BOISE, Idaho —
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Idaho Army National Guard seeks public input on a proposal to expand the Orchard Combat Training Center.
BLM said the proposal would expand training onto around 20 square miles of federal and Idaho land. The land is located west of Mountain Home and adjacent to the Orchard Combat Training Center.
The Simco Training Area Environmental Assessment analyzed potential impacts from the proposed heavy-maneuver training between March and November, construction and maintenance of 12.7 miles of dirt roadways, infrastructure development, and engineering practice areas. However, the proposal does not include live-fire exercises.
The proposal is in response to meeting the Department of Defense’s training requirements, ensuring troop combat readiness, and offsetting area loss within the Orchard Combat Training Center where training is prohibited to protect native shrublands.
The proposed training activities are within acceptable levels outlined in the BLM's Resource Management Plan for BLM Four Rivers Field Office, which manages a portion of the proposed military training area. The military has also been using land in the vicinity for training since the 1940s.
Idaho Army National Guard and BLM will each develop separate decisions based on assessments of the proposed environment.
BLM and the Idaho Army National Guard are looking for public opinion on the proposal, alternative courses of action, and environmental consequences. A virtual public meeting will be held on Zoom on April 21 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
People interested in attending the meeting must pre-register here.
The BLM and Idaho Army National Guard will also be accepting public comments from now until May 16 through the below-listed forms.
Mail: BLM Four Rivers Field Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise, ID 83705
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