Less than a two-hour drive from Boise, Sage Hen Reservoir and its surrounding streams and forests not only allow family-friendly outdoor recreation, they also provide important habitat for fish and wildlife, like bull trout and northern goshawks. But Boise National Forest Service officials have plans to construct more than 92 miles of temporary road across 67,800 acres as part of a vegetation management project in the Squaw Creek watershed area.

While ICL supports many of the proposed forest restoration efforts, the Forest Service is fast-tracking this project without providing alternatives that would be more protective of fish and wildlife. The Forest Service scheduled a public comment period for earlier this year, before the actual environmental effects were disclosed and when public involvement was hampered by the COVID pandemic.

While Forest Service officials state they will gladly accept more comments, they’re not required to respond to any comments they receive outside the designated period. As a result, they are missing key insights from the public on options that are more protective of fish and wildlife. Their fast-tracking of the project limits your voice on how your public lands are managed. Successful Forest Service restoration projects have included multiple alternatives and opportunities for public comment, leading to healthier forests, watersheds, and communities. 

Let Forest Service officials know you care about the Sage Hen area and would like to see them develop an alternative that is more protective of fish and wildlife. Also, request an open comment period that allows all of us to weigh in on issues and actions not previously disclosed. These are your public lands so you deserve a voice in how they’re managed.

For more information about the project, including the draft analysis and supporting documents, please visit the project webpage and see our May blog on the proposal.