Idaho mapping project helps to identify valued hunting and fishing destinations

Posted at 5:43 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 19:48:08-04

There are more than 400,000 anglers and hunters in the state making up a 1.5 billion dollar industry. But many hunters and anglers feel their voices are not being heard. A mapping project is hoping to change that. 

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership went to 20 different meetings around the state and asked hunters and anglers to take part in the mapping project. 

"The idea was to ask hunters and anglers what they liked, the places they liked to go, and the places they found special," said Rob Thornberry with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

All of the information was then placed on maps, which they say will help them when it comes time for federal land agencies to make their master plans for land use. 

"Those plans set how they log, how they mine, how they build roads, and how they close roads," explained Thornberry.

Thornberry said in the past during that process hunters and anglers haven't had a very loud voice, and when they have it has been anecdotal. Now, the maps take it from anecdotal to actual data.

"We can show them, look, this is what hunters and anglers think of this area. When you are planning it, if you are planning a mine or a road or logging, what we are asking them to do is take hunters and anglers into account," said Thornberry.

The maps reveals wintering areas, migration routes, spawning areas and other critical habitats which they said are imperative to the protection of wildlife. 

"Although it's easy to look at a hunter putting his harvest into the back of his truck and say 'hey, there is one less animal on the mountain,' we support policies that amplify and multiply those populations across Idaho," said executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation Brian Brooks.

While they are hoping to be the voice for hunters and anglers, they know the land is multiple use, they just want to see it managed for all to enjoy. 

"It's very important for all sportsman, wildlife enthusiasts, and public land users to get involved and stay engaged so resources on our public lands, on 61 percent of land in Idaho are managed sustainably," said Brooks.