Laws Affecting Forest Practices

Federal Lands Task Force Report

New Approaches for Managing Federally Administered Lands
"A Report to the Idaho State Board Of Land Commissioners By
the Federal Lands Task Force - July 1998"
See the complete report at:

    In 1996, the Idaho Legislature passed a bill authorizing the State Board of Land Commissioners, "To enter into a joint exercise of powers agreement with the United States Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, pursuant to Section 67-2328 Idaho Code." In response to this action the State Board of Land Commissioners appointed a task force and charged them with examining alternative methods of federal land management in Idaho.

    The Task Force consisted of people familiar with the management of federally administered lands, the management of state and private lands, issues affecting the various resources on these lands, and the potential impacts on the physical and economic environment of the use of these resources.

    Beginning in October 1996, the Task Force met in a variety of locations in Idaho and heard testimony from people representing a wide range of interests in federal land management issues and concerns. Many of the people who appeared before the Task Force were federal land management agency employees. Without exception, these individuals were highly professional, with a deep-rooted interest in the land they were charged with managing, and concern for the effective operation of the agency they represented.

    This report documents the activities and deliberations of the Task Force. It describes the alternative land management approaches considered, develops the framework of proposed pilot projects to test their application on federal land, and defines how they achieve the functional objectives. We commend it to the Idaho Land Board with the belief that the ideas and proposals incorporated herein will be a first step in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of federal land management in Idaho.

    Executive Summary
    In 1996, the 53rd Legislature of the State of Idaho passed Senate Bill No. 1354 (Idaho Code 58-104(10)) authorizing the State Board of Land Commissioners, "To enter into a joint exercise of powers agreement with the United States Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture, pursuant to Section 67-2328, Idaho Code". In response to this action the State Board of Land Commissioners appointed a 19-member task force and charged them with examining alternative methods of federal land management in the state.

    In order to better understand the nature and scope of the problems surrounding federal land management *in Idaho, we, the Task Force, scheduled meetings throughout the state and heard testimony from a wide variety of resource managers, land use interests, and other individuals with expertise in natural resource management. We considered this testimony in detail. We discussed the implications of the current state of federal land management on the economic and social fabric of Idaho.

    We established the following principles as a basis for developing alternatives:
  • The ownership of federally administered lands will not be transferred to the state.
  • A variety of uses will continue on federally administered lands currently managed for multiple use.
  • The public will be involved in the decision-making process.
  • These principles led to the following general considerations regarding the management of federally administered lands. These are desirable outcomes from which objectives and alternatives can be crafted:
  • Environmental quality will be maintained and enhanced.
  • Fish and wildlife habitat will be enhanced.
  • Community stability and resiliency will be enhanced.
  • Land management agency budgets will be stabilized.
  • Resource management decisions will be made faster; more efficiently, and more effectively, and will produce more certainty and accountability.
  • Federally administered lands will be managed in a fiscally responsible manner.
  • Management of federally administered lands will be scientifically based to the greatest extent possible.
  • All state and federal laws will be obeyed.
  • Based on the above principles and key considerations, we developed the following sever "functional objections," representing what we propose to accomplish through implementation of an alternate:
  • Involve the public.
  • Streamline and localize decision-making.
  • Protect water quality.
  • Base management on formalized plans.
  • Protect species.
  • Stabilize agency budgets.
  • Stabilized communities.
  • We eliminated any alternative that failed to achieve all seven of the functional objectives.
    As a result of our activities and deliberations, we found that in the past three decades the delivery of goods and services, as well as intangible and intrinsic values from federally administered lands, has not met the changing expectations of the public in general, or of Idaho citizens in particular. This situation has destabilized Idaho communities, eliminated jobs, diminished economic returns, and reduced environmental quality.

    Based on the testimony of many witnesses, and analysis of the problem and posible solutions, we identified and examined three action alternatives: The Trust Alternative, The Collaborative Alternative, and The Cooperative Alternative. We offer the following findings and recommendation for Land Board consideration:

    Finding 1: The current processes of federal land management have resulted in uncertain decision making, destablization of resource dependant communities, and deterioration in evironmental quality on federal lands. In short, the system is broken.

    Finding 2: Significant changes to these processes are necessary. The changes proposed in the Upper Columbia River Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statement are not adequite.

    Recommendation: The State Board of Land Commissioners should pursue a pilot project(s) testing one or more of the action alternatives for federal land management.

    Federal Lands Task Force Members

    • Stanley F. Hamilton, Director, Idaho Department of Lands, Ex-Officio Member

    • Co-chair: Senator Judi Danielson, Republican, Council, Idaho
    • Co-chair: Representative Charles D. Cuddy, Democrat, Orofino, Idaho
    • Bill Bachman, Forester, Croman Corporation, Boise, Idaho
    • Scott Bedke, Idaho Cattle Association, Oakley, Idaho
    • Phil Church, UPIU, Lewiston, Idaho
    • Clark Collins, Blue Ribbon Coalition, Pocatello, Idaho
    • Lou Foruria, Labor Representative, Emmett, Idaho
    • Joe Hinson, Intermountain Forest Industry Association, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
    • Ernest J. Lombard, Idaho Park and Recreation Board, Eagle, Idaho
    • Jack Lyman, Idaho Mining Association, Boise, Idaho
    • Richard E. Meiers, Idaho Fish and Game Commission, Eagle, Idaho
    • Jay O'Laughlin, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
    • Margaret Soulen, Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission, Weiser, Idaho
    • Heber Stokes, Lemhi County Commission, Salmon, Idaho
    • Doug Westfall, Associated Logging Contractors, Salmon, Idaho

    Breaking The Gridlock
    Federal Land Pilot Projects in Idaho

    A report to the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners by the
    Federal Lands Task Force Working Group
    December 2000

    Executive Summary
    In 1996 the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board) appointed the Idaho Federal Lands Task Force to examine issues of federal land management in Idaho, analyze alternative methods of federal land management, and report their findings. In their July 1998 report to the Land Board, the Task Force recommended development of pilot projects to test three new approaches to federal land management: the collaborative model, cooperative model, and trust land-management model.

    The Land Board appointed a Coordinator to lead development of further actions and in October 1999 appointed an eight-member Working Group to identify pilot projects on Idaho's federal lands.

    The Working Group recommends five pilot projects for consideration. Consistent with the Task Force recommendations, none of the projects involves state management, state control, or state ownership of federal land.

    The five pilot projects use an ecosystem-based approach to maintain and enhance environmental quality, to attain other land management goals and objectives, and to create opportunities for more effective public participation in resource management decisions through revised decision-making frameworks. All projects feature long-range plans, environmental impact analyses, and public involvement.

    In total, the five proposed pilot projects encompass 10.8 million acres of federal land of which 10. 1 million acres are National Forest System lands. Currently, 20,476 acres (or 0.2%) of these national forest lands are subject to active forest ecosystem management each year. The projects presented herein propose increasing this to 36,967 acres, or 0.4% of the total national forest area.

    The five proposed pilot projects are presented in alphabetical order:

  • Central Idaho Ecosystem Trust

    Area: 5.8 million acres; all of the Boise National Forest and parts of the Payette, Sawtooth, and Salmon-Challis National Forests

    Goal: Restore vegetation to desired ecological conditions while meeting social needs within an economically-oriented management framework.

    Summary: This project uses a trust law framework. Trustees representing national and local interests will provide management oversight. Land management will be keyed to a scientific model ("Ecosystem Diversity Matrix") comprised of 143 combinations of vegetation habitat types and growth stages called ecological land units (ELUs). * These ELUs provide area-specific goals for management and can be related to species' habitat needs and social and economic concerns. Trust revenue will be generated in a manner that recognizes public values and is sustainable over the long term. The trust beneficiaries are entities representing fish and wildlife, recreation, and local government. A "Local Advisory Council" will function as a sounding board for the trust manager in the decision-making process and manage public involvement in the planning process.

  • Clearwater Basin Stewardship Collaborative

    Area: 2.7 million acres; parts of the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests

    Goal: Restore habitat for elk and other indicator species consistent with social objectives and historical conditions.

    Summary: A "Collaborative Group" will guide the management of elk recovery efforts by restoring this portion of the Clearwater River basin to ecological goals within the range of historical conditions. One specific goal is to restore a higher percentage of early- and late-successional stages of vegetation than currently exists. The Collaborative Group will include a wide range of stakeholders such as local government, environmental, wildlife advocates, and multiple-use interests. The group will develop annual and five-year plans for managing the project area. The Collaborative Group will involve the public in defining the goals and products expected from the project and in recommending management objectives.

  • Priest Lake Basin Cooperative

    Area: 265,000 acres; Priest Lake District, Idaho Panhandle National Forest

    Goal: Coordinate management efforts of state and federal agencies to restore and enhance ecological conditions and improve resource management for wildlife, recreation, and balanced economic uses.

    Summary: Three governmental organizations will be parties to a Memorandum of Understanding for management of the Priest Lake area-the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands, and Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The federal land will be managed using the cooperative method. The three agencies will cooperatively manage federal and state lands within the area to achieve multiple use objectives while maintaining the Land Board's obligations for the state of Idaho's endowment lands. The management of the cooperative will be guided by a "Local Agency Managers" group consisting of representatives of the three agencies., The managers' efforts, will be augmented by a "Public Advisory Committee" as well as representatives of other state or federal agencies with regulatory authorities for Priest Lake resources.

  • St. Joe Ecosystem Stewardship Project

    Area: 726,000 acres; St. Joe District, Idaho Panhandle National Forest

    Goal: Restore and enhance ecological conditions by conducting resource management activities through stewardship contract pilot projects, similar to those authorized by the FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act.'

    Summary: Stewardship contract pilot projects will be used for all resource management activities. Western white pine, western larch, and ponderosa pine will be restored to conditions within the historic range of variability. Forage for elk and other big game species will be increased. The focus of the project is to improve ecosystem conditions, support local government activity, and fund other activities, such as watershed improvements. A "Local Advisory Committee" and an "Investment Project Advisory Committee" will oversee and monitor all resource management activities.

  • Twin Falls / Cassia Resource Enhancement Trust

    Area: 1.3 million acres (51% BLM and 49% Forest Service lands); 457,418 acres of the BLM's Twin Falls Resource Management Area; 214,462 acres of the BLM's Burley Resource Management Area; 632,120 acres of the Twin Falls and Burley Districts, Sawtooth National Forest

    Goal: Provide sustainable use and enhancement of local ecological assets while balancing established and emerging cultures.

    Summary: The project will enhance environmental quality, recreation, and long?term stability of local communities. Trust beneficiaries represent local communities, users of resources (water, wildlife and range) and future generations. Trustees represent national, state, and local interests and coordinate with federal and state agencies. Public input and involvement in resource management decisions will be through a "Local Steering Committee" representing a collaborative group of interests.

    See the complete report at:


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