PLT Comments Before the State Land Board – November 2020

PLT Comments Before the State Land Board – November 2020

PLT was the first to give testimony regarding the Trident Proposal and IDL Strategy at today’s State Land Board Meeting!

November 17, 2020 – State Land Board Meeting Testimony

Craig Utter Executive Director Payette Land Trust

Good Morning 

Governor and Members of the Land Board 

Thank you for allowing public comment on this important issue.
Located in McCall, PLT serves Adams, Idaho, Washington and Valley counties. We have been working to balance conservation and development for more than 25 years.

For issues concerning Endowment Lands around Payette Lake, we have been slow and deliberate in constructing our position, always keeping the land at the heart of the discussion.  
 Here are some rough Stats about the Lake: 

  • 22 miles of shoreline 
  •  6 within Ponderosa State park and 16 along the outer shore.
  • Subtract the current privately owned/ developed shoreline and three stretches of road adjacent to the shore, and we are down to .87 miles. 
  • That is 5.4% of the shoreline left.
  • Of the .87 miles there are two sections remaining:

.56 commonly known as the Wedding Site or Parcel “G” 
.31 on the East side, north of an existing private property. 

Sadly, these two areas constitute the last of the undisturbed public shoreline.

PLT believes the Lake, in its current state, is out of balance. Any further development, which is above a minimal impact, will be detrimental.

Simply put, the Lake has done its fair share for the economic return of the area. 

It’s time to “Give the Lake a Break”. 

We believe the remaining open space holds a higher value than development.

We viewed both proposals through the lens of our Payette River Basin Initiative, which defines an area of one-half mile around the lake from the shoreline as critical.

Neither proposal elevated the conservation of this resource to the level it deserves. 
Because of this, PLT chose not to support either Draft as presented.

Under the current Trident plan, the entirety of Payette Lake’s outer perimeter would have some form of development.

The IDL strategy is not clear what the plan is for reclassification of transitional lands and we understand this could lead to future development, until it is clarified we cannot support the draft.

This places both proposals in conflict with the PLT Payette River Basin Initiative. 

PLT is a solution-based organization and we believe there is a conservation option.  
As mentioned in the IDL presentation, Easements could be that option.  

The uniqueness of a conservation easement allows for the harvesting of development value from the land without compromising the ecological integrity.

With this in mind, PLT will propose working with the State Land Board to develop protocols for conservation easements on Endowment Land. 

In an area such as this, development does not have to be the only option for generating the required revenue set forth in the mission of the trust.

Given the chance to purchase a conservation easement, PLT believes, the environmental, recreation, outdoor and tourism communities along with the general public can and will come together to convert our shared values into the monetary requirement necessary to meet the fiduciary duty of the Board.

Thank you