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Forest Service May Scale Back Large Idaho Land Swap

Doug Nadvornick
08/05/2010

The Forest Service says it may reduce the scope of an unusually large and complicated land exchange in Idaho. The agency says backlash from the proposal and a lack of money may force it to slow down.

TRANSCRIPT

The Forest Service initially proposed trading dozens of federal parcels, 28,000 acres all over Idaho, for 40,000 acres now owned by Western Pacific Timber. Much of the private land is in the mountains near the Idaho–Montana border. It's considered valuable wildlife habitat.

But many near Moscow, Idaho have complained they would lose access to treasured recreation land.

Now, the Forest Service says it may reduce the amount of land it would trade by a third. Planner Teresa Trulock says the agency would also look to buy more of the private land.

Teresa Trulock: "We would be staging the acquisition over several years, instead of all at once."

But the proposal doesn't satisfy Kathy Judson from the group Friends of the Palouse Ranger District. She believes the trade heavily favors the private company. She says it would get plenty of pristine parcels and give up lots of logged land that needs to be rehabilitated.

Kathy Judson: "This could cost the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars that they do not have."

The Forest Service says it's still studying the swap and will formally release its analysis in October.

I'm Doug Nadvornick reporting.

© Copyright 2010, Northwest News Network

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