Debate continues over Lochsa land swap

Posted at 8:43 AM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 10:43:05-05

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) -- Officials are considering a controversial proposal to swap federal land for private timberland in the upper Lochsa River basin.

The Lewiston Tribune reported Republican Sen. Jim Risch is holding a meeting in Grangeville Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

Under the proposed legislation, Western Pacific Timber Co. would offer 39,000 acres of land in the upper Lochsa River basin in exchange for U.S. Forest Service land of similar value.

Most of the federal land would come from Idaho County, near Grangeville. The land is a popular area for hunting and other outdoor activities.

Federal officials say acquiring the private land would allow for protection of important fish and wildlife habitat. But opponents of the trade, which has been debated for eight years, don't want to lose access to public land.