Good News from ID BHA and the Clearwater Collaborative

For years, Idaho BHA has played an integral role within the Idaho's Clearwater Collaborative to work towards common-sense forest management solutions, which balance a wide variety of land-based interests. After years of hard work, negotiations and compromise the Clearwater Collaborative has reached an agreement which will provide for backcountry fish and wildlife habitat protection, while also increasing timber harvest yields, improving motorized recreational opportunities and adding jobs to the local economy. Below is a recent new release from the Collaborative on this big news and historic agreement. For a recent news article from the Lewiston Time click here. For a ID BHA slide show highlighting the landscape of the Clearwater, click here.

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Lewiston, Idaho May 22, 2013: After five years of work on land management issues within the Clearwater Basin, members of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative signed a work plan signifying their commitment to continue work to resolve six natural resource issues.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo convened the Collaborative five years ago to find long-term solutions to natural resource issues that were contributing to gridlock in the Basin. At the initial meeting, he told members the collaborative process would require all participants to recognize and respect the views of all participants. “Each participant must be as committed to helping others reach their goals and objectives as that participant is committed to advancing their own interests,” he emphasized.

With that goal in mind the group forged a package that proposes six issues be addressed administratively and/or legislatively: Forest management; rural economic needs and county funding; tribal and special places; wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and special management designations, wildlife management; and recreation.

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Clearwater Basin Collaborative Co-chair Alex Irby said he believes this plan strikes the right balance for people who live, work and play within the Clearwater Basin. “We are very pleased to have reached this milestone,” he stated. “We believe this balanced package is the blueprint for breaking the gridlock that has paralyzed land management actions in the past.”

Irby said when the entire plan is implemented there will be more jobs associated with increased levels of timber harvest and forest restoration work in the roaded front country, and protection for those backcountry lands and rivers that so many people treasure. Additionally there will be more certainty for county governments, improved habitat to support the area’s wildlife and more recreation opportunities.

“In order for this plan to work all the components must move forward simultaneously,” he emphasized. “This is the beginning of a long-term process, not the end.”

While the Collaborative, as a body, has forged agreements and provided consensus input and recommendations on a variety of natural resource issues to multiple agencies, the Agreement and Work Plan is the group’s first attempt to put the separate pieces together into a comprehensive package that all members agree to thoughtfully move forward.

The signed Agreement and Work Plan will be posted on the Collaboratives’s website

Fishing photo, courtesy ofBill Mullins and buck photo courtesy of Derrick Reeves.

About Caitlin Thompson