Crapo: Public Lands Should Remain Public
State and federal lands management laws and processes too often drive us to conflict and litigation, and should be reformed to allow more participation-in and influence over management decisions by those closest to the land. State government, local officials and private stakeholders should be empowered to more meaningfully participate in the decision-making processes pertaining to our public lands.
Outcomes from this collaborative, consensus building approach will be better for both the environment and the natural resource based economies of Idaho. These outcomes can result in administrative and/or legislative action on the public land in question. The Owyhee Initiative is an example of the kind of collaborative approach that respects the needs of all affected stakeholders by building on the knowledge that local communities have about the public lands that literally comprise their backyards.
The land management challenges facing Idaho and western states did not happen overnight. As such, it will take time, dedicated efforts and robust public participation to achieve the outcomes we all seek. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to enact federal land management policies that maintain public access and ensure resilient, self-sustaining economies for our rural counties for years to come.