BOISE, Idaho – Sportsmen and other public landowners in Idaho are uniting in support of public lands, joining together to rally at the Idaho Capitol this Saturday and send a clear message about the importance of our shared lands and waters.
The rally comes as the Idaho legislature is considering a bill (S. 1065) that would egregiously and unnecessarily limit acquisition by the state of any new public lands, cap private lands donations to a state agency at 320 acres and instruct state agencies to sell state lands deemed not to serve a “public purpose.” This “no net loss of private lands” legislation directly counters the “no net loss of public lands” efforts that BHA and other sportsmen groups have championed for years.
“As we’ve been saying all along, the public lands transfer scheme is nothing more than a smokescreen for a public lands fire sale,” said BHA Idaho Board Member Ian Malepeai, who lives in Boise. “Public lands seizure proponents have failed at every turn to transfer American public lands to state control, and so they’ve resorted to promoting the privatization of lands they already control.”
Hunters and anglers across America have been mobilizing in defense of their public lands. A 2015 rally in Boise attracted more than 300 sportsmen. Attendance at Saturday’s rally is expected to exceed 1,000.
“Sportsmen are gathering to urge Idaho lawmakers to drop an unpopular push to seize control of public lands,” Malepeai continued, “and instead put their energy towards real land management solutions, such as H.C.R. 20, which would direct the Department of State Lands to perform an inventory of landlocked state lands, thereby helping address the problem of inaccessible lands.”
The Boise public lands rally will commence at 11 a.m. on March 4 on the steps of the Capitol. Malepeai is pushing sportsmen and others to attend and send a strong message in support of public lands.
“Our public lands are not for sale,” he concluded. “To those who continue to push their anti-public lands and anti-hunting and fishing agenda, take notice. We will not stand idle. We will fight any transfer, sale or divestiture of our public lands.”