On Thursday June 27th, Governor Brad Little, along with members of his staff, met with the Payette Land Trust (PLT) Board along the shore of Payette Lake to discuss conservation within the Payette River Basin. The group gave the Governor a virtual tour of current PLT projects located in their service area which includes Adams, Idaho, Valley and Washington counties.

The conversation then turned to the PLT’s efforts within the Payette River Basin.

With Payette Lake as a backdrop, the group introduced their Payette River Basin Initiative to the Governor. The purpose of the Payette River Basin (PRB) Initiative is to utilize conservation easements to permanently conserve portions of the Basin which hold natural, recreational, agricultural and hydrological resource value. More specifically, the Goal of the PRB initiative is to conserve a connected corridor from the Payette Lake inlet to Cabarton Bridge along the main stem of the North Fork Payette River.  This effort will allow for access, recreation and movement of both people and wildlife within the corridor, while conserving the existing natural beauty and water quality.

“We appreciate the Governor taking time to meet and discuss our vision for the Payette River Basin.” Said Rick Fereday, President of the Payette Land Trust, “We had a great conversation about what the future could hold for this unique region.”

Goals of the initiative also overlap substantially with those of the 2018 Valley County Comprehensive Plan. Chapters 4, 6 and 10 of the Plan describe Valley County priorities related to Natural Resources, Special Areas and Sites, as well as Recreation and Open Space.

“The Payette Land Trust has long understood the importance of the Basin to the area’s quality of life, economic viability and unique natural beauty along with its impact to the state’s overall water quality.” Said Craig Utter PLT executive director. “The PLT will strive to keep the land in private ownership and provide the opportunity for public access through agreements with willing private landowners.”


Three current project areas within the Initiative are:

Payette River Access Project

PLT is targeting efforts to connect existing conserved land between Payette Lake and Cascade Reservoir with a focus on providing limited public access to both the water and land.

Payette Lake Conservation Project

The PLT is investigating ways to create a Strategic Plan for permanently conserving the remaining undeveloped portion of Payette Lake located under the McCall Impact Area.

Conserving Agriculture Heritage within the Basin

The PLT recognizes a significant amount of the working agricultural lands reside within a few miles of the Payette River and its tributaries. The PLT is working with Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) through a Farm Bill program to focus efforts on conserving this agricultural heritage.

The PLT believes in conserving the rural landscape of west central Idaho for the benefit of the community and future generations and promotes a community ethic that values and conserves its working agricultural properties and timberlands in balance with thoughtful development.

To learn more about Payette Land Trust and its work in the West Central Mountains of Idaho, visit https://payettelandtrust.org.

Payette Land Trust (PLT) is dedicated to conserving the rural landscapes of west central Idaho