The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) would like to clarify a few facts about access on state endowment lands following a Jan. 3 guest opinion by hunter John Kuntz.
Almost all legally accessible endowment lands are open for hunting and other dispersed recreation uses without limitations. Mr. Kuntz said 700,000 acres of endowment land are closed to public access, implying the agency or Land Board made a decision to limit access. In fact, 30 percent of endowment lands are legally inaccessible to IDL and the public because they are landlocked by other owners.
Furthermore, activities on only 1-2 percent of endowment lands actually limit access for public safety and to protect the investments of lessees.
Mr. Kuntz also said, “The long-term health of the habitat and wildlife is a low priority for state lands.” Actually, the most recent interagency forest practices water-quality audit shows activities on endowment lands were 99 percent compliant with laws designed to protect water quality and environmental health. We have an interest in maintaining the long-term health of endowment lands so they can continue to produce income not just for today’s generation of public school children, but generations hundreds of years from now as well.
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Emily Callihan, IDL public information officer, Boise