftovers" from President Barack Obama's administration to create a plan similar to the 2015 version Otter says is too restrictive.

InciWeb / AP

Snow fell this week in Brundage, Stanley and at Bogus Basin. The wet weather in Idaho is good news for wildfires that continue to burn. Now we look at the costs of this year’s fire season.


The Idaho Land Board voted Tuesday to put 9 state-owned commercial properties worth about $20 million up for auction, likely in early December.

The unanimous vote by the five-member board is part of the board's new strategic reinvestment plan that calls for using money from the sale of commercial real estate and residential cottage sites to buy timberland and agricultural land.

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.

Kari Greer / Boise National Forest

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says closing public access to some state forest lands amid wildfire concerns by private timberland owners is an option that has to be considered due to extreme fire danger this year.

Consultant Jim Riley on Tuesday told Otter and other members of the Idaho Land Board that a million acres of private land has been closed this year to the public due to potential wildfire.

Riley says the private owners are concerned about human-caused fires starting on state land and spreading to neighboring timber stands.

Forest History Society / Flickr

State officials have given their OK to modify a northern Idaho timber sale to include helicopter logging that will cost the state up to $1.5 million in lost revenue.

The Idaho Land Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday following a federal court ruling earlier this month that put the Selway Fire Salvage timber sale on hold by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says it's disappointing but the Land Board had little choice.

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.

forest, land, trees
Dave Thomas / Flickr Creative Commons

A San Francisco-based investment advising firm told Idaho’s Land Board that its commercial property investments are not a great idea.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

State officials approved a lease for Tamarack Resort's ski area in about as long as it takes an expert skier to go from the top of the mountain to the bottom.

The five members of the Idaho Land Board voted unanimously at a special session Thursday to transfer the 2,100-acre lease to a company called New TRAC.

New TRAC acquired the lease following a sheriff's bankruptcy sale in March.

The lease costs about $278,000 annually, far more than the $80,000 the land would generate if it reverted to timber harvest.

tamarack, donnelly, resort
A.Davey / Flickr Creative Commons

Tamarack Resort could take a significant step toward a clearer financial picture Thursday when Idaho officials decide whether to transfer a ski area lease to a new company that emerged after a sheriff's bankruptcy sale last spring.

But first a majority of the five-member Idaho Land Board will have to be persuaded at the special meeting that Tamarack can afford about $278,000 annually to use the 2,100 acres of state-owned land the ski area is built on.

The lease represents one of the state's more lucrative deals.

Idaho's endowment fund hit a record high of $1.73 billion after earning high returns on its investments over the past year.

Investment manager Larry Johnson told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that the fund during the fiscal year that ended June 30 earned its second-highest amount in its history.

This is also the second year in a row the fund hit an all-time high.

That means there will be an increase in how much the fund can distribute to public schools and other endowment beneficiaries.

Idaho land managers aim to exchange 58 lakefront cottage sites for cash and three commercial buildings in Idaho Falls, saying it will boost earnings for public schools and other institutions.

The deal is slated for discussion at next week's Land Board meeting.

The cottage sites, with 48 on Priest Lake and 10 on Payette Lake, are valued at nearly $23 million.

The Idaho Department of Land says swapping them for equally-valued property in Idaho Falls would increase cash returns by $1.2 million.

Idaho Land Board Approves Mining Lease

Sep 18, 2012

The Idaho Land Board signed off today on a lease that would allow a gold miner along the Salmon River to exclusively mine for gold.

Mike Conklin of Grangeville wants to do what’s called suction dredge mining along a half mile stretch of the Salmon River near Riggins. It’s a process where a miner sucks up the the river bottom in search of particle sized gold.

Miners like Conklin need two things from a state level - a mining permit by the Department of Water Resources and a five-year Land Lease from the Department of Lands. He has both.