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U.S. Forest Service, Potlatch Close Deal

Thu., Sept. 26, 1996, midnight

The U.S. Forest Service and Potlatch Corp. have finalized the exchange of nearly 40,000 acres in north-central Idaho.

The agency traded 14,232 acres on the Clearwater National Forest north of Headquarters along Beaver Creek for 23,490 acres of Potlatch land on the upper North Fork of the Clearwater.

The company also threw in 1,369 acres along Elk Creek near Elk River and 216 acres of scattered recreational property and patented mining claims within the Palouse Ranger District.

The consolidation will allow better management by both parties, said Clearwater Forest Supervisor Jim Caswell.

One of the biggest advantages to the Forest Service is that the 23,490 acres previously in intermingled, checkerboard ownership can now be managed as one unit for fish, wildlife and water quality, Caswell said.

Imperiled bull trout will benefit in upper North Fork streams where conditions provide strong potential for their recovery, he added.

The trade began with negotiations in 1993 and public reviews that resulted in an environmental impact statement issued in May. Some had questioned the trade, including several Forest Service retirees who argued the move was not in the public’s best interest.

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