Posts tagged: Bonner County Commission
PUBLIC LANDS — Some North Idahol residents are upset by a proposal to designate an area half the size of Rhode Island in a remote part of the Panhandle and Washington as critical habitat for endangered woodland caribou.
They blasted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at a meeting on Tuesday, saying the federal plans amounted to a land grab that would devastate the local economy, according to an Associated Press story by Nicholas K. Geranios.
But federal officials said the designation was required to help save the last remaining caribou herd in the Lower 48 states. They said the average person should not be impacted by a critical habitat designation.
That didn’t satisfy many of the estimated 200 people who showed up at the so-called “coordination” meeting requested by the Bonner County commissioners, who are seeking to provide input to federal regulators.
“Our goal in this coordination is to stop this closure,” county Commissioner Cornel Rasor admitted.
Read on for details from the AP report.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Bonner County commissioners to meet with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials later this month with the goal of altering the federal agency’s plan to protect habitat for woodland caribou in the Selkirk Mountains.
The meeting is set for Jan. 24 at the Inn at Priest Lake in Coolin.
Commissioners are concerned the plan to designate as critical habitat nearly 600 square miles of land in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington will harm the local economy by restricting logging, snowmobiling and forest access, according to an Associated Press report.
Fish and Wildlife announced the plan in November after lawsuits by environmental groups. The agency estimates the woodland caribou herd in the region has dwindled to less than 50, with occasional sightings.
“For three caribou, we’re going to tie up over 375,000 acres?” Commissioner Mike Nielsen told the Bonner County Daily Bee, indicating that he prefers to ignore the concept of trying to protect critical habitat for a recovering species.
“That’s over a hundred thousand acres per caribou that people can't use,” he added in a serious overstatement or outright lie.
People would continue to be welcome to visit the high caribou habitat, although motorized vehicles would be restricted in some areas.
There are issues worth discussion in this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal, but spewing propaganda cheapens the appeal.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Bonner County commissioners may challenge a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposal to designated 375,562 acres as critical habitat for endangered woodland caribou in the southern Selkirk Mountains.
The issue is on the meeting agenda for Tuesday, when the commissioners may discuss invoking a federal rule that requires agencies to coordinate with local officials on land use matters, according to a report in the Sandpoint Daily Bee on Friday.
“We have a dog in this fight and we have tools that have never been used before,” Commission Chairman Cornel Rasor told the newspaper.
The FWS estimates about 45 woodland caribou exist in the southern Selkirks.
The proposal to protect habitat is chilling to businesses at Priest Lake, where residents a few years ago were rocked by Forest Service restrictions on snowmobile entry into the Selkirk caribou recovery zone.
Bonner County Commissioners already have established a Property Rights Council that is challenging federal Environmental Protection Agency standards on developing wetlands around Priest Lake, as detailed in this report by the Boise Weekly.