How do we create solutions in Idaho? The Idaho Lands Summit, coming up on Nov. 9, 2017, at Boise State University (BSU), is a full-day session focused on lands and waters of the West-and its purpose is to demystify and probe how solutions are created. The Idaho Conservation League is a sponsor, as are a set of other “stakeholders,” a now common word for what many still call “opponents.” I don’t. That’s too easy a box to put folks in, and finding solutions to land and water issues is rarely easy and not helped by putting each other in boxes.

I sometimes describe a cartoon version of environmental advocates where we oppose everything and are generally viewed as hard to deal with. Sound familiar? Of course.

The world we’re in today is far too complicated for such simple characterizations. And the work of the Idaho Conservation League has long been too complicated, as well.

Many ICL successes have been based on the now trendy word collaboration. We’re part of formal collaboratives with operating rules of the road, and we’re part of less formal tables where solutions are sought. Sometimes our collaborative work is simply a behavior we bring to the discussion. Whatever the issue or forum, it remains surprising how many don’t see the progress being made across Idaho. When you hear rhetoric about public land takeover or issues underlying frustration with land and water, it’s easy to assume the cartoon version is in play.

The Idaho Lands Summit will bring speakers like Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Idaho Bureau of Land Management Director Tim Murphy. A leader of the Western Governors’ Association will explore solution-oriented paths to land management.

I will moderate a panel with long-term colleagues including Marni Salmon, who is deep into the current challenges of Washington, DC, and Ken Rait, who worked on both the Escalante National Monument and the Clinton Roadless Rule. John Freemuth, professor and director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at BSU, will also be part of my panel.

Interested in how Idaho finds solutions? Or even how Idaho leads in finding solutions? Join us on Nov. 9 at BSU.