Contributed Articles

Original articles written to support opposition of the LAND GRAB that would remove over 40,000 acres of public lands in Idaho County in the Lochsa Land Exchange.

Do you have an article you would like to contribute that conveys opposition or support for the Lochsa Land Exchange as presented by Idaho County Commissioners? If yes, please send your article along with contact information to and we will post the article here.

Idaho County Recreational and Grazing Land Lost?

Here are just a few notes to consider about the recent developments concerning the Lochsa Land Exchange.

This article simply outlines a few of the concerns and beliefs attached to the inclusion of Idaho County public lands in the land swap.

There are many other impacts that have not been brought up or that perhaps you understand and can help everyone to consider.  A comment section is available at the bottom of this article.  Please feel free to share constructive comments, and add points to consider.

1.  The public land that our Idaho County Commissioners have suggested for the alternative land swap include three different multi-use areas including acres representing McComas Meadows, Earthquake Basin, Cove Road and Fish Creek, and Cow Creek on the west side of the Salmon River west of Slate Creek.

2. These public lands are the closest and most valuable timber and grazing lands, plus they represent the valuable areas where we collect firewood, hunt for wild game, horn hunting, pick berries and mushrooms, recreate, camp, ATV, snowmobile and generally improve our mental health through the beautiful outdoor opportunities and resources that are available to the citizens of Idaho County.

3.  If the Idaho County Commissioners are persuasive in this plan, our closest public lands will be strip logged.   The County will not only receive tax revenues on the land itself, but for every load of logs hauled out of the forest the county will collect tax revenues.  The commissioners are eager to get their hands on these revenues.

But what about other impacts.   Lets consider these facts:

4.  Cattle Ranchers grazing allotments will be devalued when the public land is swapped to private ownership.   If the deal goes through where the Idaho County proposed property is swapped to Western Pacific Timber,  area cattle ranchers will likely re-appraise their cattle operations.   The market value of these allotments will be worth less because the banks financed the allotments and the heads of cattle based upon the grazing on US Forest Service land.   The market places higher value on the permits held by cattle ranchers on federal land.  Its widely held that the land will be there for grazing in perpetuity.   But if the land swap deal goes through like the Idaho County Commissioners hope, Based on those new lower market values, the combined tax revenues lost in appraised cattle ranch allotments will surely lose the county a whole lot more tax revenue than the $100,000 tax revenues lost through the Lochsa Land being removed from tax rolls by itself.  Plus this proposed plan will leave a horrible legacy for generations to come when the privatizing of local public lands reverberate into impacts on the economy that cannot even be conceived at this point.

5. if the Idaho County public lands go private, surely the grazing covenants will be written into the deal.  But as soon as Western Pacific Timber strip logs the properties that are near and dear to us, they’ll sell it off in chunks to private investors who will then begin the fence their properties.   This puts grazing in jeopardy.  It was stated in a meeting with Rick Brazell, Forest Service Supervisor for the Nez Perce and Clearwater national Forest, that it is not in their jurisdiction to guarantee that any grazing permits and covenants would be honored over time.

6.  If you love to go up into the National Forest for gathering firewood, rely on the meat from hunting, enjoy recreating, camping, trail riding — just plan on a much longer drive to get your firewood, to go ATVing, to go hunting, to go camping if this proposed plan becomes a reality.   Plan to spend alot more of your hard earned money for gas to get you to the places you will need to go to get firewood and to enjoy public lands and its multi use resources.  ”The People” must take a stand against the Idaho County Commissioners making backroom deals that have everything to do with our livelihood, our food, our heat, and the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.

7.  Tourism dollars.   If our best and most scenic public lands are converted to private ownership – tourism dollars will be lost on Main Street in Grangeville.   All the closest and most valuable recreation areas will no longer exist.

8.  Cattle ranchers will struggle to be competitive in the beef markets because not only is the summer grazing land gone (which is inexpensive food to fatten the cow, since corn is no longer an affordable source to fatten the cattle) but now these cattle ranchers have to truck the cattle to other places for summer grazing, which means it costs alot more to raise and fatten a beef cow due to transportation costs, fuel, etc.   Is it possible this plan hatched by the Idaho County Commissioners will lead to the demise of cattle ranching in Idaho County?   There will still be some smaller cattle ranching, but we may look back on the cattle ranching of today in hindsight and wish that things had gone differently.

In Closing:

Western Pacific Timber is getting itchy to get the deal done.   If something doesn’t happen soon, it is said that they’ll just keep the Lochsa Land and start subdividing to sell it off to private investors.  This does put a very important water resource in jeopardy, if private land owners are in the path of streams and creeks that provide much of the drinking water to our region.   Its best that the USFS engages in the swap and that is their intention.

The top honchos at the Forest Service in Washington DC want 40,000 plus acres of Lochsa Land that Western Pacific Timber owns, and the USFS is determined to get it.   Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell is following orders to determine the best path to this end.  The Forest Service are performing their due diligence to review the various alternatives that will lead to a swap.  Most of the small parcels that the USFS have been evaluating for consideration as public land to swap to Western Pacific Timber are in the northern sections of the State of Idaho.   The Palouse Ranger District has been fighting their own battle to avoid the swap to include the Moscow Mountain area.   Idaho County Commissioners have challenged the concerned citizens of Idaho County with this swap strategy that brings us to this issue.

Idaho County Commissioners conveyed to the USFS that the Lochsa Land Exchange as it had been projected, would HARM Idaho County through lost tax revenues of $100K annually.   The swap would result in 40,000+ acres of Lochsa Land that would be converted to Federal land.   Western Pacific Timber, LLC would begin paying taxes on land they get in the deal – to other counties in Idaho.   Idaho County would no longer collect taxes on the Lochsa Land.



Western Pacific Timber Meeting Planned

Title: Western Pacific Timber Rep – Andy ?
Location: Grangeville Idaho
Description: In the Grangeville Town Meetings (Part 1), Andy, the representative who was present at the September 23rd 2011 meeting at the Idaho County Courthouse, said he would return on October 13th to conduct a public question and answer meeting from 3pm to 8pm.
Start Time: 3:00 PM
Date: 2011-10-13
End Time: 8:00 PM


Welcome to Stop the Swap

Thanks for visiting our new website.   The purpose of this site is to communicate the facts, causes and beliefs of the Lochsa Land Exchange swap that is proposed by Idaho County Commissioners to the US Forest Service.

The proposal by Idaho County Commissioners to USFS in the Lochsa Land Exchange will not only impact our local cattle ranchers permits and grazing allotments, but the swap of nearby recreational areas to Western Pacific Timber, LLC will be lost forever to the people.

Its up to you to become informed and to decide your stand on Idaho County Commissioners push to encourage the USFS exchange of our local public lands where we gather firewood, pick berries, recreate, camp, bike, hike and generally enjoy the nearby recreational opportunities that these patches of public land symbolize to “the people”.

Many acres of local public lands from McComas Meadows and Blacktail Butte, to Cove Road and Fish Creek areas, as well as tracts of land on the west side of the Salmon River near Slate Creek are to be swapped by the Idaho County Commissioners if their proposal becomes a reality.

Take action.   Stop the Swap. This LAND GRAB is an issue that threatens a legacy for future generations of Idaho County.   At the very least, take time to understand the  issues related to the Idaho County Commissioners proposed plan to USFS in the Lochsa Land Exchange.    Whether you sit back and accept the loss of public land as your fate, or you join with other fellow citizens to oppose it, you really owe it to yourself to review the facts.

This website is paid for by a group of Concerned Citizens of Idaho County who are in OPPOSITION of the Idaho County Commissioners taking on this decision on behalf of the people of Idaho County.