Trump signs Owyhee County boundary changes into law

Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-12 17:59:10-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump signed into law Tuesday the Natural Resources Management Act, which contains legislation authored by Idaho U.S. Senator Mike Crapo that establishes boundary changes for three wilderness areas in Owyhee County.

“The collaboration among the Shoshone-Paiute tribes, recreational groups, conservationists, ranchers, local residents, elected leaders and others is working to preserve the cultural, environmental and economic future of those who have lived in Owyhee County for generations,” said Crapo. “The changes signed into law by President Trump reflect the original intent of the members of the Owyhee Initiative -- and ensures those who have accessed public lands for generations in the Owyhees will continue to do so, while also continuing to maintain preservation measures.

Crapo called Trump’s signature on S. 47 “a major milestone,” and said he would continue to work with each of the local interests to “ensure full and complete implementation of the Owyhee Initiative laws.”

"We have spent ten years proving the validity/benefits of this collaborative effort for Owyhee County and for Idaho by a group of citizens that wanted to further the ecological, social and economic goals of the county, the state as well as the nation,” said Owyhee County rancher Chris Black. “With the passage of the Owyhee Wilderness Areas boundary modifications, the intent of the 2009 legislation has been clarified.”

The lands package includes the changes to the Owyhee wilderness area supported by area ranchers, conservationists and others involved with the Owyhee Initiative.

Crapo introduced the Owyhee Initiative Implementation Act back in 2009 to provide a legal vehicle for a consensus agreement reached by various national, regional and local stakeholders -- including state and federal agencies -- to promote cultural, economic and environmental health in southwest Idaho.

Officials say it has reduced public lands conflicts and established a path for future management of the area in Owyhee County.

(Credit: Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)