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Proposed Lochsa River designation draws strong opposition

September 13, 2018

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Residents fear that agencies will have more authority over a northern Idaho river if it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A majority of people who attended a Wednesday meeting in Grangeville voiced strong objections to the idea to place the Lochsa River corridor on the national register, the Lewiston Tribune reported .

The corridor was nominated by the Nez Perce Tribe.

The corridor contains numerous cultural sites that are important to the tribe and its more than 1,000 years of using trails in the area, said Nakia Williamson, director of cultural resources for the tribe.

“We wanted to add our narrative and our own voice to fit into the values with this broader landscape and how these sites are connected to us,” Williamson said.

Although representatives of the Idaho State Historical Preservation Office at Boise told the group that the designation would not negatively affect the public, some feared that was not guaranteed.

“This designation will give these agencies enforcement teeth,” said one angry person in a crowd of about 80 people. Nearly all attendees raised their hands when asked if they were against the designation.

Several residents respect the tribe’s interest in the designation, but fear it would affect private landowners, travel, recreation and commerce.

Mary Hasenoehrl, president of the Port of Lewiston, read a statement opposing the designation of the Lochsa corridor at the meeting.

“We believe the designation will further impede commerce on U.S. Highway 12,” she said.

The historic society has decided to push discussion on the Lochsa proposal to the review board’s spring meeting, tentatively scheduled in March, given the magnitude of concern on the possible designation, said Tricia Canaday with the society.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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