18. October 2017 · Comments Off on STIHL Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide · Categories: Around The Campfire

Finding the right saw for your needs doesn’t have to be a guessing game. This guide for buying a chainsaw is designed to help you better understand which STIHL chainsaws have the power and features you need for your task.

If you have specific questions about a chainsaw, such as which size guide bar to buy or how to find a direct comparison of performance between two or more models of chainsaws, visit your local STIHL Dealer for more information. They can help you with specific questions, as well as provide live demonstrations, in order to help you choose the right chainsaw.

Homeowner Saws

Homeowner Saws

STIHL chainsaws for the home combine reliable performance with great value. Like all STIHL chainsaws, they feature German engineering and advanced technology. The STIHL Quickstop® chain brake system is designed to stop the chain in a fraction of a second and can be activated by inertia in the event of kickback. STIHL chainsaws have many more features, including anti-vibration technology for enhanced comfort.

Farm / Ranch Saws

Farm / Ranch Saws

When you need a chainsaw that works for a living, choose STIHL Farm & Ranch saws. STIHL offers a variety of high-performance chainsaws that are engineered for service, day in and day out. The chainsaws in this category are ideal for a variety of uses, such as firewood cutting and storm cleanup. One thing you can be sure of – they have what it takes to get the job done.

Professional Saws

Professional Saws

When it comes to logging, farming, land clearing, tree service and big firewood cutting jobs, professionals trust STIHL. Our pro chainsaws have the reliability, power and features needed for the toughest jobs in the industry.

Battery Chainsaws

Battery Chainsaws

Part of the STIHL Lightning Battery System™, our battery-powered chainsaws bring the power you expect from STIHL, but in a portable, instant-starting package. Available in the AK and AP Series.

Electric Chainsaws

Electric Chainsaws

Plug into power and efficiency with STIHL electric chainsaws. They’re lightweight, start instantly and have an infinite run time. If you’ve got an outlet, you’ve got STIHL power.

Chainsaw Features

When you see STIHL chainsaws with letters in the model number, they indicate specific performance features. Here is a quick guide to those features so you can identify the features that better complement your needs.

E = Easy2Start™

The innovative STIHL Easy2Start™ (E) makes starting STIHL power tools easy and straight forward, without requiring a lot of effort. The secret is an additional spring between the crankshaft and the starter rope rotor. 

B = Quick Chain Adjuster (QCA)

The Quick Chain Adjuster (B) allows the user to adjust the tension of the chain without the use of tools. This allows for easy chain adjustment. 

Q = STIHL Quickstop® Plus

STIHL Quickstop® Plus braking feature (Q) is designed to engage when the operator’s right hand completely releases the rear handle, stopping the chain within one second. It works in any operating position – without requiring additional levers or handles. 

R = Wrap Handle

Saw can be used in multiple positions for felling or limbing with hands in the proper positions.

17. October 2017 · Comments Off on Four Mile Herd Management Area – North of Emmett · Categories: Around The Campfire

BLM Idaho manages six wild horse herd management areas on approximately 418 thousand acres. The combined appropriate management level for all HMAs in the state is 617 animals.The Four Mile wild horses are known to be of excellent size with good conformation and color. This is the result of the influence of released Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse studs to the herds periodically up to 1978. It is also suspected that horses bred for Cavalry Re-Mounts may have also influenced the herd. In addition to the typical colors of bay, brown, and black, the wild horses include many chestnuts, pintos, paints, roans, grays, duns, grullos, and a few Appaloosas. Population 111.

Location: About 15 miles north of Emmett, Idaho

Size: 25,806 acres

Topography/Vegetation: Rolling hills and sagebrush steppe

Wildlife: Wildlife living in the area include pronghorn, mule deer, and upland bird species.

On October 15,2017 eight members of Squaw Butte spent an almost perfect fall day exploring a small section of this HMA. Parking at 4 mile creek, we rode an eight mile loop in the south west section of the HMA. We saw a band of mustangs, but they were on a hill side a couple of miles away on the other side of a canyon which would have taken a couple of hours to cross.  Everyone indicated that they had enjoyed the day and were excited to see the horse, even if it was at a distance.

See More Pictures

15. October 2017 · Comments Off on Utah Residents Resolve to Protect their Public Lands · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events



11. October 2017 · Comments Off on New Sign Up Video · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education

Video Link

07. October 2017 · Comments Off on 2018 Calendars are now available (sold out) · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

Calendar Info    –  Contact Charles & Lorraine Chick if you have any questions about the Calendars.

05. October 2017 · Comments Off on BCH Video’s · Categories: Around The Campfire


05. October 2017 · Comments Off on Back Country Horseman of Idaho Education report – October 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

Respectfully submitted by Marybeth Conger, BCHI Education chair October 5, 2017

Back Country Horseman of Idaho (BCHI) Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator Training Expectations. Let’s re-energize LNT at the chapter level.

BCHI LNT Master Educators should successfully complete a minimum of 2 trainings and 1 public awareness workshops, for a minimum duration of five years.  BCHI does encourage LNT Master Educators to train beyond this timeframe, to include completion of LNT/Education refreshers courses as appropriate.

Examples of these annual trainings would be the LNT Train the Trainer session, and/or LNT awareness workshops. The public outreach will create and foster collaborative Leave No Trace Education trainings with agencies and organization.

Should the BCHI Master Educator conduct trainings beyond that of their chapter, The BCHI foundation should reimburse the BCHI Master Educator the prevailing BCHI mileage rate. The BCHI Master Educator will provide appropriate reimbursement documentation as required by BCHI foundation.

BCHI will continue to support statewide education efforts.

GRANTS to pay for education Items

Marybeth to develop by October month end an education template to request grants monies to cover master education tuition cost plus a jacket.

BCHI Educators List

Working to update the current list of BCHI LNT Master Educators and Trainers. So far 3 of 16 chapters have provided information. Marybeth plans to attend the Master Educator Clinic in 2018.

BCHI Education/Expansion Video

Completed and on the website. Chapters can use this at public outreach events. Who can tell me where it is on the website?  Watch Video

* A big thanks to Robbin, who continues to support BCHI education efforts even though he has moved.

BCHI website updated with relevant Education materials

Plan to start with the LNT section after completing the Master Education course in 2018. Every BCHI chapter should start to submit electronic education materials to the BCHI Education chair for inclusion.  Mb is meeting with the website coordinator this month to recommend changes. Need to make Education information on the website easier to find.

BCHI now has a co- chair- “A big thanks to Karen Kimball” and watch for more details about Idaho’s first ever Leadership Training

In 2018, I will coordinate BCHI Leadership training with Karen to have something for members at the BCHI convention. Having Karen as an Education co-chair will help to move BCHI education and this project forward.  A training template was recently created and emailed to Karen. Idea to have rotating three training modules on Sunday, so folks could attend and then head home from.  Reached out to Rob to iron out logistics. More details to come.

BCHI EC and CEC Job descriptions


Completed in 2016 and now are available to all BCHI members. All chapters received these attachments, and EC job description is on the website.  MB will email the CEC job description to our amazing website coordinator by month end.


BCHI now has a Sawyer Training coordinator


Dale Schremp, will now be handling this for the state, after he gets back from hunting!  His number is 208-448-1255 and you can email him at anchorranch@sandpoint.net.

02. October 2017 · Comments Off on Back Country Horsemen of Oregon Sawyer Certification Program · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits, Training Events

BCHO Sawyer Web page

Saw Certification Program Documents

USFS Manuals and Other Information

Work Party Documents

  • Tailgate Safety Briefing – Cover Sheet – MS Word or PDF
  • Tailgate Safety Checklist – Work Party Leader – MS Word or PDF
  • Tailgate Safety Briefing – Work Party Members – MS Word or PDF

Safety Information

Instruction Videos

02. October 2017 · Comments Off on Sawyer Information & Video’s · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits, Training Events

PPE: Do Not Pick Up a Saw without it!

How to Properly Operate and Maintain Your Chainsaw (STIHL USA)

Danger! Chain Saw Safety – Training Video

Chainsaw Chaps – Why wear them?

520-120 / 410-120 Chain Grinder Operating Instructions

Sharping you saw chains with a power grinder

Chainsaw How To – Notch and Hinge Techniques

Time to refresh your Saw Skills

BC Sawyer Training Video’s

BC Sawyer Training #1        BC Sawyer Training #2        BC Sawyer Training #3        BC Sawyer Training #4

BC Sawyer Training #5        BC Sawyer Training #6         BC Sawyer Training #7       BC Sawyer Training #8

27. September 2017 · Comments Off on Horse Humor · Categories: Around The Campfire

26. September 2017 · Comments Off on Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck Fuel Economy (Consumer Report – Sept 2017) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck Fuel Economy (Consumer Report – Sept 2017)

Every new passenger car and light-duty truck sold in the U.S. is required by federal law to have a fuel-economy estimate on the window sticker. Heavy-duty pickup trucks, however, continue to be sold without this valuable information being made available.

While light-duty pickups such as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500 dominate sales year after year, contractors and serious trailer-towers often rely on more robust rigs, so hundreds of thousands of heavy-duty trucks are sold each year.

Many truck buyers are tempted to buy heavy-duty trucks because of their powerful diesel engines. But while diesel can be more fuel-efficient than gas engines, the weight of heavy-duty trucks actually reduces their mpg.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency collects data from automakers on heavy-duty pickup truck emissions and fuel economy, it has never mandated that the results be made available to the public, largely for budgetary reasons.

To determine how the the heavy-duty trucks stack up, CR recently tested the Big Three of heavy-duty diesel trucks: the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, Ford F-250, and Ram 2500. All were equipped with four-door crew-cab bodies, turbodiesel engines, and four-wheel drive.

Nissan has tried to bridge the gap between the light-duty and heavy-duty trucks with its Titan XD (eXtra Duty)—with mixed success. CR tested the diesel-powered XD along with the three-quarter-ton diesel domestics. (Learn how CR tests fuel economy.)

What we found in our tests was that the efficiency of the diesel engines wasn’t enough to offset the added bulk of these monstrous trucks. The heavy-duty diesels achieved only 14-15 mpg, which was 1-2 mpg less than their gasoline-powered light-duty counterparts.

The extra power and brawn of the heavy-duty trucks do give them more hauling capability. But for those just looking for improved fuel efficiency from a diesel engine, it’s not worth upgrading to a heavy-duty truck. There is one exception: The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is a light-duty diesel that returned an impressive 20 mpg overall in CR’s tests.

Of course, fuel economy will vary significantly depending how you equip your truck, how much weight you haul, and whether or not you’re towing a trailer on a regular basis. Our tests were conducted without a load or trailer, so consider these best-case scenarios. Heavy-duty trucks are less affected by hefty loads, so it is possible that a heavily laden heavy-duty truck might achieve the same or better fuel economy than light-duty pickup bearing that same load.

Consumer Reports is providing fuel economy data on these heavy-duty trucks to help shoppers make an informed decision on what pickup truck they buy.

But shoppers have a right to see the results of the EPA fuel economy tests as well, as they reflect a variety of powertrains and configurations, consumer advocates say.

“Heavy-duty pickup shoppers shouldn’t be left in the dark when it comes to fuel economy,” said David Friedman, director of cars and product policy and analysis for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the EPA should get this information to consumers as soon as possible and Congress should make sure they have the funds they need to do so.”

Consumers Union believes NHTSA and EPA should make fuel economy, emissions, and expected average fuel costs for heavy-duty trucks available to consumers, both at the government’s fuel economy website, fueleconomy.gov, and through the same kind of window stickers used for light-duty pickups.

Consumers Union is calling on Congress to ensure that these agencies have the resources they need to provide this information to consumers.

Here is how each of these models did in our fuel-economy tests, followed by a summary of what we like—and don’t like—about the trucks themselves. Read about Ford, GM, Nissan, RAM 3/4 & 1 Ton Trucks

25. September 2017 · Comments Off on This Land was your land – Field & Stream · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

The future of hunting and fishing is under attack. States are trying to wrench control of public lands from the federal government in order to drill, mine, sell off, and—ultimately—steal our national sporting heritage. Here’s why public lands must remain in public hands.   Why shouldn’t states take control of federal public lands? This chart shows how states already boot sportsmen off areas they manage. No one knows the terms of future transfers, but if the past is a guide, public hunting and fishing access will be lost.  Read More

25. September 2017 · Comments Off on Idaho Humanities Council anthology on Wilderness wins award for “Idaho Book of the Year” · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Read More / Order Book

22. September 2017 · Comments Off on EquiFACS: The Equine Facial Action Coding System · Categories: Around The Campfire

Why Are Horses an Interesting Model?

Horses belong to the order Perissodactyla, and within this they are one of nine species in the family Equus. By the end of the Pleistocene era (approx. 2.5 million – 12,000 years ago) wild horses (Equus ferus) roamed across Europe, Asia and North America, and it is estimated that the domestication of horses began around 5000 years ago. However, by the middle of the twentieth century horses had become extinct in the wild, yet were thriving as a domestic species. Domestication can dramatically influence the social, cognitive, and morphological characteristics of a species, and the study of domestic species is of great interest from both welfare and evolutionary perspectives.

Horses are long-lived social animals. Feral populations have demonstrated that without domestic pressures horses would live in a society comprising of several small groups or ‘bands’ that share space and resources, and to which membership stays relatively stable over time. Bands have large, overlapping ranges so horses regularly come into contact with many other conspecifics, and inter-band dominance indicates that within the larger herd established social relationships exist. Consequently, horses show fission-fusion dynamics; a variation of the same complex social organisation that is seen in humans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and macaques, as well as elephants, spotted hyenas and many cetaceans. Group life in these societies is determined by complex, long-term social relationships that must be maintained, suggesting effective communication would be adaptive.
Horses are predominantly visual animals, with reasonable visual acuity that, at 23 cycles per degree, is better than domestic cats and dogs. While horses’ use of head and body posture in signaling has been described in observational literature, surprisingly their use of facial expressions has been largely overlooked. This is despite attempts to quantify facial expressions in horses’ close relatives, plains zebra, and reports that horses do routinely use some apparently complex facial expressions (e.g. snapping and the estrous face, which both involve pulling back the lips and flattening of the ears.

A systematic way of recording facial expressions would have a wide range of uses, with the potential to assess and improve welfare for horses, as well as enhancing our understanding of communication and cognition in this highly social species and providing insights into the effects of domestication. Questions about whether particular facial movements are associated with negative emotional states or indicative of positive experiences will be particularly important to address, and FACS provides an ideal framework for such investigations. More generally, FACS provides a framework through which species with different phylogenetic and ecological influences can be compared to investigate the functional significance and evolutionary origins of facial expressions. Read More

Video’s   Equine Facial Expressions        What is he thinking

21. September 2017 · Comments Off on Wilderness and Back Country Site Restoration Guide · Categories: Around The Campfire

This comprehensive guide focuses on restoration of small-scale impact caused by human actions in wilderness and backcountry areas. The guide’s goals are to: 1) Help practitioners develop plans that thoroughly address the question of whether site restoration is the best management action and, if so, develop a site-specific restoration plan that incorporates ecological concepts and addresses patterns of human use. 2) Provide the latest information on site-specific restoration techniques, including site preparation, soil amendments, planting, mulching, and so forth. 3) Explore the various methods of plant propagation both on and off a restoration site. 4) Provide approaches for project monitoring and documentation.

View Guide – PDF

15. September 2017 · Comments Off on BCHA-BCHI Volunteer Hours & Miles · Categories: Around The Campfire

BCHA Volunteer Hours Guide

05. September 2017 · Comments Off on SBFC Summer News Letter 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Summer 2017 Email Edition
Thank you for your support of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation. I’ve attached the summer newsletter. We’ve had a terrific season thus far, made possible by our tremendously dedicated seasonal staff, our Wilderness Ranger Interns, and all of the volunteers who came from all points across the nation (as well as locally) to dedicate their vacation time to stewarding the lands we love. We’ve got a few more projects in September and October before we close out the season.

Thank you for reading the newsletter and keeping current on the work we do. Enjoy.

Sue Webster
Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation
Communication & Membership Coordinator
RMRS – 322 E. Front St. Ste. 401
Boise, ID 83702

08. August 2017 · Comments Off on Yellow Jacket Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Horse Camping, Work Parties and Projects

Nancy Smith

Yellow Jacket trail,Cascade Idaho,was very smokey but we had a great time and saw lots of wildlife and cut lots of trees . I hope, I got my sawyers certification. We’ll see what the FS says ,,
Yippie. Some very stylish head gear worn by our members
Janelle Weeks

Some work had already been done on the Yellow Jacket Trail, however, we cleared out several downed trees and other trees and brush that will make for safer travel along the trail. It was a warm day w/ a good layer of smoke from nearby fires – which made for sweaty, smoky, dirty days…with great food and conversation from all at the end.  It was a busy weekend in the Boise National Forest; campers, motorcyclists, equine enthusiasts, bicyclists, fishermen, etc. Good to see that our work is enjoyed appropriately.  Also good to see wildlife so prevalent! We had several visits from the resident deer.

See More Pictures   /   Video

17. July 2017 · Comments Off on SBFCF – Online Project Map · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events


16. July 2017 · Comments Off on 2017 BCHI Spring Convention · Categories: Around The Campfire


Annual Report
Convention Photos
Volunteer Hours Report Summary

Foundation quarterly June 2017
BCHI Hours & Miles Summary for work done in 2016 by all chapters in the state!

From Roland Cheek


The following video covers the very beginning of Back Country Horsemen, an educational / service group of trail riding folks from across America, now with over 15,000 members in upwards of 170 clubs from the Atlantic Ocean to Pacific tidewater.

The video is available on both YouTube and Vimeo. Click the viewing
vehicle of your choice: https://youtu.be/m27V3z8Bid8 or https://vimeo.com/209591920

And check out Roland’s Books http://www.rolandcheek.com/RolandsStorefront.html

21. May 2017 · Comments Off on Very Successful Annual Yard Sale · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

12. May 2017 · Comments Off on John Hidy -BNF North Zone Trails Supervison · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

John (jhidy02@fs.fed.us ) has been our primary contact when planning trail projects and Sawyer training in the Boise National Forest for a number of years. June 8, 2017 will be his last day with the BNF, as he has accepted a job in the 4-Corners area of Colorado to be closer to his aging father. We will miss John on the forest, and wish him well at his new position.

Charlie Jarvis (North Zone Trails Forman) & Mathue Fasching (Recreation Program Manager) with be splinting John’s duties in 2017 and will serve as our points of contact on the forest.

11. May 2017 · Comments Off on BCHA News Update · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Take Action! – Voice your opinion – BCHA Alerts

National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act Signed into Law

Public Law 114-245: National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, was signed by President Obama on November 28, 2016. We did it! BCHA, our partners and “Trails bill” sponsors have brought national attention to the trail maintenance backlog on our national forests. There is much more work ahead, however, as the agency has yet to enjoy increased funding and capacity to fully realize the goals of this new law.

The National Forest Service Trail Stewardship Act of 2015 (H.R.845 S.1110). See other related news – National Forest Trail Maintenance Legislation H.R. 845 Passes House.

Back Country Horsemen of America(BCHA), The American Horse Council(AHC) , and the Wilderness Society were significantly involved in the creation and passage of this bill. This follows House passage of the bill earlier this fall. The bill, introduced by Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), would direct the Forest Service to take several actions to help address the current trail maintenance backlog that is adversely impacting all trail users on many National Forests, including equestrians.

BCHA is pleased National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act Signed into Law. The BCHA would like to thank Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) for their leadership and work to pass this bill.

The bill directs the Forest Service to develop a strategy to more effectively utilize volunteers and partners to assist in maintaining national forest trails. It will also provide outfitters and guides the ability to perform trail maintenance activities in lieu of permit fees. Additionally, the bill will address a liability issue that has discouraged some national forests from utilizing volunteers and partner organizations to help perform trail maintenance and will direct the Forest Service to identify and prioritize specific areas with the greatest need for trail maintenance in the national forest system. This bill will help improve trail maintenance without the need for additional funding.


Take Action! – Voice your opinion – BCHA Alerts

11. May 2017 · Comments Off on BCHA Volunteer Service Hours Last 20 Years! · Categories: Around The Campfire

Volunteer Service Hours

Trail work is the mainstay of our mission.  Every chapter participates in some way to help keep trails open.  For last year in 2016 we had another high year with just over 13.4 million dollars worth of volunteer dollars donated with over 341,502 volunteer hours from 31 different states. Throughout the year this included just under 11,461 stock were used while volunteering plus over 1.9 million travel miles. Thanks again to all the BCHA members who tirelessly volunteer keeping our public trails open.

Here are the number of hours and their calculated value for the work that BCHA members have done over the last 20 years. The total for 21 years is 4,773,583 hours for a total donated dollar value of $139,805,692. Wow!! Thanks BCHA Members for all your hard work.

See the Yearly Numbers

06. May 2017 · Comments Off on Tick-Borne Disease: Tremendously Tricky in Horses · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

If the sight of a tick makes your skin crawl—even if it’s not crawling on your skin— you’re not alone. That feeling is founded on more than a natural aversion to arachnids; diseases transmitted by ticks can pose a real health threat. With Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maps outlining tick ranges throughout the majority of the United States, it’s important we brush up on our understanding of tick-borne diseases. In this article we’ll take a look at the three that pose the biggest risk to horses: Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and piroplasmosis.

03. May 2017 · Comments Off on Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation Spring 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Read News Letter

11. April 2017 · Comments Off on 50 Useful Survival Tips · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping

50 Survival Tips and Tricks for the Outdoors 

25. March 2017 · Comments Off on Tail Winds – Life Flight Network Newsletter · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Tail winds Spring 2017

13. March 2017 · Comments Off on BLM – Recreation Planners · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

BLM Seeks Public Input on Travel Plan Analyses around Birds of Prey NCA

The Bureau of Land Management is preparing an environmental assessment for a travel management plan that will encompass public lands within and around Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

11. March 2017 · Comments Off on BCHA History Video · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

Watch Video

08. March 2017 · Comments Off on Back Country Hunters & Anglers · Categories: Around The Campfire



Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

A Vision for Backcountry Conservation

Our freedom to hunt and fish depends on habitat. While many of us enjoy hunting and fishing on a range of landscapes, including farm fields and reservoirs, there is something special – even magical – about hunting deep in the backcountry or fishing on a remote river.

Wilderness hunting and fishing deliver a sense of freedom, challenge and solitude that is increasingly trampled by the twin pressures of growing population and increasing technology. Many treasured fish and wildlife species – such as cutthroat trout, grizzly bear and bighorn sheep – thrive in wilderness. Others, like elk and mule deer, benefit from wilderness. From the Steens Mountain Wilderness in Oregon to the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, BHA members treasure America’s wilderness system and strive to add to it.

We take the advice of Theodore Roosevelt: “Preserve large tracts of wilderness … for the exercise of the skill of the hunter, whether or not he is a man of means.”

We are the Idaho chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a grassroots group of sportsmen and -women. We are united by a passion to protect and conserve public land forests, mountains, prairies, streams and lakes that support our hunting and angling traditions. Idaho BHA members are deeply concerned that the traditional backcountry values — solitude, quiet recreation, personal challenge, physical fitness, adventure — that make Idaho hunting and fishing so special are being compromised.

Habitat destruction, disturbances stemming from development, and abuse and overuse from irresponsible motorized recreationists are threatening the very things that we hold dear. We respect the crucial role that all species play in our diverse ecosystems and seek to ensure that species and habitat management decisions are based on sound science instead of politics. We believe that undeveloped, unspoiled public lands are irreplaceable and must be managed, along with the fish and wildlife they supports, as a sacred public trust.

Idaho BHA supports and promotes natural resource management policies based on sound scientific principles. By extension, the Idaho BHA chapter is involved in educating hunters and anglers about proposals and current policies that are unsustainable and detrimental to the landscape, wildlife populations and our ability to pass on our values and traditions to future generations.

To accomplish our objectives, the Idaho BHA membership contacts policy makers and federal resource managers, gives public testimony at stakeholder meetings and legislative hearings, communicates our views through public media, and participates in outreach activities at sportsmen shows. Some members sit on collaborative advisory boards and travel planning committees, giving BHA a seat at the table as grassroots advocates for habitat, wildlife and traditional outdoor activities.

Idaho BHA is committed to the long-term conservation of the wild, unspoiled public lands on which Idaho’s world-class game and fish resources depend. Wild, unspoiled habitat is essential to the future of traditional-values hunting and angling in our state. Together, we volunteer our time to ensure the following:

Future generations of Americans will have the same opportunities to enjoy and protect the wild public commons that we and previous generations have embraced as a national birthright.
That our public lands backcountry will continue to exist intact, with healthy ecosystems that include balanced populations of predators and prey.
Idaho BHA works hard at protecting the things we value. We also play hard. Many of us enjoy some of the most spectacular roadless areas in the lower 48; Idaho supports some of the best hunting and fishing opportunities anywhere. If this describes where you want to be, you need to be with us! To see what Idaho BHA is working on, please explore our website. If you like what you see and want to get involved, please join us!
North America’s public lands and waters are the lifeblood of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

These are the cherished wild places that restore our spirits and provide the solace of solitude. They’re where we go to challenge ourselves in pursuit of adventure and game. They are strongholds of important wildlife habitat and fisheries, providing places where a range of species – everything from elk and mule deer to grouse, waterfowl and native trout – can grow to maturity and thrive.

Every citizen owns a share of public lands and waters in the United States. It is up to us to defend this heritage and ensure that our legacy of stewardship is handed down to future generations intact. We work to maintain our longstanding sporting traditions through hard work and a focus on the following:

Habitat Conservation
Conserving Priority Landscapes
Responsible OHV Use and Management
Defending Our Public Lands Legacy

05. March 2017 · Comments Off on Idaho rally goers hope public lands stay in public hands! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events


NICOLE BLANCHARD Idaho Statesman March 4, 2017

Sean Jones wasn’t planning on bringing his elk bugle call to the public lands rally at the Idaho statehouse on Saturday. But its trumpeting sound rang out across Jefferson Street and the south steps of the capitol building in harmony with the raucous applause and cheers of the more than 2,000 Idahoans gathered in the chilly morning drizzle.

Jones, like so many other outdoor lovers, was at the rally because he’s an avid hunter, rafter and hiker. Like he does on most outdoor adventures, he brought his gear bag, an elk antler strapped to the bungee cord on the back of the pack and the triumphant-sounding elk call conveniently at hand.

“I want to have access,” said Jones, echoing a theme that dominated the rally. “I’ve seen far too many ‘no trespassing’ signs when I’m out hunting.”

Jones said he has emailed and called Idaho legislators to let them know he opposes the potential transfer of public lands to the state or private hands. He wasn’t impressed with their responses.

“Particularly Raul Labrador,” said Jones. (Rep. Labrador has led pushes for pilot programs that would give states control over federal lands.)

How did the lawmakers respond?

“The typical argument that lands are mismanaged,” said Jones. “But we know the forest managers, the BLM, the people making decisions (about Idaho lands) actually live here.”

Read More: public lands stay in public hands

02. March 2017 · Comments Off on Back Country Horsemen of Idaho – Video 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Utube URL: (https://youtu.be/zZegBv0B2cc)

This video is the work of Robbin Schindele & Marybeth Conger


22. February 2017 · Comments Off on Nearly a quarter million horses call Idaho home · Categories: Around The Campfire

Nearly a quarter million horses call Idaho home

A new report from the University of Idaho says that the state has an estimated 221,000 equines, including riding horses, draft horses, ponies, miniature horses, donkeys, mules, and others of the species.

The report is based on research carried out in 2015 by the Social Science Research Unit at the University of Idaho. It was paid for by the Idaho Horse Council and the Idaho Horse Board
The researchers said 14 percent of the households in Idaho own a horse of some type. Horse owners spent $122 million including $49 million on hay, straw and grain; $23 million for veterinary and farrier care, and $10 million in horse trailers.

Thirty-eight percent of the Idaho horses are used for pleasure riding. The rest are used for packing or hunting (19 percent), ranch or farm work (12 percent), breeding (8 percent), endurance trail riding (8 percent) showing (3 percent), rodeo (3 percent) racing (2 percent) or other.

The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed of horse in Idaho, the report said.

18. February 2017 · Comments Off on H.R.289 – GO Act (Guides and Outfitters Act) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

A bill introduced in the House in January would authorize the Federal land management agencies to require permits, and charge fees for them, for all access to “special areas.” That term would mean whatever the agency managers wanted it to mean. They could, if they so chose, declare all federal public lands to be “special areas.”

Please take a moment NOW to contact your federal elected officials and tell them you oppose the bill unless that clause is eliminated from it.

H.R.289 – GO Act  Read the complete bill here

Introduced in House (01/04/2017)
Guides and Outfitters Act or the GO Act
This bill amends the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to specify the circumstances in which the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) may: (1) issue special recreation permits for federal recreational lands and waters, and (2) charge a special recreation permit fee for them.

Interior and USDA may issue special recreation permits: for specialized individual and group use of federal facilities and federal recreational lands and waters; to recreation service providers who conduct outfitting, guiding, and other recreation services on federal recreational lands and waters; and to recreation service providers who conduct recreation or competitive events, which may involve incidental sales on federal recreational lands and waters.

Interior and USDA shall issue joint permits for the use of lands managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Interior shall publish guidelines for establishing recreation permit fees.

Revenues from special recreation permits issued to recreation service providers shall be used to: (1) offset partially Interior’s direct cost of administering permits, and (2) improve and streamline the permitting process.

When reviewing and adjusting allocations for the use of priority use permits for special uses of federal recreational lands and water managed by the Forest Service USDA shall allocate to the permit holder a prescribed amount subject to a cap. USDA and Interior shall implement a program that authorizes temporary permits for new recreational uses of federal recreational lands and waters managed by the Forest Service or the BLM, respectively.

A permit holder prohibited by a state from indemnifying the federal government shall be considered to be in compliance with Interior and USDA indemnification requirements if the permit holder carries the required minimum amount of liability insurance coverage or is self-insured for the same minimum amount.

Interior and USDA shall revise certain: special land use and special recreation permit regulations to streamline the processes for the issuance and renewal of outfitter and guide special use permits, and cost recovery fee regulations to reduce costs and minimize the burden of cost recovery on small businesses and adverse impacts of cost recovery on jobs in the outfitting and guiding industry and on rural economies.

If a holder of a special use permit for outfitting and guiding that authorizes priority use has requested renewal of the permit, USDA may grant one or more exiting permit extensions for additional items for up to five years altogether, as necessary to allow completion of the renewal process and avoid the interruption of services under the permit.

It’s essential that members of the House and Senate hear from their constituents before this bill goes any further toward being enacted. The part of Section 2 that treats general access by individuals and families as a “specialized use” must be removed.

06. February 2017 · Comments Off on Camp Maid Dutch Oven Products · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping


– Patented Grab and Hold Design Removes Dutch Oven Lid keeping coals in place & keeps it off the ground out of the dirt!

Removes lid and keeps it off the ground!
Use as a serving stand and pot holder!
Flip it over and use the lid as a skillet!
Keeps food warm
Lid lift and removal is easy, safe, and secure
Turn stand upside down for cooking on lid
Fits all dutch oven sizes 8′ 10′ 12′ 14′ 16′
Steel frame construction
Weighs only 3 lbs!
Easily stored inside of a 12′ or larger Dutch oven
Handle is designed to not get hot (when used properly)

Watch Video

03. February 2017 · Comments Off on SPOT & InReach · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

SPOT offers peace of mind by allowing you to track your assets, notify friends and family of your GPS position and status, mark waypoints, track your progress on Google Maps™ or notify rescue officials in an emergency.

The SPOT product family offers peace of mind beyond the boundaries of cellular. Whether you want to check in, make calls or monitor your prized possessions, SPOT uses 100% satellite technology to keep you connected to the people and things that matters most, all while using the world’s most modern satellite network.

Who Needs SPOT?
Anyone who travels by land, sea and air! Since its launch, SPOT’s satellite technology has provided peace of mind by helping initiate more than 4,000 rescues and counting and providing GPS tracking services. Over the past five years, recreational outdoor enthusiasts, athletes, government agency employees, National Geographic explorers and photographers, and researchers are just some of the people that have benefited from using SPOT.

Garmin products that include inReach technology can empower you to stay connected, even when you’re venturing off the grid. All inReach solutions offer you these essential capabilities:
100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage enables 2-way text messaging to any cell phone number or email address from anywhere in the world
Interactive SOS with the ability to communicate back and forth with the 24/7 global monitoring center
GPS location sharing, tracking, device pinging and access to your own personalized MapShare webpage to invite others to follow your journey
Convenient cloud-based device management portal with unlimited trip data storage, route and waypoint planning tools and account customization options
The included Earthmate® app lets you pair your inReach-enabled device with smartphones and tablets for ultra-convenient messaging and map viewing

02. February 2017 · Comments Off on Pasayten Wilderness – Washing State · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping

Over 600 miles of trails in this lightly used wilderness in Northern Washington State with many lakes and rivers teaming with trout.  Enjoy the video and start dreaming about a trip!

01. February 2017 · Comments Off on Squaw Butte Chapter of Back Country Horseman Education Report – Feb 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Squaw Butte Chapter of Back Country Horseman Education Report
Respectfully submitted by Marybeth Conger, SBBCH Education
Feb 1, 2017

Backcountry Horseman of Idaho’s Education and Recruitment (EAR) Video will be presented to BCHI BOD this March at the upcoming director’s meeting. Members will soon be able to download the EAR video from the BCHI website. All photos were taken by BCHI members. EAR video begins with BCHA, then introduces BCHI, down to the 16 BCHI chapters sowing who we are, what we do, why, with lots and lots of photos. Note- this sneak preview has a typo and is missing the “credit” page.

The Forrest Service (FS) needs to lock down the details as it pertains to the Sawyer/ Cross Cut Saw “Train the Trainer” program. Then BCHI education can determine how to implement statewide training, set trainer expectations, and support by sending 1-3 Trainers. Joe Robinson, No Central Chapter, has over 30 years’ logging/sawyer experience and agreed to work on this program with Bob Savage. A FS meeting is planned in February, MT and both Bob and Joe will attend. The initial goal is to gather details and then report back to BCHI education. Karen Kimball (PHBCH) also may attend. For now our chapter needs keep working with the local land managers.

BCHI Education is looking to develop BCHI Leadership training using the training module created by BCHW. Karen Kimball from (PHBCH) as graciously agreed to work me on this member training project. We plan to meet at the convention and discuss further. Paul McBride from PRBCH attended the BCHW 2017 Leadership Training and will be reporting to the convention. Darrell Wallace, ED for BCHW will be a great resource for BCHI too. Updating the BCHI website is still in the works. So far have received information from two of 16 chapters. Looking to receive Education information from more chapters.

Need to revitalize BCHI’s Leave No Trace (LNT) Train the Trainer program. In 2018, I plan to attend LNT Master Education Training. Then plan to visit chapters statewide who do not have access to a LNT Master Educator. May need to look at getting one more in the northern part of the state. If any chapters have folks interested, please have them contact me at education-chair@bchi.org.

BCHI will provide job descriptions, set training expectations, get an informal type of resume to support state- wide coordination.
BCHI Education was invited to participate in a BCHA subcommittee that is crafting relevant Education information for placement on the BCHA website.

01. February 2017 · Comments Off on Local Horseman Club elects new officers and appoints committee heads for 2017 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Published in Local Paper – Febuary 2017
Written by Marybeth Conger

Pictured left to right Phil Ryan- State Director, Kay Ryan- Marketing, Shannon Schantz MD – Treasurer, Marybeth Conger-Education, Charles Chick, Vice President, Loraine Chick, Calendar sales, Rob Adams- Project Coordinator, and Bill Holt, President. Officers not pictured Bill Conger- State Director, and Shelly Duff- Secretary.

The Squaw Butte Chapter of Back Country Horseman of Idaho, is dedicated to perpetuating the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s backcountry and wilderness. For more information on how to join Back country horseman, and have fun keeping trails open for all users, visit www.sbbchidaho.org

31. January 2017 · Comments Off on Ultimate Dutch Oven · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping

The History of the Ultimate Dutch Oven
Wondering how the Ultimate Dutch Oven became the affordable, high-quality Dutch oven it is today? It all started in 1991 with Dent Sorensen. Born and raised in Salina, Utah, Dent was tired of the old method of Dutch oven cooking, which necessitated sitting by the fire to watch the Dutch oven and stir the food every few minutes. He also needed an oven that wouldn’t require any oil or grease, as his wife had MS and couldn’t have that in her diet.

To solve both problems, Dent found a 15-inch tire rim, cut the lugs out, and welded a cone made out of iron, strapping it to the bottom of the tire rim. He added a fry pan, used the other half of the rim for a lid, and began experimenting with recipes. Because of the cone, his creation worked just like a convection oven – and he didn’t have to stir or use any oil! He also found that he could cook several dishes, like chicken, vegetables, and biscuits, on different layers of the same oven using very little heat. The clever little invention worked well on a stove top or as a convection oven, surprising hungry guests at every turn with its performance. Understanding that he had something special, Dent patented the oven, and the Ultimate Dutch Oven was born.

The business is now run by Dent’s three children, Craig, Eddit, and Denene Sorensen, who purchased the company in 1996. They regularly give demonstrations at retail stores and special events, earning awards and accolades along the way. The Ultimate Dutch Oven now has fans all over the country, from a catering business in Provo, Utah to a Chuck-a-Rama restaurant! Their latest adventure is a partnership with Camp Chef, the largest manufacturer of high-end outdoor cooking products in the country. With Camp Chef’s help, Ultimate Dutch Oven, Inc has been able to significantly lower the oven’s price and increase its availability, leading to one of the most powerful, affordable Dutch ovens on the market. Now, anyone can own one. Try it for yourself today!


31. January 2017 · Comments Off on 2017 National Trails Day Event Host Guide · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events


31. January 2017 · Comments Off on The January 2017 Pioneer Fire Recovery and Restoration Update is attached for your review. · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Dear Interested Party’s

To assist the Forest Service in meeting its goals of reducing our carbon footprint and to achieve a sustainable operation, we are transitioning to a web‐based electronic system that allows interested parties to receive project materials and Forest information by e‐mail. This system gives you direct control over which mailing lists you are subscribed to. It’s easy, it’s good for the environment, and it gives “on‐demand” access to Forest information and projects. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the “Subscriber Preference Page” link at the bottom of this message and following the instructions on GovDelivery.com.

For additional information regarding the attached Pioneer Fire Recovery and Restoration Update, please contact Venetia Gempler, Public Affairs Officer, by phone phone at 208-373-4105 or by email vgempler@fs.fed.us.

Pioneer Fire Recovery and Restoration Update 1-27-2017

BFC North and South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project scoping comments_draft  Feb 2017


Melissa Yenko
Boise National Forest
Forest Environmental Coordinator
1249 S. Vinnell Way, Suite 200
Boise, ID 83709
Phone: 208-373-4245
Email: myenko@fs.fed.us

The Lowman Ranger District of the Boise National Forest would like to know your concerns, questions, and suggestions regarding a proposal to mitigate threats from hazard trees, salvage merchantable dead or dying trees, decommission unauthorized routes causing resource damage, and plant tree seedlings in portions of the 2016 Pioneer Fire area. The proposal has been identified as the North Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project. The responsible official for this project and the decision is Cecilia R. Seesholtz, Forest Supervisor, for the Boise National Forest.
The project area is located on National Forest System lands on the Boise National Forest, immediately north and south of Lowman, Idaho, and about 74 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, in Boise County. Attachment 1: North Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Proposed Action includes a description of the proposed action and maps with specific locations identified. The scoping letter, attachments, and additional project information are available on the project web page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50789.

Read More: North Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation project

Below is some additional information regarding the Valley County Forest Restoration Summit.



29. January 2017 · Comments Off on Dear Chapter Presidents, State Directors and Public Liaisons · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Public Meetings

This is the draft letter of our response to the HEMINGWAY -BOULDER AND WHITE CLOUD WILDERNESS MANAGEMENT PLAN. If you have any further comments send them to me and copy Phil Ryan. If you previously sent comments to Phil put those in letter form and send to the USFS. NOTE: Your letter must include and alternate solution to your objection or they will not look at it . The comment period deadline is Jan. 31st .

The more letters the better. HB-WC Comment Letter-draft

Bob Savage
Chairman BCHI

Phil Ryan

29. January 2017 · Comments Off on 2017 National Board Meeting – Information · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

2017 National Board Meeting
Great Falls, Montana – April 20 – 22, 2017
Registration Open!

Full Registration Information:
• Full Meeting Registration ($250.00) – Includes registration packet, lunches on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, coffee and sodas, and registration to the Saturday banquet. Please note – this option does not include registration to the Thursday evening optional event.
• Thursday Evening Optional Event ($75.00) – C.M. Russell Museum and Sip N’ Dip, Includes transportation, buffet, drink tickets, & entertainment!
Partial Registration Information: (If you or your guest can only attend part(s) of the meeting, use below pricing for individual events.)
• Thursday Day ($60.00) – Includes agenda, lunch, coffee, beverages
• Thursday Evening Optional Event ($75.00) – C.M. Russell Museum and Sip N’ Dip, Includes transportation, buffet, drink tickets, & entertainment!
• Friday Day ($60.00) – Includes agenda, lunch, coffee, beverages
• Saturday Day ($60.00) – Includes agenda, lunch, coffee, beverages
• Saturday Evening Banquet ($60.00) – Includes agenda, lunch, coffee, beverages
Flight & Hotel Information:
Fly Into – Great Falls, Montana
Hotel – Holiday Inn Great Falls, 1100 5th St. South, Great Falls, MT 59405
Hotel Reservations – To reserve your room call 1-406-727-7200 – Identify yourself as an attendee of BCH meeting.

The room block expires 3/31/2017.
Important dates:

March 17 – Deadline Resolution Submissions, email to efearn@bcha.org.

April 7 – Deadline for hotel reservations and meeting registration.

We will have a consent agenda, please review the agenda and appropriate files prior to the meeting.

Potential for a Sawyer Class April 18-19
Please reply as soon as possible!

BCHA volunteers often use chain and crosscut saws to maintain the trail. To operate a chain or crosscut saw, volunteers must first be certified. BCHA will help volunteers obtain these requirements by conducting crosscut and/or chain saw certification and re-certification trainings for volunteers.

If there is enough confirmed attendees then we will be holding a class on April 18 and 19, 2017 in Great Falls, Montana. If you are seriously interested please email markahimmel@gmail.com as soon as possible to register. April 18 will be classroom, April 19 will be hands-on training. Cost for the course is complimentary.

Please Note: To be sawyer certified you must have an up to date CPR certification. If you are not currently certified there are many online courses you can take in order to get certified in time. Simply search online for “online CPR certification”.

BCHA National Dues Notice

Just a friendly reminder that dues for BCHA National are due for the 2017 year in January. This Email has been sent to all National Directors and State Contacts we have in our database. If you are not the right person to submit dues, please be sure to forward this to the appropriate person. Thank You!

Below are a few things to remember about your dues:

• Your membership dues for 2017 are calculated based on your state membership list as of 12/31/2016.
• Your National Directors will not be able to vote at the National Board Meeting unless dues are paid.
• Dues are delinquent on February 28, 2017.
Please click here for your BCHA 2017 dues form
Please send a check and a completed dues form to: 342 North Main Street, Suite 301, West Hartford, CT 06117

If you wish to stop receiving email from us, you can simply remove yourself by visiting:

Back Country Horsemen of America
342 N Main Street
Suite 301
West Hartford, Connecticut 06117

18. January 2017 · Comments Off on Thank you and BCHI education update · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

17. January 2017 · Comments Off on LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLES · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Camping with horses & mules
Marybeth Conger, BACK COUNTRY HORSEMAN OF IDAHO Education Chair


It is important to remember that LNT principles are guidelines, not rules. Consider your surroundings, local regulations, weather concerns, and your skill level when choosing the best way to Leave No Trace. Anything we do is better the nothing. Read More:BCHI LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLES ARTICLE
Please share this information with others!

12. January 2017 · Comments Off on Interactive: The 29 national monuments that Obama created or expanded while in office · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

National Monuments designated by Barack Obama

Click for Interactive Map

Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
César Chávez National Monument
San Juan Islands National Monument
Río Grande del Norte National Monument
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
First State National Historical Park
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands
Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument
San Gabriel Mountains
Honouliuli National Monument
Pullman National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Basin and Range National Monument
Mojave Trails National Monument
Sand to Snow National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
Stonewall National Monument
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
Bears Ears
Gold Butte

12. January 2017 · Comments Off on IDPR Non-Motorized 1/11 Meeting Materials · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

January 11, 2017

IDPR Non-Motorized Meeting Materials

Good Morning,

If you were unable to attend the IDPR Non-Motorized meeting last night, here is a link for you to download all of the meeting materials that were handed out. Please let me know if you have any questions.

January Meeting Handout – summit summary next steps

06. January 2017 · Comments Off on Alert January 2017 – House Vote on Public Lands · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

The U.S. House of Representatives just made it easier for the government to sell or give away national parks, national forests, and other public lands.

A new rule, written by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), establishes as fact that any legislation to dispose of public lands and natural resources would cost taxpayers exactly $0. This paves the way for the new Congress to get rid of vast swaths of public lands — all at the expense of the American taxpayer.
Under Congressional Budget Office accounting rules, the House is required to account for the cost of any legislation it considers. Now, the House does not need to even estimate any financial losses from giving away public land. Bills to dispose of public land will skip several steps in the normal legislative process, coming up for a vote without any discussion of the costs and benefits. The House approved the rules change by a vote of 234 to 193 on Tuesday.

Since the move applies only to House rules, it is not subject to approval by the Senate or a presidential signature. It is effective immediately.

“The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said in a statement just prior to the vote. “This proposed rule change would make it easier to implement this plan by allowing the Congress to give away every single piece of property we own, for free, and pretend we have lost nothing of any value. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, but it is also a flagrant attack on places and resources valued and beloved by the American people.”

The procedural shortcut appears to apply equally to all types of public land. For example, national parks from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, as well as federal buildings such as the Pentagon, could all be given away without consideration of the cost to American taxpayers.

The idea to dispose of public lands reflects the alliance between anti-government extremists, led by Cliven Bundy, and members of the anti-parks caucus, who don’t acknowledge the federal government’s authority over national public lands. Instead, these groups want to see public lands given to the states. In reality, states would likely be unable to shoulder the burden of managing these lands — from fighting wildfire to cleaning up abandoned mines — and would ultimately sell them to private interests.

The House rules change was met with sharp criticism from conservation and watchdog groups.
“Less than one day in and Congressional Republicans are already greasing the skids to give away or sell off America’s public lands, forests, and wildlife refuges,” Jen Rokala, executive director for the Center for Western Priorities, said in a statement. “What’s worse, politicians are using smoke and mirrors to hide the cost of stealing away our public lands, while ripping off American taxpayers in the process.”

More than 90 percent of voters in Nevada, Colorado, and Montana believe public lands are an essential part of their state’s economy, according to polling by Rokala’s group. In addition, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has found that oil and gas drilling on public lands is one of the federal government’s largest sources of non-tax revenue.

Moreover, the Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor recreation, which largely takes place on public lands, is responsible for a $646-billion industry that supports 6.1 million direct jobs.

As recently as four weeks ago, Congress acknowledged the importance of the outdoor recreation economy. Both the House and Senate unanimously passed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act (the Outdoor REC Act), which directs the Department of Commerce to measure the value of outdoor recreation economy.

But Tuesday’s vote asserts that public lands have absolutely no value to the American public — discounting the very economic driver the Outdoor REC Act aims to measure.

Both President-elect Trump and his Interior Secretary nominee, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) have been vocal opponents of selling off America’s public lands. Zinke resigned from the GOP platform-writing committee last summer after it included language supporting the disposal of public lands. However, Zinke voted in favor of the rules change that would streamline public land disposal.

It remains unclear where he will stand on this issue if confirmed as Interior Secretary. A date for Zinke’s confirmation hearing has not been set.

House Republicans including Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke voted Tuesday night to overturn a rule requiring Congress to calculate the value of federal land before transferring it to states or other entities, removing a significant barrier to limit lawmakers from ceding federal control of public lands.

The provision, part of a larger rules package that passed by a vote of 233 to 190, dictates that transfers of federal land should be treated as having no cost to the federal government, therefore requiring no budgetary offset, even if the parcels generate revenue for the U.S. Treasury through logging or energy extraction.

Currently, the Congressional Budget Office provides “scorekeeping” estimates to measure the costs of proposed public land transfers by evaluating the economic impacts of existing uses.

The new rule, introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, overturns that requirement, stating that “authorizing a conveyance of Federal land to a State, local government, or tribal entity shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending, or increasing outlays.”

While the idea of transferring federal public land to the states has figured prominently into the GOP platform because it returns management authority to surrounding communities, opponents caution that states without the resources to manage broad swaths of federal land would be forced to sell it off to developers.

“This proposal is outrageous and absurd,” according to an internal memo circulated to Democratic House members by the Natural Resources Committee and obtained by the Beacon. “This is fiscally irresponsible, not to mention a flagrant attack on places and resources valued and beloved by the American people. This proposal would allow the federal government to give away every single piece of property it owns, for free, and pretend we have lost nothing of any value.”

There are more than 27 million acres of federal land in Montana, encompassing about 29 percent of the state. The Forest Service oversees 17 million acres, mostly in Western Montana.

Zinke, Montana’s lone congressman, was recently tapped by President-elect Donald Trump as the nation’s next Interior Secretary and has opposed transferring management of federal lands to states’ control, even quitting his post as a member of the GOP platform-writing committee after the group included language that would have made transferring federal land ownership to the states a priority.

He characterizes himself as a “Teddy Roosevelt” Republican and made his commitment to preserving America’s public lands a centerpiece in his recent campaign for re-election.

“I was extremely surprised by Ryan Zinke’s vote in support of this rule change,” Brad Brooks of The Wilderness Society said. “This rule greases the skids by removing the biggest obstacle preventing the transfer of public lands. Talk is cheap and votes matter, and this vote really mattered.”

Trump has also stated he opposes the transfer of public lands, telling Field and Stream magazine last year, saying “I don’t like the idea.”

“You don’t know what the state is going to do,” Trump told Field and Stream. “I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Zinke’s vote in favor of the new rule prompted immediate backlash from the local conservation and outdoor recreation communities, whose advocates called it an about-face.

“This is an absolute affront to Montana’s way of life and to the millions of Americans who hike, hunt, fish, and camp on public lands,” said Brian Sybert, executive director of Montana Wilderness Association. “It’s especially troubling that Rep. Zinke, a self-proclaimed Roosevelt conservationist and possibly our next Interior secretary, voted for this measure, because this is a major attack on Roosevelt’s legacy.”

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers decried the measure and strongly criticized House members who voted in support of it.

“As the 115th Congress enters its first week, some of our elected officials are wasting no time in paving the way to steal our outdoor heritage,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Buried in a litany of other measures is language inserted by Congressman Bishop that would make it easier to give away America’s public lands. For sportsmen, this provision sticks out like a sore thumb. If it’s a fight they want, they’ve got one coming – and I’m betting on public lands hunters and anglers.”

When pressed for comment about his vote to ease the transfer of public lands, Zinke’s communications director Heather Swift stated in an email, “Ryan Zinke’s position has not changed.”

The primary impact of the rules change is that it inhibits lawmakers from raising a budgetary point of order if a land transfer bill lands on the floor. Under current House rules, any measure that costs the U.S. Treasury money must be offset by budget cuts or another provision to replace lost revenue.

Marne Hayes, executive director of Business for Montana’s Outdoors, joined in criticizing the House vote.

“The U.S. House just voted to make it easier to give away one of Montana’s prized business assets. We are sounding the alarm that this legislation will directly impact Montana businesses because it threatens our public lands,” Hayes said. “While Montana Representative Ryan Zinke voted for the package, we hope that in his new role as Interior Secretary, he will stand firm against future threats to Montana jobs and our outdoor way of life.”

Following the House vote, both U.S. senators from Montana stated their continued opposition to transferring federal lands to the states.

“I continue to strongly oppose the transfer of federal lands to the states while fighting to improve the management of those lands,” Republican Sen. Steve Daines stated.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester issued the following statement:

“This vote by the House is an underhanded assault on Montana’s outdoor economy, our hunting heritage, and our way of life. Public lands belong to all Americans and Congress should be safeguarding them, not clearing the way to auction them off to the highest bidder. I ask all those who care about our public lands to join me in demanding more public access, not more attacks on our public lands, from their representatives in the House.”

State Democrats likewise joined in the chorus chastising Zinke’s vote.

“Montana’s hunters and anglers won’t soon forget this vote and we will continue to hold Congressman Zinke accountable as he asks for the nation’s trust in serving as Secretary of the Interior,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.