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A lot of the land we’re crossing these four days is owned by Potlatch Corporation, a timber company. Another Idaho timber company, Boise Cascade, recently sold 172,000 acres in which they also had allowed recreation and firewood collection. The new owners, as is their prerogative, are ending that access.¹


Beyond the issue of federal forest management shortcomings, some are angrily adamant that the very notion of public land is Socialism and probably tyranny (online forums have a way of turning the rhetoric up to eleven). To them, all land should be similarly private, on the tax rolls, likely closed to public access.²


Such hardline ideas are wholly at odds, I think, with the “general welfare” that is government’s first Constitutional responsibility (Art. I sec. 8). Hunters, hikers, skiers, anglers and riders know well the personal and social value of routine exposure to untamed places, to things vastly bigger than ourselves. The American ethos is grounded in such experiences, experiences that continue to make Idaho (and environs) great.


¹ Idaho Statesman, “Texas billionaires limit snowmobile access on Idaho land, reverse course on logging” (Sep 2, 2016):

² See comments at Idaho Statesman, “Do two Texas billionaire brothers now own a big chunk of S. Idaho?” (Aug 25, 2016):

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Taken on September 3, 2016