Idaho Gov. Butch Otter asked about addressing “checkerboard” land ownership among federal, state and private lands, and Washington Congressman Doc Hastings noted that changing that takes “literally an act of Congress” any time federal land is transferred, but said he's open to ways to streamline that process. Harris Sherman, undersecretary of agriculture for natural resources and the environment, said he favors a “good neighbor policy” to make an “all-lands” approach to forest management work.
Idaho forestry official David Groeschl said, “If we look back 20 years, the missions of state trust lands, private lands and federal lands were … much more aligned.” Now, they're not, he said, and “it's created definitely some tensions at some times as well as increased costs. … There is some benefit at looking at trying to consolidate lands. … Reducing that interspersed, intermingled nature of it, you can realize reduced costs and increased benefits from doing that. So that is one tool that would be really helpful.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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