February 02, 2005

Crapo: Owyhee Initiative Is Historic Opportunity For Idahoans

Thanks group members for their efforts

Boise â?? Nearly fifty people representing several interest groups joined with Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and the Owyhee County Commissioners on the Statehouse steps this morning to receive a draft proposal from the Owyhee Initiative work group that could lead to legislation preserving traditional cultures and economies as well as wild areas of Owyhee County. â??This is an historic opportunity for Idahoans to preserve both our way of life and one of our stateâ??s most special placesâ??the Owyhees,â?? Crapo said. â??The collaborative process that has led to this draft proposal truly represents a win-win outcome for all involved and a big improvement over the status quo for everyone in Idaho.â??Crapo joined with the commissioners and work group members today for sessions both on the Statehouse steps and in Owyhee County to discuss the draft proposal. It seeks to facilitate innovative landscape-level management over much of Owyhee County. If adopted, it will resolve long-standing disputes over land use in the county, while preserving ranching operations, tribal cultural values, and recreational uses. The draft proposal includes designating approximately 510,000 acres of wilderness, releasing more than 200,000 acres now under wilderness study status for recreation and other uses, and preserving almost all of the current public access.â??The draft document that the work group has presented represents more than two years of work, â??Crapo added. â??Collaborative efforts are not easy; they involve honest, fair, and full participation of interested groups. This effort speaks volumes about the character and commitment of the individuals and organizations involved. If it is successful, it will be through their dedication and the open, inclusive process they undertook from the beginning.â??Crapo said he would assist the Owyhee County commissioners and work group members in holding public review and hearings on the draft proposal. Public comments are encouraged up until May 20th when a final document could be turned over to the Senator for introduction in Congress. â??Idahoans are managing this process,â?? Crapo concluded. â??Our state needs certainty about the future, and the high degree of involvement demonstrated by Idahoans so far bodes well for this process, this working document, and our success in moving the legislation through Congress.â?? Those wishing to comment on the draft proposal can do so through an e-mail address set up by the Owyhee Board of Commissioners at owyheeinitiative@cableone.net.# # #