BOISE - A weekend rally in support of keeping Idaho’s public lands under federal management drew an estimated 3,000 people at the Idaho Statehouse rotunda and the Statehouse steps on Saturday.
At least 60 percent of the land in Idaho is run by the federal government, including the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.
Brad Brooks, public lands director for the Wilderness Society said that public lands define our state. "We have freedom and access,” he said “We're incredibly fortunate. We are the luckiest people in America. We have a massive playground in our backyard. It’s where I take my daughter camping, I take her fishing on public lands. If we didn’t have our public lands, Idaho would look much different and our lifestyle would look much different.”
The Idaho Farm Bureau supports transferring lands from federal to state control:
“We think that the state can do a much better job. We want to caution that we’re not in favor of privatizing the land. No one on our side is saying take access away. We’re all from Idaho,” said John Thompson, director of public relations for the Idaho Farm Bureau. “We support the right to hunt and fish and do all those things people love to do. We don’t want to limit that. We think that these environmental groups that have stirred this up are supporting that position; we think that’s wrong.”