Island Park Preservation Coalition
Minutes of Meeting
February 16, 2016
The Island Park Preservation Coalition held a working group meeting on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in the EMS Building in Island Park, Idaho. The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Ken Watts, at 6:00 p.m. Twenty-seven people, including Ken Watts, Chairman, Greg Bitter, Vice Chairman, Fremont County Commissioners Stoddard, Miller and Baxter, 19 working group members, Zach Miller, Kimberley Goodman Trotter, David Weskamp, Liz Davy and one other person attended the meeting.
The Island Park Quilt Guild represented by Diane Sielinsky, Patsy Watts, Marion Conyer, and Brenda Kraus, showed the group the beautiful quilt they have made. The quilt will be raffled off to raise money for the Island Park Preservation Coalition. The quilt will be displayed at many community activities and businesses. Terry DeLong suggested that the quilt be on display at the upcoming Lincoln Day Dinner and the Madison Upper Valley Republican meeting. The drawing for the quilt will be held at the September Barn Dance.
Minutes: The January Minutes were approved as written. A couple of minor changes had been made prior to the meeting.
Financial Report: Terry DeLong reported that all of the Island Park Preservation Coalition funds are now in one account at the Bank of Idaho. The current balance is $2,998.27. Terry DeLong reported that we have the tax number from the State of Idaho and that we are awaiting approval by the IRS of our 501(c)(6) application. Terry will be able to pay bills later this week.
Website: Alynn Crapo reported that the website outline has been established and we are ready to go. The domain name can now be purchased and the Island Park Preservation Coalition can go public. Greg Bitter asked if incoming emails could be sent to 3 or 4 members of the working group. Alynn Crapo will look into this. Greg Bitter also suggested that there be partner links on the website, i.e. Henry’s Fork Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, area businesses, etc. The following businesses gave approval to have partner links with the website: Performance Motor Sports, Connie’s Restaurant and the Island Park News. Other organizations and businesses are considering the matter. There is a tab for meeting notes, research links, and contact information with mailing addresses and g-mail account for the group and a link to our facebook page. Alynn Crapo reported that there is a donate tab and donations can be made through PayPal. There is a tab about Island Park. Alynn will continue to work on that. Connie Funkhouser made a motion that we use the name islandparkpreservationcoalition.org for our website. The motion was seconded by Greg Bitter and unanimously approved.
Conservation Projects in the Island Park Area: Kathy Rinaldi of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition spoke to the Group about what her organization is working on in our area. Kathy gave us her background. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition focuses on public land and some private land. The Coalition works on conservation projects with the BLM, US Forest Service and partners with the The Nature Conservancy and other conservation organizations. The Coalition has worked on federal legislation in Montana and Wyoming. The Coalition’s Idaho program is working on conservation in the Palisades area in Wyoming and Southeast Idaho, phosphate mining in Southeast Idaho, wildlife fencing projects in Island Park, conservation of lands for wildlife connectivity, BLM planning and living with wildlife, particularly grizzlies. The Coalition has worked with ranchers on voluntary allotment retirements within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Kathy Rinaldi talked about the role of the High Divide as connective habitat between the three big ecosystems of the Crown of the Continent, Central Idaho Wildlands and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Coalition has contributed a lot of money to protect grizzly bears. They have partnered with the five forests in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to place bear-proof garbage containers in campgrounds. GYC has also helped residents. GYC has also been working with ITD and partners to help reduce conflicts with wildlife on Highway 20, GYC is also a member of the education and outreach committee for the Island Park Sustainable Fire Community. Ken Watts asked if the Coalition was working to improve habitat for wildlife. Kathy said yes they were doing so directly with restoration projects and indirectly as a partner. Mitigation for the Kilgore Gold Mine included planting white bark pine for the grizzy bear habitat, they’ve done fencing projects, which improve habitat and are working to protect the habitat on private and public lands. Other questions including GYC’s stance on logging. Kathy said it depends on the project. Grazing with respect to the protection of stream and riverbanks was also discussed.
Legislative Topics Continuation: Ellen Stantus facilitated the discussion of the remaining legislative topics. The sheets were handed in and then distributed for discussion. A comments summary page for each topic follows:
Maintain & Enhance Multiple Use
(a) Preserve multiple use as it presently exists and enhance in the future.
(b) Balance multiple use.
(c) Be specific on use.
(d) Keep current activities and accept new ones that are compatible with Act.
(e) Multiple use gives everyone the right to use the area.
(f) Much of our multiple use has been denied by designating no motorized use.
(g) Tank Traps
(i) Grizzly habitat.
(j) Reduce regulatory processes so multiple use can thrive.
Protect Private Property Rights – No Eminent Domain
(a) County Comprehensive Plan must respect private property rights.
(b) Add “without the approval of the Island Park Preservation Coalition and Fremont County Commissioners”.
(c) Eminent domain can be an excuse for a take over of the entire area and an exclusion of multiple use. -- The High Mohave Desert is now off limits to any use.
(d) Agrees private property rights but unsure of eminent domain in legislation
No Change to Water Rights
(a) Make sure water rights are protected.
(b) Southeast Idaho farmers need to be protected against losing their water rights.
(c) No unilateral change to water rights.
(d) Add “without the approval of the Island Park Preservation Coalition and the Fremont County Commissioners”.
(e) Eminent domain can be an excuse for taking over of the entire area and an exclusion of multiple use. -- The High Mohave Desert is now off limits to any use.
- What if excess water rights want to be sold?
- As I understand it, the primary rights to most water in Island Park belongs to down state owners.
(h) Prevent federal encroachment and support sovereignty of water rights.
(i) Idaho has extremely strong water rights and plans. Don’t take away the ability to change what is necessary due to new legislation because Idaho may want to change water rights.
(j) Water rights must meet beneficial use criteria to be valid.
(k) Improve water quality.
No Change to Grazing Rights
(a) Eminent domain can be an excuse for taking over of the entire area and an exclusion of multiple use. -- The High Mohave Desert is now off limits to any use.
(b) No unilateral change to grazing rights. No changes unless changes are voluntary.
(c) No changes to grazing rights as they currently exist and enhance them in the future.
(d) Enhance grasses and habitat and avoid water settlement.
(e) Traditional use heritage.
(f) Consider reestablishment of retired permits and evaluate new permit options.
(g) Very supportive of grazing. Want it to be usable.
(h) “Rights” will stir debate on federal land. Property rights are very contentious.
(a) Need to expand – access to what?
(b) Be more specific.
(c) Enhance access when balanced with resource protection.
(d) US Forest Service roads – willing to inventory and add to county road system.
(e) To better manage and protect the Targhee.
(f) More snowmobiling access – they hurt nothing.
(g) Trade for summer access – close some trails and open others.
(h) We have lost access to most area that were once open to motor vehicles.
(i) Travel to grizzly bear habitat excuse has been used to destroy our access for hunting, fishing, calving, etc.
(j) We are forced into smaller and smaller areas.
(k) Responsibly enhance access.
A Citizens Management Group Shall Participate in all Decisions Made Which Affect the Island Park Area’s Public Lands
(a) What is a Citizens Management Group?
(b) A citizens management group and Island Park Preservation Coalition shall participate in all decisions made affecting Island Park public lands and private lands.
(c) Move NRAC (“Natural Resources Advisory Council”).
(d) Needs to include definitions of what constitutes a citizens group, what is their role and authority, and what do citizens lack in interest in topic.
(e) Could add to process handling time.
(f) Absolutely, but who determines the group? Should be residents, or at least be administered by residents’ approval.
(g) No out of state.
(h) A citizens group should provide input and involvement in the discussions but there may be some decisions where this is not appropriate.
(i) Local control in water.
(j) Maybe changed to Fremont County public lands.
(k) Local control in water.
Authorization to Purchase Mineral Rights from Willing Sellers
(a) Need discussion.
(b) Ready to purchase mines -- are owners being pressured to sell their mining rights. Change to authorization of public landowners and purchase existing mineral rights existing on public lands from willing sellers.
(c) This is sticky – suggest their needs to be discussion.
(d) Operations need to be regulated.
(e) Authorization from willing party to purchase from willing seller.
(f) Sounds like IPPC is authorized and that is not the intent, is it?
(g) Analyze and inventory critical?
(h) What do we have?
(i) No new mineral rights issued – need to do an inventory.
(j) Insert “authorization to purchase mineral rights and mineral withdrawals from willing sellers”
No Changes to Existing Relationships Among Federal, State, County, City, Entities or the Relationships Among Private Entities or Public Utilities
(a) Make them better – stronger – as long as there is cooperation – public – multi use is maintained and enhanced.
(b) Unless beneficial to both parties.
(c) What is meant by this?
(d) This does not provide flexibility in the future for new innovation and collaboration.
(e) Discussion needed.
(f) Add “enhanced relationship in the future”
(g) Work together for improvement.
(h) Needs more information.
No Change That Shall Diminish, Enlarge or Modify any Right of the State of Idaho or any Political Subdivision Thereof to Exercise Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction Within the Island Park Area or of Rights to Tax Persons, Corporations, Franchises, or Property Including Mineral and Other Interests in or on Lands of Waters Within the Island Park Area
- Emphasize private property rights
- More in this definition
- I would like this but doubt if we can legally enforce it???
- How is Island Park area defined?
- What would be the unintended consequence of this?
- Support general concept, but there are a lot of questions about this language.
- Delete “enlarge” and “modify”
- Follow existing laws
- I do not understand what this means!
- We want to enhance the area in the future.
- In accordance with citizen/public participation.
- I would like this but doubt if we can legally enforce it???
- Can we do this?
- Unless it relates to endangered species that are managed by multiple state entities or the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
- I am supportive of any hunting and fishing protection and glad that Idaho has the right to hunt and fish in the Idaho Constitution.
- How do we address the Endangered Species Act?
- A citizen advisory committee of some sort is needed in Fremont County!
- Absolutely. For obvious reasons, but is it possible?
- Importance of citizen participation in the process.
- Commitment by County representative elected leaders – is this guaranteed?
- Create a local NRAC to cooperate in local planning and zoning.
- Would support an Island Park Presentation Coalition representative participating on a committee involved with the Fremont County Comprehensive Plan.
- Relating to lands within the Island Park Preservation Coalition boundaries and other land within the Island Park area.
- Many of the groups involved may need to participate as individual organizations – this coalition may be too broad for this.
- Can be done via the existing process, no trust here.
- The Island Park Preservation Coalition shall participate in all decisions made which affect the City of Island Park Comprehensive Plan and the Fremont County Comprehensive Plan.
Community Input: None
Introduction of guests:
Zach Miller, Idaho Farm Bureau and rancher – private and federal lands
Dave Weskamp, The Nature Conservancy
Kimberley Goodman Trotter, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Judy B. Koehly, Secretary