In July, Idahoans learned of a troubling proposal from a company called Trident Holdings, that would privatize 28,000 acres of state lands surrounding Payette Lake and the community of McCall. Hundreds of concerned citizens submitted comments to the Idaho Land Board and the McCall City Council, virtually all opposed to the proposal.

Now, a new grassroots organization, the Payette Endowment Lands Alliance (PELA), has formed and is committed to preserving and protecting state endowment lands in the McCall region. PELA will work to support efforts to maintain public land ownership of state endowment lands that surround the lake.

According to a news release, PELA “will seek to collaborate with the Idaho Land Board and local stakeholders to offer innovative solutions for generating revenue and to give input on management strategies for the endowment trust while protecting the McCall area lands as irreplaceable treasures, vital to our well-being, to wildlife, and to the health of the lake.”

Idahoans cherish our public lands, and its clear that the citizens of McCall (and everyone who loves Payette Lake!) want to find lasting solutions that will protect public access, wildlife habitat and water quality.

What’s the status of the land exchange proposal?

While ICL, PELA and others are committed to finding long-term solutions to keep public lands in public hands, we’re also continuing to closely track the proposal from the Trident that kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest.

Partly in response to the Trident proposal, the Idaho Land Board implemented a moratorium on any new land sales, leases or exchanges in the McCall region while they develop a detailed Lands Analysis for the lands in and around McCall and Payette Lake. That analysis is scheduled to be finalized by December 2020.

In the meantime, it appears that Trident is revising their exchange concept and is continuing to pitch their proposal to garner support. So far, we haven’t heard of any organizations that have stepped up to support the exchange though.

How can you get involved?

Right now, there is no proposal pending before the Idaho Land Board.

ICL will be working closely with our partners to track this issue though, and if they accept public input on the Lands Analysis, we’ll let you know. Sign up for our email alerts to stay in the loop!

We also encourage you to keep an eye out for future announcements from PELA on how you can join and support their work. For now, you can email PELA to learn more, and to be placed on their mailing list.

In addition, ICL and partners recently hosted an online forum and panel discussion to provide info on how Idahoans can work together to support and retain our public lands.

Whether it’s conservation easements, an expansion of Ponderosa State Park or other alternatives, we are committed to finding solutions that support public access, wildlife, water quality and our state endowment lands.