183,000 acres of land around Payette Lake and Little Payette Lake has received a great deal of attention over the last several months.
Now, the City of McCall is submitting a letter and all public comments they received to the Idaho Department of Lands about the land they call home.
During a land board focus group, IDL’s Dustin Miller said they want the endowment strategy to be a “win-win” for the McCall community and the endowment trust. The City of McCall seemed to find comfort from this sentiment. And this led to the letter, in which the city highlighted four things they want IDL to take into consideration.
Today is the last day that IDL is accepting public comment.
The letter to IDL
First, the city emphasized that Big Payette Lake is the sole source of their drinking water.
“It is a critical natural resource for our community that must be protected,” the letter states. “Analysis of the endowment lands within the watershed that feeds the lake should evaluate mitigation measures to protect the shoreline and riparian areas; to prevent untreated run-off and erosion impacts, and retain the maximum amount of undisturbed drainage areas with natural vegetation for low-cost treatment of run-off.”
Ultimately, the city wants plans to honor efforts by the McCall community and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to protect the water quality.
Following the city writes that Idaho State Land Board should put the development needs of “State 80” as a top priority. McCall believes that this endowment land brings opportunities for collaboration between the city and IDL to improve the housing crisis.
“This will benefit our economy, employers, families, and workers while creating economic value for the endowment fund,” the letter says.
The city is asking that IDL prioritize the use of conservation easements. Conservation easements are voluntary agreements between the government or land trusts and the landowner. The city writes that if this is done it will protect important parcels near the lake and allow recreation on those parcels while keeping state ownership.
“Allow time for local conservation groups and other stakeholders to create these easements,” the letter says. Which do provide fair market value compensation to the endowment fund and will also meet the public’s goals for access, recreation and conservation.”
Finally, the city is urging IDL to provide for stakeholder participation. The city believes that meetings such as the focus groups have been an important part of this process.