Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Utah: Comb Ridge parcel privatized: A sign of things to come?

Riveroflostsouls.com - Full Article

Jonathan Thompson
October 24 2016

It was like a sucker punch to the gut last week when the State of Utah sold off 800 acres of land in southern Utah to the highest bidders, the hardest blow being the loss of a 380-acre chunk of Comb Ridge near Bluff. On October 18, and for decades before that, it was public land, a place where locals and visitors could roam freely. Then it wasn't, and likely never will be again.

The Comb Ridge parcel lies just north of Highway 163, and stretches from the crest of what some Navajo call the "backbone of the world" down toward Butler Wash. The Hole-in-the-Rock trail went through here, prompting the Hole-in-the-Rock foundation to nominate it for auction in the first place. The old, abandoned blacktop highway cuts through the parcel, too, both defiling and adding an intriguing feature to the slickrock...

Read more here:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Texas billionaires will deal on Idaho trail access, Valley County official says

Idahostateman.com - Full Article

October 21 2-16

The two Texas billionaire brothers who bought 172,000 acres of forest land in Southern Idaho stopped logging in part because they were worried it was being overlogged, a Valley County official said.

And they were disgusted with the trash they found at the many dispersed campsites spread out across the lands previously owned by Boise Cascade and Potlatch Corp., said Larry Laxson, Valley County Parks and Recreation Director.

Most of all, Laxson said, he is hopeful access for snowmobiles to the county’s extensive trail system can be worked out for this winter. He has been talking to Farris and Dan Wilks and their representatives every week.

“They are very reclusive, they kind of want their privacy,” Laxson said. “They’re good people.”

I first reported in August that the Wilks brothers had purchased the land owned for decades by Boise Cascade in Valley, Adams and Boise counties. The two have been buying up land all over the West, and closing off much of the access to those lands.

The Wilks brothers have closed off the timberlands to hunting and other recreation. They already canceled leases with Valley County to maintain roads that provided access to snowmobile trails on public land...

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/letters-from-the-west/article109681742.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Congressional Update on the Land and Water Conservation Fund


Land and Water Conservation Fund


For 50 years—until Congress let it expire on September 30th, 2015—the Land & Water Conservatiimg-mailon Fund (LWCF) has allowed for the purchase of critical lands for conservation and the development of parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation facilities in all 50 states and nearly every county in America.

Created to invest a portion of the revenue from offshore drilling leases towards protecting parks, forests, wildlife refuges, public lands, and other community spaces— the $900 million LWCF has been a crucial tool for helping to close gaps and preserve critical historic and scenic places within our National Trails System. In 2015 alone, over $25 million LWCF dollars were appropriated by Congress to buy land along 11 of our National Scenic and Historic Trails.

A Congressional Update on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (9/29/2016)

Work continues to convince Congress to permanently re-authorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund via several pieces of legislation under consideration. Two bills in the House of Representatives – HR 1814 sponsored by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has 210 sponsors and HR 4151 sponsored by Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) as an all Republican bill has 13 sponsors – would make the LWCF a permanent program as it now operates. Senate and House members of the conference committee are working to reconcile the energy bills passed by both houses of Congress and are also working to include re-authorization of the LWCF in the final bill. The Senate version of the Energy Bill – S. 2012 – includes the same language that Congressman Simpson used for HR 4151.

There is still hope that one or several of these bills will be adopted by Congress during its post election “Lame Duck” session. Supporters of the Land & Water Conservation Fund should continue to express that support.