While hunters can again access parcels leased by Idaho Fish and Game under the Large Tracts Program after extended fire closures, there are some important reminders about motorized use that hunters and recreationists need to know.
Corporate timberlands (PotlatchDeltic and North Idaho Timber Group) are reminding public users about motorized restrictions on their properties in Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8A, 9 and 10A. Non-motorized access to parcels enrolled in the program has not changed.
Printable, interactive Large Tracts motorized restriction maps can be found here or picked up at the Panhandle or Clearwater Region Fish and Game offices. The downloaded PDF files can be loaded into a 3rd party app, like Avenza, to be used in the field.
The motorized restrictions still provide access on main travel routes for year-round access into most areas and include some historic popular UTV routes. Motorized use behind gates, barricades or berms is not allowed on North Idaho Timber Group parcels or within the PotlatchDeltic motorized closure area. Different rules apply to each land group, please check out the rules for North Idaho Timber Group and PotlatchDeltic on the Fish and Game website.
Enforcement of the motorized restrictions will begin fall 2021.
The public’s cooperation is key to insuring public access continues on these properties, so please respect the new motorized restrictions.
Most motorized restrictions have been in place since the beginning of the Large Tracts Program to reduce resource damage, road and trail maintenance and liability issues due to yearlong use by motorized vehicles on production timber system roads and lands.
House Bill 187, passed during spring 2021 legislature and effective July 1, states that, upon entering into a recreational agreement with a private landowner, Idaho Fish and Game officers have the authority to enforce motorized vehicle restrictions.
Corporate Timber landowners and Fish and Game recognize that this is a change in how the public have historically used these lands, especially for local communities. As the population continues to grow across Idaho, so does the use of public lands, including those participating in the Large Tracts Program.
It is important to remember that all Large Tracts properties are private lands. To keep them open and accessible to everyone requires that all users be respectful of issues and adhere to the landowner’s needs and conditions to enter their lands.
The Idaho Legislature has a long history of encouraging private landowners to open their lands for recreation such as hunting and fishing.
In 2017, the Legislature passed HB 230, which created a new Fish and Game license fee (Access/Depredation fee) to fund important sportsman access to private lands, across private land to public lands and to fund enhanced prevention of wildlife damage to crops and compensation to landowners for wildlife damage. The Large Tracts Program was one of the programs funded by the Access/Depredation fee.
In October 2019, a group of North Idaho landowners (PotlatchDeltic and North Idaho Timber Group) entered into the Large Tracts Program through lease agreements with Idaho Fish and Game to provide public access to over 900,000 acres of private corporate timberlands for hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife viewing. Hiking, and gathering of berries or mushrooms for personal use is also allowed.
These Corporate Timber landowners agreed that all included lands would be open to non-motorized public access for legal hunting, fishing and trapping activities permitted by Fish and Game, as well as other non-consumptive outdoor recreational activities year-round.
The 900,000 acres of publicly accessible land under the umbrella of the Large Tracts Program are a highly valued resource by many Idahoans. Let’s ensure it continues well into the future.