On Tuesday, the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners gave its final approval to exchanging land within the Owyhee Canyonland Wilderness with federal BLM lands. According to the Idaho Department of Lands, the exchange allows the state and the BLM to acquire lands better suited to their missions and objectives. More than 31,000 acres of non-wilderness federal land will be exchanged for nearly 24,000 acres of state endowment land. The equal value exchange is based on the appraised value of the lands being exchanged, not the size of the parcels.
There are 40 endowment parcels with 17 grazing leases that will be exchanged for 11 federal parcels with 18 grazing permits. IDL with honor the remaining duration of BLM grazing permits by issuing Land Use Permits for the time remaining. IDL will acquire parcels adjacent to existing endowment lands that have access, creating larger endowment blocks, reducing the expense of managing scattered parcels and increases potential revenue for trust beneficiaries.
The land acquired by the BLM with allow for consistent management within the wilderness area and will enhance dispersed backcountry recreation by facilitating access to wilderness and improving opportunities for hunting, camping, fishing and river floating. Closing on the exchange will not be completed until the BLM completes the last of its processes, including publishing a Notice of Decision and a public comment period.
IDL says the nearly 12-year process that began in 2008 has involved numerous stakeholders.
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