The following article appeared in the Idaho Mountain Express,
Ketchum, Idaho, April 27, 2005.
Blaine County holds open house today on land transfers
By GREG STAHL
Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer
As part of the federal land that could be doled out in Rep. Mike Simpson's
Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act to establish a
Boulder-White Cloud wilderness area, up to nine properties totaling more
than 500 acres could be transferred into Blaine County's ownership.
Blaine County commissioners, however, want to know what local residents
think about the properties they have highlighted for possible transfers.
They will host the third of three open house meetings today from 5:30 p.m.
to 7 p.m.
"It's part of the community involvement," said Commission Chair Sarah
Michael. "It's important that residents be involved in the decision making
Michael planted the seeds for the possible land grants to Blaine County
and, along with her fellow commissioners, submitted a list of 10 federally
owned land parcels to Simpson's office last summer. In the last several
months, the initial list was reduced to nine.
"I feel that Blaine County does have land needs," Michael said. "When
Custer County was getting a share of the bill, I thought it would be
useful for us to identify some of our specific needs we knew were out
As part of Simpson's wilderness bill, a half-dozen properties are
earmarked for transfers to Custer County and several of its communities.
Many residents there have long lamented the large amount of public land
ownership within the county's borders.
According to a summary of Blaine County's public-land wish list, various
properties would be used for a fire station, well, recreation access,
riparian restoration, solid-waste transfer station and recycling center,
gravel pits, future growth and infrastructure or amenities near a new
The largest block includes 160 acres south of Magic Reservoir that would
be "near a possible Blaine County airport site." The county would hold the
property "for future growth and infrastructure needs."
The most specific land requests Michael made included:
102 acres in Ohio Gulch that would be used for a new solid-waste transfer
station and recycling center.
Two acres in Smiley Creek that would be used for a new fire station.
One acre on Eagle Creek Road that would be used for an expanded
turn-around for school buses.
Michael also asked for 11 acres in Oregon Gulch that would be used for
"improved and safer access, increased recreational use of Oregon Gulch and
riparian restoration and noxious-weed treatment in exchange for an
opportunity to improve the infrastructure of the trailer park."
Near Glendale Road, 120 acres would be used for gravel pits. Near Triumph,
approximately 35 acres would be used for "future growth and infrastructure
Another 40 acres were targeted along Croy Creek Road, and .47 acres are
targeted in Smiley Creek for a new city well.