A win for transparency in government

Conservation Voters for Idaho (CVI) applauds the July 6 release of a map by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) depicting state endowment lands that are accessible for recreation.

The release comes in the wake of a strange and unexplained episode during the 2017 legislative session in which the Idaho House of Representatives failed to pass House Concurrent Resolution 20 (HCR 20), a bill that would have asked the IDL to produce a map showing endowment lands that are accessible for recreation.

See the map here. Read a news story about it here.

“We appreciate IDL’s leadership on this issue,” said CVI Program Director Rialin Flores. “It’s nice to see the agency move proactively on transparency, even if the Legislature couldn’t pass HCR 20 without politics getting in the way.”

The purpose of HCR 20 was to provide Idahoans a resource they could use when planning outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and ATV riding. The maps would also assist people in avoiding unintentional entry to private lands. The resolution would not have cost the state money.

CVI supported HCR 20 as a way to provide Idahoans with reasonable access to state lands while promoting government transparency.

After initially passing HCR 20 with a bipartisan vote of 43-26, the House took the unusual step of voting to reconsider, an effort led by Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy (R-Genesee). In that vote, 16 House members defected and voted to bring the resolution up for a second vote. With 46 House members now voting against HCR 20 and 23 voting in favor, the bill died.

CVI congratulates IDL for working for the benefit of Idahoans. Meanwhile, Flores said, CVI just wrapped up a large accountability program, educating voters on how their lawmakers chose to stand on the issue.

“It’s important that their constituents know how they are voting,” she said. “The people they represent want good government, not political intrigue.”

In a statement released Thursday, July 6, IDL said after HCR 20 was voted down, “Director Tom Schultz, initiated the effort to make the information available on the IDL website and through the IDFG online interactive hunt planner map.”

“There have been reports that state land management does not provide assured access for sportsman and the public,” Schultz said. “The updated map reveals a more accurate picture.”

CVI looks forward to working with the department to ensure the highest quality resources are available so that all Idahoans can plan their next outdoor adventure with their family and friends.