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Wed., June 17, 2015, 5:42 a.m.

Another campaign seeks transfer of federal land to states

A hiker scrambles up the granite talus above Harrison Lake in the Idaho Selkirk Mountains with Harrison Peak in the background. This backcountry destination in the upper Pack River drainage was recommended for wilderness designation by the Forest Service in the 1980s, but the Idaho Panhandle National Forests plan does not include this area in wilderness recommendations.
A hiker scrambles up the granite talus above Harrison Lake in the Idaho Selkirk Mountains with Harrison Peak in the background. This backcountry destination in the upper Pack River drainage was recommended for wilderness designation by the Forest Service in the 1980s, but the Idaho Panhandle National Forests plan does not include this area in wilderness recommendations.

PUBLIC LANDS -- I loathe this campaign just as much as I despise other greedy efforts to rob Americans of their public lands heritage.

Idaho official garners support for public lands group

GRANGEVILLE (AP) — An Idaho official is trying to garner support from counties in western states to legally challenge the government’s ownership of public lands.

The Lewiston Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1LehPkT) Idaho County Commission Chairman Jim Chmelik is traveling this week with the goal of getting 100 counties to sign on to support the Western Landmark Foundation.

The foundation was formed in March with Chmelik as the registered agent. He says when 50 counties have signed up he’ll start asking supporters to contribute between $3,500 and $5,000 each toward a legal fund.

Chmelik says the hope is that the legal challenges will pressure the federal government into transferring the ownership of public lands to local governments. The foundation’s focus is on Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and New Mexico.

So far, Chmelik says he’s gotten commitments from at least eight Arizona counties.




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Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.