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Idaho Land Board denies Trident request to reconsider McCall land exchange proposal

Preserve McCall proposal map
Posted at 1:34 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 10:25:04-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Board of Land Commissioners denied Trident Holdings LLC's request to reconsider its proposal during a meeting on September 21st, 2021.

Trident Holdings LLC requested for the body that oversees the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the Board of Land Commissioners to rescind the Idaho Department of Land's rejection of its proposed land exchange. Trident also asked the board to hold a contested case hearing.

The board voted unanimously to deny both requests.

As we've reported, Trident Holdings LLC proposed a land exchange involving endowment land around Payette Lake in McCall and timberland in northern Idaho.

Endowment land differs from public land. It's state-owned land that has the purpose of making money for public schools and other beneficiaries. The Idaho Department of Lands, which manages this land, rejected Trident's proposal in August.

During the board of land commissioner's consideration of Trident's requests, Steve Strack, the Deputy Attorney General in the natural resources division, advised the board it has the right to reject a proposal at any stage.

"They could say we're not receiving any applications or they could say an application--they could take a quick look at it and say no. At that point there is no legal rights, there's no legal duty to the applicant," he said.

Alec Williams who spearheaded the proposed land exchange said he isn't sure what Trident's next steps are.

"This was a pretty disheartening result because I don't know that we could have presented any--any more clear evidence for the types of abuses that occurred in this process," he said.

As our media partners at Boise Dev reported, Trident has filed a lawsuit against the state for judicial review. Williams said he's not sure if trident will continue with the lawsuit.

According to Boise Dev, IDL valued the northern Idaho timber land at about $74 Million and the land around Payette Lake at about $366 Million. That's a disparity of more than $290 Million.

In his presentation to the board, Williams outlined several miscalculations he says IDL made in its estimate of the value of the land involved in the proposal.

IDL has said it stands by its analysis.

Another group is working to bring a proposal to IDL concerning the McCall endowment land. United Payette said it will release its proposal later this week.

"It's a combination of leases and easements that will fulfill some short-term revenue needs for the land board and provide some time to work towards permanent conservation of the entire landscape," Brian Brooks, a member of the United Payette Steering Committee said.