Spotlight on public lands: Clearwater Basin

There’s a widely forgotten yet blatantly obvious truth about public lands and that is primarily that they are public.

They belong as much to you as they do to me.

It’s a genius idea when you think about it, one that stems from the very fabric this country was built on, a notion that some natural resources, and I’m not talking oil or gas or coal or timber, but fundamental natural resources – mountain streams, fresh air, wild game – belong to all of us, that we should all be collectively involved in their management, and more importantly, their care.

We are their caretakers.

And doesn’t that make you feel a little better on a Monday that there’s a place you can show up to just about any time; take a walk, listen to some birds, watch some wildlife, catch some fish, hunt some elk? How wonderful it is to be part of such an innovative thought.

Sure, we could look at the flip side of the coin, talk about the woes of our collective trust of lands. But leave that for another week.

This Saturday marks National Public Lands Day. And so, this week, we celebrate.

What better way than to look at one of the best examples of a community finding value in public lands as they have in the Clearwater Basin of Idaho.

The Clearwater Basin is this country’s largest complex of wild lands. It’s a place any hunter or angler can find value with, however, in the Clearwater, that value extends far beyond sportsmen and women.

After years of contention, the community came together to form the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, a group made up of conservationists, industry, governmental representatives as well as social and economic interests. In short, it is a group trying to make the best decisions for the area, not just based on the fishing, or the hunting or the timber. They’re working together to find the best balance possible, something that keeps communities ticking, keeps the economy afloat and keeps hunters, hikers, horseback riders and anglers in the field. Plus all the other users.

In short, it’s not easy work. No decision is made lightly. Nor should it be when you’re dealing with land that belongs to everyone. But that’s part of the value of public lands.

Join us this week as we take a look at some more of those places – pieces of our collective notion that some things are important enough for everyone to hang on to.

Comments

 
said on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

This land is your land--thanks for the reminder of the importance of public lands to our outdoors heritage. Easy to take it for granted.  

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said on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Thanks Shauna, I cracked a huge, appreciative smile when I read "fundamental natural resources – mountain streams, fresh air, wild game", what a wonderful value.

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said on Monday, September 23rd, 2013

A genius idea, indeed. Well said, Shauna. I'll be outside this Saturday to celebrate -- but I'm not saying where, because one of the highest values of our public lands is that you can still get lost in them (in every sense of the word) while fishing or stalking game or even if you simply wander away from your truck... and I don't want to be found too quickly if I manage the feat this weekend.

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