Café Mulé owner Matt Bishop found a powerful ally in his quest for access to Boise Foothills trails: Lt. Gov. Brad Little.
Bishop received permission from two private landowners to serve coffee on their property along the Ridge to Rivers trail system.
One of those landowners: the Little family.
Bishop declined to name the landowners who helped him, citing their privacy, but Little revealed his role in a Facebook post.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“What kind of harm can that be?” Little said of Bishop’s request in an interview with the Idaho Statesman. “It’s not a permanent thing. It’s one of those things that individuals can do pretty fast, that big businesses are slower to do and government is glacial or non-existent at all. We’ve had those trails on our ground ever since there were trails up there. People are very appreciative of it and very respectful.”
Little used the Facebook post to take a shot at federal land managers.
“The federal government once again shutting down the use of Idaho lands,” he wrote.
Bishop tried to get permits through Ridge to Rivers, a coalition that includes the city of Boise, BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Ada County and Idaho Fish and Game.
He was rejected by BLM. The Forest Service informed him that his request wouldn’t be reviewed for at least three years.
“The Forest Service just seems to be a perennial problem as far as getting something done,” Little said. “I’ve had battles with the Forest Service all my adult life. ... I’d love to get along with them but I fully understand that you sometimes have got to get their attention. I’m trying to think, ‘What’s the harm in having somebody up there on a temporary basis?’ They didn’t have to give him a permanent permit. But that’s why people get discouraged with big government.”
Little didn’t make the decision on the Café Mulé request. His sons handle the family’s ranching business. But they did inform him.
“You know (Bishop) appreciates it,” Little said. “You could write a big contract about cleaning up, but if it’s permissive — if you give somebody permission — common sense dictates they’re going to take care of it. Matt, it doesn’t do him any good for he or his customers to be anything but respectful up there. It’s the right thing to do.”