BOISE – The Idaho House voted unanimously Monday to oppose the Bush administration’s plan to sell off public land, including 26,000 acres in Idaho.
“Sale of these lands in any significant amount would be detrimental to the citizens of our Idaho communities,” Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, told the House. The Idaho Senate earlier passed the non-binding memorial, SJM 120, on a 34-1 vote. Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate joined forces to write the resolution.
Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, told the House, “On Saturday in Coeur d’Alene, on a cold, rainy afternoon, we had a public meeting about this issue. Two hundred people turned out to express their universal opposition to the idea of any sales of public land.”
He added, “Some of the parcels that have been picked and listed are quite significant to our local communities.” He cited English Point, a popular recreation area overlooking Hayden Lake. “That was listed and our rangers up there have no explanation as to why.” The Bush administration proposal would sell off more than 300,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land to raise money to continue a program that makes payments to rural counties and schools to offset lost logging revenues.
SJM 120 states in part, “Idahoans value outdoor experiences very highly and generations of Idahoans and other Americans have enjoyed this federal land through activities such as hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.” The measure concludes, “We are opposed to any proposals which lead to a significant sale of federal land located in the state of Idaho.”