Meetings are held at Carey City Hall and all are welcome. For more information contact Trish at 578-4083.
On Tuesday, the 29th, the Pioneers Alliance held a meeting to discuss the upcoming BLM travel plan. Here is a summary of what members of the community learned during the presentation by the BLM:
The planning area includes all lands north of Highway 20 from Hill City on the west to the just past Fish Creek on the east and includes over 230,00 acres of BLM-managed public land and 660 miles of existing roads and trails. The last (and only) travel plan was developed in 1981, and so five years ago, the Blaine County Commissioners requested that the BLM initiate travel planning. They gave the BLM a travel plan with their recommendations for lands between the Little Wood to the western county boundary. Blaine County recommended that all BLM lands be designated as closed to cross-country travel except for on existing designated roads and trails.
Except for several Seasonal Closure Areas (closed Dec 1 – April 30 annually) the entire planning area is currently designated “Open”, which means off-highway vehicles (OHVs) can travel cross-country anywhere. The planning area will be evaluated to consider and identify areas as ‘‘Open,’’ ‘‘Limited to Designated Routes,’’ or ‘‘Closed’’ to OHV use. A‘‘Limited to Designated Routes’’ designation would result in motorized and possibly mechanized vehicles being limited to designated roads and trails, while a ‘‘Closed’’ designation precludes OHV travel altogether.
There are 3 types of routes that will be designated: “Roads” (there are very few of these in the planning area; these are generally constructed and maintained by BLM), “primitive roads” (these are not constructed and usually driven-in and not maintained; most of the roads in the planning area are primitive), and “trails” (can be motorized, non-motorized, or non-mechanized (foot and horse only)).
The Plan will inform where the community can access public land and prioritize where the BLM may want to acquire easements over private land to ensure public access.
The BLM is currently planning to host four public meetings, likely in late May 2011, in Fairfield, Hailey, Carey and Twin Falls. The entire effort will take about 18 months, including scoping, developing alternatives, and both a draft EIS and the final EIS. We’ll keep you updated on when and where these meetings will take place as they are announced.
On March 15, Ben Alexander, of Headwaters Economics, presented the initial findings for Ideas for Economic Recovery: Carey, Idaho, to the Carey City Council and interested public. This study has been conducted by Ben and Carey community members and was supported through the Pioneers Alliance. The study included a review of recent economic trends and issues facing the community, and was largely based on interviews with community leaders, local business people and local residents.
The interviews and discussion sessions helped identify several major economic challenges such as “old guard mentality”; unaccommodating attitude toward business; bedroom community characteristics; lack of opportunities and services; and an uninviting main street. The opportunities identified by the project included the potential for creating a positive and problem solving atmosphere; being more business friendly; town beautification; capitalization on location and much more.
Those at the meeting were eager to continue to work to create a strategic plan and specific goals. A meeting to continue the discussion is scheduled on March 29th at 7:45 p.m. following the BLM Travel Plan meeting at Carey City Hall.
The Shoshone Field Office of the BLM has announced they intend to prepare a new Travel Management Plan for lands north of Highway 20 outside of Carey and has begun a public scoping process soliciting comments from the public on the process. The planning area consists of over 230,00 acres of BLM-managed public land, including 660 miles of existing roads and trails lying north of Highway 20. Boundaries include Chimney Creek on the west and Craters of the Moon National Monument and Fish Creek on the east.
The current plan designates the majority of the planning area as ‘‘Open” to off-highway vehicles (OHV), meaning OHVs can travel cross-country. The planning area will be evaluated to consider and identify areas as ‘‘Open,’’ ‘‘Limited to Designated Routes,’’ or ‘‘Closed’’ to OHV use. A ‘‘Limited to Designated Routes’’ designation would result in motorized and possibly mechanized vehicles being limited to designated roads and trails, while a ‘‘Closed’’ designation precludes OHV travel altogether.
The travel management plan will also make decisions regarding future facilities, such as parking areas and trailheads and future trail construction corridors on public land. If you are interested in any of these issues, please attend the informational meeting at 7 p.m. on March 29, 2011 at the Carey City Hall to learn more from the Shoshone BLM about the process.
On Monday, November 29th, members of the Pioneers Alliance spoke at the Blaine County Commissioners and the Carey City Council Joint Meeting. Mark Davidson, of The Nature Conservancy, Keri York, of the Wood River Land Trust and Mike Stevens, of Pioneer Mountain Group provided a briefing on recent activity for the Alliance. They also informed the group that Ben Alexander, of Headwaters Economics, is launching an economic assessment of Carey. Ben has already met with city leaders and locals to shape the direction of his assessment. The Alliance is eager to see the result of this work.
There will be a special joint meeting between the Blaine County Commissioners and the Carey City Council on Monday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Carey City Hall. Mike Stevens will be providing an update on the Pioneers Alliance. Below is the full agenda for the meeting:
• PUBLIC COMMENT
• County Weeds Update – John Cenarrusa, Blaine County Weeds Department Manager
• County Roads Update – Char Nelson, Blaine County Operations Manager
• General Update – JoLynn Drage, Blaine County Clerk
• County Fair Board Update – Kyle Green, Blaine County Fair Board Chairman
• Land, Water and Wildlife Program – Jeff Adams, Blaine County Regional Planner
• Replacement Airport Project Update – Rick Baird, Friedman Memorial Airport Manager
• Pioneers Alliance Update – Mike Stevens, Lava Lake Land and Livestock President
• Carey Area Economic Development Activities Update
• Carey Area Recycling
On Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m., there will be a special joint meeting between the Blaine County Commissioners and the Carey City Council at Carey City Hall. Here is the agenda:
- PUBLIC COMMENT
- County Roads Update – Char Nelson, Blaine County Operations Manager
- Elections Update – JoLynn Drage, Blaine County Clerk
- County Fair Board Update – Kyle Green, Blaine County Fair Board Chairman
- County Weeds update – John Cenarrusa, Blaine County Weeds Department Manager
- Land, Water and Wildlife Program – Jeff Adams, Blaine County Regional Planner
- Replacement Airport Project Update – Rick Baird, Friedman Memorial Airport Manager
- Pioneers Alliance Update – Mike Stevens, Lava Lake Land and Livestock President
- Carey Area Economic Development Activities Update
Last Wednesday, a group of Carey landowners met for discussion and lamb stew with Tom McFarland and Merrill Beyler, two ranchers from the Salmon-Lemhi region. Tom, a third generation cattle rancher from Salmon, was the first to speak. Tom and his brothers were looking to expand their ranch property and knew that they wanted to leave the land in better shape than they had found it. Tom attended early meetings of Salmon Valley Stewardship, which focused on the joint goals of staying sustainable, promoting conservation and helping family ranchers. Tom eventually decided to form the Lemhi Regional Land Trust, a local land trust that ranchers could identify with. In 2009, Tom did an easement on his property, through the Lemhi Regional Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy, and said that the process has had a huge positive effect on his ranch.
Merrill next spoke about his land in Leadore. He spoke proudly of his cattle ranch, which runs along the Lemhi River, where salmon spawn. Merrill was really a pioneer in putting together conservation projects on his property. In 1991, he set up a fencing project to improve salmon habitat and for the past 15 years, has avoided grazing riparian pasture during the spawning season. Merrill talked about his love of small communities and desire to sustain this disappearing part of the American landscape. As he said, “agriculture is what sustains these small communities.” To protect his working ranch, he decided to place an easement on his property, and said that “it’s been good for us, our land, and our community.”
Both ranchers answered questions about the specific programs they went through, the challenges of setting up an easement and the long term benefits. Tom and Merrill emphasized that the easement process can be challenging, but in the end both parties need to focus on their shared goals of ensuring that working farms remain working farms now and into the future. Tom summed it up well in saying, “I can have a significant positive influence for a very long time.”
On Thursday, May 27th, the Pioneers Alliance will be hosting a field tour. The group will meet at the BLM fire station in Carey at 10:00 am and then will have a chance to get out in the landscape. The Alliance has invited two guests, Joe Hinson and Ted Toombs to join the discussion. Joe has extensive experience working in Idaho with ranchers and farmers on public lands management, sage grouse, and the Endangered Species Act. Ted has worked with ranchers and the NRCS, and is currently coordinating a major rancher-led, NRCS-funded effort in Montana to address rangeland management and conservation issues. We have a full agenda for the field tour in this month’s newsletter – read it here.
The Pioneers Alliance is a cooperative effort by ranchers, local residents, conservationists and public lands managers to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural values of the Pioneer Mountains and Craters of the Moon landscape of south-central Idaho.
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