February 22, 2005

Craig, Crapo, Otter Introduce Bills to Help Forest Service in Silver Valley

Bills would provide method of funding for an improved and/or new Forest Service facility

WASHINGTON, DC â?? Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter introduced companion bills in the Senate and House today to enable the federal government to offer certain parcels of land in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest for sale or exchange. The Forest Service has already determined that the public interest is better served by disposing of these parcels, rather than maintaining ownership.â??The current Silver Valley ranger station is in need of repair or replacement and these sales or exchanges will help fund this endeavor,â?? Senator Larry Craig said. â??This is a win-win situation for the taxpayers, the Forest Service, the residents of the Silver Valley, and the permittees on the parcels of land to be disposed of.â??"This legislation demonstrates how we can make the federal government more effective,â?? Senator Mike Crapo said. â??By consolidating land purchases and allowing better access and use, we benefit landowners and taxpayers both. This is a good investment for the government, and it makes common sense for the Panhandle National Forest.â??â??Our goal for land under federal control in Idaho is that it be treated more like private property,â?? Congressman C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter said. â??That means actively managing it for the good of its owners â?? the American people. Good stewardship dictates consolidating scattered parcels of public land. At the same time, we can generate revenue for other property improvements rather than asking taxpayers for more of their hard-earned money. Itâ??s the kind of thing private landowners would do to protect their investment, and thatâ??s positive for all of us.â??The Forest Service administrative parcels identified for disposal include the land permitted by the Granite/Reeder Sewer District on Priest Lake, Shoshone Camp in Shoshone County, and the North-South Ski Bowl, south of St. Maries.The bill also directs the Forest Service to improve or construct a new ranger station in the Silver Valley.[30]