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First take/lands

In this time of so much discussion and protest (notably around Burns, Oregon) about the public lands – operated by the federal government – a headline from Idaho ought to be getting more attention than it has.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that two Texas billionaire brothers, the Wilks, have bought 38,000 acres of land around the Joseph territory in Idaho County. (Previously, they had bought around 300,000 acres in Montana.)

The land had consisted of privately-held ranches in the area, and there’s nothing legally wrong about the transaction. However, the Tribune also reported this:

“During a recent Idaho County Commission meeting, comments were made that residents believe public access to the Joseph Plains area for hunting and recreation, which has been granted in the past by the previous landowners, has been closed off since the Wilkses took over. The comments took place in a conversation about the proposed Lochsa Land Exchange.”

Private means private. Public means you either might have outright access to it, or at least a shot at it.

The massive public lands around Burns are public lands, which have been open for a wide range of uses by members of the public, including ranchers. Turn it private, and some people in Idaho County could tell you what some of the possibilities are. – rs

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One Comment

  1. fortboise fortboise January 11, 2016

    If you’re armed well enough, it seems you can trespass all you want in our once again wild west. Maybe the Wilkses will contribute to the local economy by providing employment opportunities for security guards. Or maybe not.

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