Last month, the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) rejected the Trident proposal for endowment lands surrounding Payette Lake based in large part on the development group’s failure to provide a value-for-value exchange as required by the Idaho Constitution.

Now Trident Holdings, LLC has filed a petition for a contested case with the Idaho Land Board along with a lawsuit against the state, challenging the rejection. The Land Board is expected to consider the petition for a contested case at their meeting on Sept. 21. As we’ve discussed, the IDL did the right thing in rejecting the Trident application.

Both the contested case and the lawsuit allege that IDL did not properly consider their proposal, failed to conduct a full appraisal, and was tainted by bias. Trident alleges bias from an IDL employee, who submitted comments during a City of McCall comment period, encouraging the retention of public lands, and at one time paid dues to Idaho Rivers United.

That’s not all that’s happening with these lands though

Later this week, a coalition of stakeholders, including ICL, will submit a proposal to IDL and the Land Board to retain public lands and public access in the McCall and Payette Lake area through conservation and recreation leases, easements, and other agreements.  Together, we’re working to protect these endowment lands for future generations of Idahoans and ensure that the Land Board can meet its constitutional obligation to maximize returns. Local and regional interests are signing on with letters of support and we are encouraged about the potential to avoid the loss of public lands.

We’re also pleased to be coordinating with Tribes, officials from the U.S. Forest Service, IDL, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Valley County, the City of McCall, and others to identify creative solutions and ensure that the access we enjoy today is protected for future generations.

Stay tuned for updates on the plan, along with developments from the Land Board meeting.