Is the Henry's Fork Legacy Project (HFLP) really a friend to Island Park? In describing their mission they state it is their dedication, "...to helping people in the Henry’s Fork area conserve their rural landscapes, rural lifestyles, and unique natural resources." Just who in the Henry's Fork area asked this group to take charge of how we live? HFLP also states they want to, "Help people conserve wildlife and reduce human/wildlife conflicts.", and "Provide information and tools to help the community guide new growth and development." It is the Fremont County planning and development board that has this responsibility. Wildlife and humans have shared Island Park for decades. Occasionally, there is a problem with bears given the high numbers of grizzly. But the HFLP has done NOTHING on this issue. Wildlife mortality on Hwy 20 does not even rank in the top 15 problem areas in Idaho.
Land conservation was identified as the beginning "focus". Can there be growth and development if you want to conserve everything? The Fremont County comprehensive plan addresses this delicate balance with private property owners. Development through the Targhee Pass area and on Henry’s Lake Flat is cloistered and animal movement is not obstructed by it.
According to HFLP history, "2006-2007 Forest Supervisor initiated HFLP to encourage conservation through a collaborative network of NGOs and agencies." This "network" is a conglomeration of groups that do not live in the area, who have specific ideological agendas. and which does not include Island Park residents as a whole. Even federal and state agencies are part of this group, agencies which are obligated to represent Idaho citizens. Following are "network" members.
Teton Regional Land Trust Henry’s Fork Foundation Idaho Fish and Game
Nature Conservancy Bureau of Land Management Future West
Caribou-Targee National Forest Wildlife Conservation Society Greater Yellowstone Coalition
Idaho Dept of Parks and Recreation Idaho Department of Lands Yellowstone 2 Yukon (Y2Y)
Interestingly, there is no identified board of directors or members on their website. While the Island Park Safe Wildlife Passage Initiative (IPSWPI) can be found on the HFLP website, and is listed as a "A working group of the Henry’s Fork Legacy Project" in their brochure, why is it that Y2Y is the contact for more information and Kim Trotter, Y2Y US Program Director, is also the Committee Chair of the initiative?
Another group Y2Y partners with is the local Henry's Fork Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalists. They are listed as a "collaborating partner" on page 12 in the PDF that can be downloaded here, and along with Y2Y were acknowledged in the P. Cramer Safety Solutions report.
In 2009 HFLP also expanded their scope "...to include living with wildlife activities and land and natural resource planning." Generations of families making their home, and visitors, have been living with wildlife and protecting the natural resources in the Henry's Fork area for decades. It seems HFLP has decided no one is able to live with wildlife. Why?
A new objective was introduced in 2013, "...three committees were created representing the three legs of the “HFLP Stool”–Land Conservation, Living with Wildlife and Land Use and Public Land Management." Over the next two years it states they held "periodic'" meetings, conducted "communications outreach", and built a website. Does anyone remember these activities? Island Park residents are familiar with this name but meeting notes are not available on the HFLP website. Beyond the ISPWP initiative there seems to be no other activity.
In 2016 "they" and their "network members"..."Identified ITD Highway 20 redesign project as a new focus for the group." Y2Y is the force behind this group and brings their establishment and money to the effort. HFLP also claims, "The project meets the mission of the HFLP and has a strategic and longer, landscape-scale perspective." It is Y2Y that has a landscape scale perspective, but only for conservation.
Making Sense of It All
This blog will help you make sense out of all the information on the website, how it affects IP, previous articles in the IP News, our history, and how efforts continue to put IP into various forms of conservation status.