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Clagstone Meadows Project – A Conspiracy?

Commissioner Sudick did make sure to tell us that this project can still be stopped.


Clagstone Meadows Project – A Conspiracy?

By Christian Schwab

Clagstone Farms started in 1915 with a 200-acre parcel and has grown to 18,000 acres. Through the years, the property has seen many proposed uses, with many of those proposals requiring state grants in order to come to fruition. In 1915, $4,800 was allocated for one year but state legislators did not make that ongoing funding.

The Clagstone property is now owned by Stimson Lumber. In 2010, Stimson proposed a development project that created a “worst nightmare” for conservation groups. The proposal would have turned the former farm into a major living and recreational community. The plan called for two new golf courses, expansion of Beaver Lake (thus destroying native wetlands) and the prospect of 1,200 homes, cottages, and RV Pads.

The project created an uproar in the local community and was eventually defeated.

Stimson’s latest proposal consists of selling an easement to the State of Idaho to allow public access to the 18,000 acres. Some legislators, including Representative Heather Scott (Republican, District 1), have serious concerns. Those include a lack of access to the property and how the state could be forced to purchase the property if the owners ever wanted to sell.  At this time, there are no public protections against that potential sale. “If I kill a deer 3 miles in, I can’t even use my ATV to get it out as there will be no motorized access.” Scott said.

clagstone meadows
Commissioner Todd Sudick

Bonner County commissioners are concerned by the apparent lack of “transparency” shown during the latest negotiations. They feel this latest proposal violated Section 1.3 of the Forest Legacy Act, as none of the three commissioners were advised of the agreement until after the legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee (JFAC) had approved the funding.

When asked who was behind getting this passed, Bonner County commissioner Todd Sudick advised Redoubt News to “follow the money”, which lead to the Tides Foundation, through the Trust for Public Lands, a George Soros-backed organization. The issue has already lead to a controversial funding bill from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, seeking to increase their budget by 10.8% or $2 million.

clagstone meadowsSenator Shawn Keough (Republican, District 1) is co-chair of the most powerful legislative committee in Boise, the aforementioned JFAC.  Many people feel she could potentially benefit from this agreement in the coming elections, due to her many years of working in the timber industry and her multiple connections within the industry. Keough tells the Spokesman Review that she believes this is a “win, win situation.” However, Senator Jim Guthrie (Republican, District 28) stated, “We have two-thirds of Idaho already publicly owned and it just seems contrary to me that we pay to have these easements.”

Senator Sheryl Nuxoll (Republican, District 7), an opponent of the proposal and one of the legislators who tried to stop the bill from proceeding, said, “I agree we must protect our land but I also know the Forest Legacy Program is promoted by the environmental groups, which is great in some ways, but keeping the land in perpetuity is limiting the freedom of choice for our children and grandchildren and our free market economy. We’re using that money to pay a lumber company to preserve land on which they own and use.”

The proposed funding would come from Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Lands, federal grants and Stimson Lumber would invest $3.1 million.

Commissioner Sudick did make sure to tell Redoubt News that this project can still be stopped.



**Edited for grammar/punctuation.



4 Comments on Clagstone Meadows Project – A Conspiracy?

  1. Though my reply is late in terms of action on the issue, I hope to remind any readers that may still happen upon this page what the issues are:

    1) “Public Ownership” is always a red herring. 2/3 of Idaho is unavailable to the people for the things that matter: living and earning a living. The gov’t has taken away all use of the land and granted us back a little recreational access. How is that better for us the residents?

    2) Funding for these projects is always billed as coming from federal sources or sale of other lands. However, the land sales are from one gov’t entity to another and the federal funding comes from national taxpayers. In both cases our money is being used to take away our use of land. We the people end up funding our own demise.

    3) The issues are always described as either – or, with either some large development taking place or permanent protection from all use. This is classic liberal strategy of shaping the argument incorrectly and forcing us to choose between two bad options. This land could have been used in an unlimited number of ways, most probably better than the options described. Did anyone think of that when voting on funding this easement?

    These problems keep happening because we the people don’t get involved. The “preservation” groups are disproportionately represented because the rest of us don’t show up. Cheers to the representatives and commissioners who stood against this easement. To the rest of us: learn, investigate, and get involved, or more of your land will be lost to those who wish to “protect” the land from us and “preserve” it for the rich few to use as recreational property.

  2. Gee Heather, you look fit enough to wheel that deer out on a game cart. There’s all sorts of land in our area closed to motorized access that people manage to hunt and get the game out with out having to use an ATV. It seems to me you’d have a far better chance of filling your deer tag on the property if it was put into the conservation easement than if it was developed into some sort of an exclusive golf community. Are you still claiming you are promoting a continued rural living experience?

  3. Sudick needs to just go. This is not the military, and he is NOT the king. Who knows, but his idea of reducing the P&Z is at the local hard working guts level reminds me of a typical California (edited for content)that is going to save the taxpayers money and ends ups creating all kinds of chaos, then when the going gets rough bails!

  4. How exactly does Sen. Keough benefit from this in the upcoming election?

    When you make a statement like that, one would hope you can support it.

    I think her votes against expanded Medicaid and for concealed gun carry will get her more votes, if that’s your implication.

    As for Sheryl Nuxoll, she’s a Sharia fear mongers, (edited for content). If you listen to her, you’re just looking to make mischief.

    As for Mr. Sudick, his antics at the Planning Dept are probably going to cost the county a bundle. (edited for content) I suspect he will be turned out in this election. If not, the voters just aren’t paying attention.

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