Storytelling - Idahoan Experiences

Over the past several months PELA has been contacted by many people. What has struck us most are the passionate feelings everyone has for this area. Whether they were talking about crouching under a ponderosa in the rain to watch the mergansers playing and diving in the lake, hanging out with friends on the cliffs to watch the sunset, or taking their children to see the first Spring flowers on the south facing slopes above Little Lake, all were verifying the joy in connecting to the natural world. When trying to articulate the values of these experiences it's difficult to speak in the monetary terms the state demands. You can't say listening to the song of the creek as you lay on the granite rocks above Lake Fork Creek was worth $50,000 dollars, but at that moment what that did for your heart was worth everything. Several of these stories we received are shared below.

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I grew up in McCall and specifically spent the majority of my youth recreating on those endowment lands. The cliffs are an amazing spot, they're extremely popular for locals and tourists, during the summer you will always find at least 3 cars in the parking area and always someone camping. There are already one set of cliffs that have been shut down due to private property, cliff jumping on Payette is crucial and a staple of McCall life, it MUST be kept exactly the same. The thinking spot is another staple of recreating in McCall, whether you're an avid climber there to climb one of the most friendly and fun rock walls in the area, which also brings in tons of tourists during the summer years, also the North side of Payette is one of the best spots to see moose in Valley county, I highly doubt the beautiful creatures and the people that come to see them would appreciate development of said land.  The Green Gate has always been one of the go to spots for people to enjoy the outdoors whether it be doing some off-roading in their razors to the high school kids mudding in their trucks. Also Yahoo Corals has used green gate for their horses for years. Yet another huge tourist attraction that brings REVENUE to these lands.   As for the East and West sides of the lake I think we can all confirm that that land is crucial for public recreation and some of the best territory for getting your hands on some of the best Huckleberries. Huckleberries are central to the culture of McCall and Idaho in general. Donnelly has an annual Huckleberry Festival for Christ's sake.    By: Samson L

My wife and I have lived in McCall for over 40 years and have come to rely on lands managed by Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) more and more for hunting, picking berries and gathering mushrooms as areas have been developed and closed to the public in areas like Boulder Creek, Red Ridge and along the North Fork of the Payette River.  I have harvested deer in almost the entire area proposed for land exchange and we have picked berries there and gathered mushrooms.  Our activities are compatible with IDLs logging and even sometimes enhanced.  Our activities are incompatible with any development of residences.  Therefore, we are opposed to the proposed land exchange with Trident Holdings et al.  In addition we would point out that local logging operators have been severely impacted by the loss of local mills and the reduced harvest of trees on the National Forests.  Loss of local IDL resources would further damage local logging jobs. Logging in distant northern Idaho would not support our local economy here in McCall. (portion taken from larger note) 

By: Dave and Kay B

My personal relationship with the land is that I grew up playing there, still come as much as I can to what I call 'home' even though I haven’t spent more than 3 months in a year there since I went to college, and swim, ski, hike, huckleberry, Christmas tree hunt etc on these lands.  By: Cathryn M

A fourth-generation McCall resident told us how she felt when she learned these lands might be sold or traded away: “I was so grief-stricken because this land means so much to me - this land nourished me as a child- still does as an adult - I can’t bear the thought of future generations missing out on this connection with the land, the waters, and the wildlife. Being a grandmother has opened my eyes even wider. Who is speaking for the waters, the trees, the mountains, and the animals that have no “official” voice?  I think that’s what makes me cry even more.”   By: Debbie F

I have lived in McCall, Idaho for the last 20 years. I am a mother, outdoor enthusiast and a small business owner. The state land areas located near McCall are very important to me, my family and to my business. I am sure many individuals already expressed passions to preserve the land for its vitality to well-being, to wildlife, and to the health of the lake. While I agree with all of the above, let me put additional matter on the list. My local business focuses on low impact tourism and guided bicycle tours. Public access to state land, its backroads and its natural beauty is crucial to the continuity and success of my endeavors. Swapping existing natural areas for far away timberland while developing the local land will not help my small business to succeed in any way.   By: Lida C, Pelican Cycling Adventures 

We recommend that you add Shellworth Island to this list of the most loved.  The major part of this island is available for public use.  And is it ever much loved!  This beautiful, unspoiled place is a year-round scenic attraction.  As well as the dramatic rocky shore, there are old-growth conifers and many wild flowers.  For example, there is a fairly large bed of blue camas in the center.  The rocky edges host shrubby blue penstemon and for those who walk around on the island there are, for example, miniature red monkey flowers and tiny white-blooming bitter-root plants.  The Boy Scouts make both day trips and overnight camping trips to the island.  Other groups who enjoy the island come from Camp Ida-Haven and Paradise Point.  The Girl Scouts occasionally have overnight camping on the island.   In addition visitors from all over are attracted to the island.  It is a perfect destination for kayaks, canoes and paddle boards often taking off from the public beach north of Tamarack Bay Condominiums.  Other visitors come by motor boat to this serene part of the lake. Most visitors are respectful and clean-up after themselves.  By: Lynda & Jay S