The county commissioners are currently pondering a 94-page policy statement, dubbed the Natural Resource Plan, that calls for state and federal land management agencies to “coordinate” with the county in nearly all management matters — from forestry and grazing to wildlife and enforcement.
Among the dozens and dozens of statements, objectives and policies scattered throughout the document, a few jumped out at me; that no more than 25 percent of trails in Bonner County should be non-motorized, that there is no need for the creation of wilderness or other “restricted use” lands in the county, that privately held lands in the county should increase, and that endangered or threatened species listings should not interfere with any land uses.
The document also endorses turning federally held lands over to state ownership.
While water quality, wildlife and forests are stated as valued and important in the document, they clearly take a backseat to private property rights. The underlying theme throughout appears to undermine state and federal actions that seek to protect natural resources for all citizens.
This plan begs for a broader public discussion than it’s had thus far. I encourage you to read the document online at http://bonnercounty.us/bonner-county-natural-resources-committee/. The county commissioners scheduled a workshop with the Bonner County Natural Resource Committee at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 25, at the county administration building. A public hearing may soon follow at a later date.
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