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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.
Visits by recreational users to land in Idaho overseen by the federal Bureau of Land Management have skyrocketed in recent years, from 1.5 million in 1985 to 7.6 million in 1995. The trend is placing enormous new pressures on the BLM, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. The agency manages 11.6 million acres of Idaho - 22 percent of the state. BLM holdings in North Idaho are mostly scattered forest lands.
1. Confidence eroded. Dale and Sandy Peringer sold their farmhouse in Rosalia, Wash., to live year-round at Priest Lake. The Peringers, holding their granddaughter Gina, now fear they may be driven out. Photo by Craig Buck/The Spokesman-Review 2. Some Priest Lake users worry they shoreline will be spoiled by wealthy newcomers. Photo by Craig Buck/The Spokesman-Review
Why should Idaho have millions of dollars of its school endowment fund tied up in grazing land that returns only 60 cents an acre, when it could be making a killing for schools on timber and commercial development? That's what state Controller J.D. Williams wants to know. Williams sits on the state Land Board, which oversees the 2.4 million acres of land that the state holds in trust for the sole purpose of making money for schools. He envisions a more lucrative real estate portfolio, with office towers, timberlands and industrial parks. The first move toward changing the mix, a controversial land deal the board will consider Monday, is raising troubling questions.
The city drew a line in the sand Friday over development at Sanders Beach. Planning and building officials told an East Lakeshore Drive homeowner the city's shoreline development rules prevent him from building condominiums at the water's edge. They torpedoed landowner Joe Chapman's plans to build the two-story units.
It has one of those innocuous names that only a bureaucrat could like, but the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project has become the latest target of the "wise use" movement and freshmen Republicans from the West are leading the charge in Congress to gut it. Supporters of the project say Reps. George Nethercutt and Richard "Doc" Hastings of Washington and Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho have become "poster children" for right-wing hysteria over private property rights and are shilling for the timber, cattle and mining industries.
A proposed law that would allow building in illegal subdivisions would not just help those with road problems. Ask Sharon Babcock, who lived in her Rathdrum-area home more than a year before learning it had been built illegally.
Realtor Patrick Hall thought he had a good deal, paying $165,000 for a rural, 10-acre waterfront tract. Photo by Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review
A new study that discusses the use of land surrounding Fairchild Air Force Base was released recently by base officials. The Air Installation Compatible Use Zone study explains changes in air traffic as a result of Fairchild losing its B-52 bombers and becoming the nation's largest KC-135 facility. It discusses what structures, developments and operations in the civilian land surrounding the base are compatible with those flying patterns.
The owner of "The Point" at Hauser Lake is offering to give the tip of the peninsula to the state for permanent public access. "We'd just like to get it settled, because it's been 3-1/2 years," said Garth Everett.
Listen! Do you hear that insistent ringing? Wake up, Spokane, that's an alarm bell! Developers are building, people are moving, but our local nongovernments (as in "not quite good enough to be called governments") are not producing a plan to manage growth. We are about to be overwhelmed, and it is going to cost us taxpayers plenty. Up where I live, near Wandermere, 1,000 new homes are going in with about 4,000 new people. The houses are all on septic systems. The state has said that the main route between there and Spokane, Highway 395, is inadequate. The water district is barely keeping up with new construction. And the school system is gasping for breath.
Stan Sloan has given in to the federal government. The Post Falls man agreed last week to turn over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services a small strip of property he owns in the Spokane Valley. The department wants to run a water line across the land to an alcohol and drug treatment facility it is building near Eighth Avenue and Carnahan Road.
A new survey by faculty members at the University of Idaho Department of Geography found that Columbia River Basin residents overwhelmingly want their forests, rangelands and wilderness protected. When asked to list the three most important ways federal lands should be managed, those surveyed put water and watershed protection at the top of the list, Harley Johansen and Gundars Rudzitis said.
Gov. Phil Batt said Tuesday he has received half a dozen letters from Priest Lake cabin owners who oppose any move by the state to sell or exchange the land their cabins occupy. "I haven't seen any favorable," Batt said.
More than 300 people who rent their Priest Lake cabin sites from the state of Idaho could get a chance at owning the land they lease. Idaho's Land Board on Tuesday gave approval to the idea of a three-way land swap that would allow a few Payette Lake cabin owners to buy their sites.
A proposal for tightening the rules for subdividing land in Kootenai County will be discussed in a public hearing Monday. The Board of County Commissioners is considering eliminating regulations that allow landowners to split their property once without any oversight. The new subdivision ordinance also would require the county to approve any subdivision that would create parcels 20 acres in size or smaller. County officials say the new rules would protect buyers by making sure the subdivisions meet minimum zoning requirements for home construction. Critics find the proposal too weak. The hearing begins at 4 p.m. in the Lake City Junior Academy, 111 Locust Ave., in Coeur d'Alene.
Cars and trucks on Interstate 90 zoom past a fisherman on the Spokane River, one of the areas recommended for new conservation measures. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
After three years, 48 meetings and 1,500 hours of volunteer time, a panel of Spokane County residents is proposing a wide-ranging set of regulations to protect steep slopes, wetlands and wildlife corridors from development. If approved by Spokane County Commissioners, the regulations would identify and define these areas, establish rating guidelines, and set standards for those wishing to develop on land where these features are common. The county planning commission has scheduled a public workshop on the regulations for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 14 in the Public Works Building hearing room.
Indian Trail residents will have another chance to offer opinions about a land-use plan that will shape growth in their neighborhood for the next decade. The Indian Trail specific plan is now in the hands of the city Plan Commission, which has scheduled workshop sessions for Wednesday. Residents who want to offer views on the zoning and comprehensive plan document should attend one of two workshop sessions.
A plan to transfer 270 million acres of federal land to the states is expensive and unfair, a Clinton administration official said Tuesday. Bonnie Cohen, an assistant secretary at the Department of Interior, estimated the legislation would cost the nation more than $1.2 billion in lost energy and mineral leases, grazing and recreation fees and timber sales.