Today's youth are tomorrow's conservationists. Our efforts and actions today to preserve these endowment lands for perpetuity will need carried forward by the next generation, then the next generation after them.
Provided below are speeches that several McCall area students made at the March 2021 Land Board meeting about the future of the McCall area endowment lands. These students took the time and energy to prepare these comments regarding the future of these lands. They have provided permission to use these, and the audio and written text are provided.
Preserve Idaho Endowment Lands for Future Generations
Thank you. My name is Camas Alexander and I am currently a junior at McCall-Donnelly High School. Growing up in McCall, I have always been attracted to the outdoors. My family and I would always go on adventures, whether that be skiing, hiking, or mountain biking. We have explored many of the areas that surround McCall. As I have most recently learned, many of these areas are endowment lands. As an outdoor recreationist and environmentalist, it is important to me that these lands and the surrounding ecosystems are preserved for my generation, and for generations to come. These lands, along with good public schools, are necessary for the long-term benefit of the local community.
In Article IX Section 8 of the Idaho State Constitution, it requires that endowment lands be managed to maximize long-term monetary gains, largely to support public schools and other beneficiaries. However, this policy focuses only on economic returns, and is not fully aligned with the demands of the public or the needs of the environment. Solutions have been found to this problem such as in Colorado, where the state constitution was amended to not only consider the financial aspect of the endowment lands, but also wildlife habitat, the beauty of the land, and other natural values.
A large portion of the financial returns demanded of endowment lands are meant to support public schools, however, their contributions aren’t enough. For example, in 2020, the public school system received around 52.5 million dollars, which only accounted for a mere 2.5% of what the state of Idaho spends annually on schools. If the goal of forming residential developments on the small area of the Payette Endowment lands is to provide mor long-term funding for public schools, then more effective sources of funding should be found, such as passing annual levies or increasing the cost of State Parks and Rec passes. This would prevent the sale of these precious lands to private investors that aren’t in the best interests of the general public.
Take these points into consideration when reviewing the case of the Payette Endowment Lands. Whatever the final decision may be, it will affect the lives of many generations to come.
Good morning. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share. My name is Anika Cramblet and I'm a junior from McCall- Donnelly High School.
I have lived in McCall my entire life and try to spend as much of my time outside as possible. One of my favorite adventures was this winter when a few of my friends and I went cross- country skiing, just before sunset, climbed up to thinking spot, lit a small fire, and gazed off into the atmosphere. The stars were transcendent and a wave of appreciation for this hidden gem state I get to call home washed over me. With that feeling in mind I will push for slower, more considerate development of our land for as long as possible.
Some of my concerns for the Payette Endowment Lands Strategy involve the ecological capacities of the land due to how quickly this plan is being pushed through.
The environment should be the foundation of the Endowment Land Plan. Environmental degradation will take place if this plan passes to quickly, and if it does not address the environment’s priceless assets. Undeveloped land is encroached upon daily and without a sturdy plan to protect it, nature will soon wither away.
When driving through McCall there are many deer inhabiting the space with us. They’re mangled, depressed, and confused. Rapid development will continue to harm their way of life, and wildlife deserve to freely use the land. Solidifying a more comprehensive plan will immensely aid the ecosystems and wildlife in Idaho.
My name is Stanley Johnson, I am a future beneficiary to the McCall endowment lands. The lands surrounding Payette lake have been adored for a hundred years. Its vast areas are open to recreational enthusiasts, and have been used by Hunters, Anglers, Climbers, Mountain Bikers, and Skiers alike. The swaths of land around the lake are instrumental to the feel of the town of McCall, and it is a crucial reason why many businesses stay open, and tourists come to McCall. This in turn makes property values dependent on the McCall endowment lands. But the area surrounding the lake and the lake's watershed will be destroyed if they were ever to be sold or traded, therefore I reject the Payette endowment lands strategy.
Companies like Trident Holdings are “for profit” developers. They threaten to litigate to force the Land Board to swap these lands for revenue producing timber land. Trident fails to recognize the words “protect” and “financial return” by failing to recognize the strain such a large scale development will put on the county and city. Once seasonal roads will now require the purchase of more snow plows and increased yearlong maintenance, something that streets in already highly residential areas barely get.
Over the past decade Payette Lakes have seen an increase in pollutants and algae blooms in the water. Through stringent mitigation we have kept pollutants like phosphorus and nitrogen down. But with an increase of homes surrounding the north side of the lake, algae blooms will affect the city of McCall, farmers that rely on the Payette River, and livestock owners, whose animals will drink water with toxic amounts of algae and ultimately die.
I respectfully ask the board to consider the residents of McCall and the State of Idaho and our visitors, who love to ski, bike, hunt, fish, and climb on the lands that Trident Holdings’ Alec Williams has proposed to trade for a short term timber sale and then personally make millions selling off our land to wealthy investors forever. I ask the board to consider the future memories that will be made through recreational activity. And I also ask the board to consider the long term, disastrous effects that this land swap will have.
Good moring Everyone, my name is Beryn Value I am 17. I go to McCall-Donnelly High School and I have lived in valley county my whole life.
I can’t count the number of times I have been out to little lake and hiked or camped, gone to the thinking spot and rock climbed or just enjoyed the scenery, biked Payette lake trail with my mom, or jumped off the cliffs into Payette lake with friends. All of these spots I frequently go to after school in the spring, or on a fun summer day are in the 5,478 acres of endowment land. This land goes to the endowment beneficiaries, and I am one of those. I oppose selling or trading the endowment lands and I believe the Payette Endowment Lands Strategy focuses to much on financial gain and not enough on long term effects.
If the endowment land is traded for development Idaho will gain logging land and with that funding for schools. This profit will help Idaho in the short term, but development of McCall around Payette lake could possibly cost Idaho more money. Development will remove the buffer from the watershed causing Payette lakes water quality to degrade and creating a public health issue. Payette lake is the sole water source for the City of McCall, and if the water source is polluted then there will be a significant cost to find a new water source. More funding for schools now wont be beneficial if the wild life and nature surrounding Payette lake and Payette lake itself are degraded and lessened.
When I come back to McCall with my children I want them to see little lake, the thinking sport, and the cliffs in their full natural beauty, I want them to swim in a clean Payette lake, and I want them to safely drink water from the sink. For these reasons I oppose the Payette Endowment Lands Strategy.