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Idaho senators, congressman want forest cameras gone

by VICTOR CORRAL MARTINEZ
Staff Writer | August 13, 2020 1:00 AM

Idaho senators, congressman want forest cameras gone

BONNERS FERRY — Idaho lawmakers recently wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen asking her to address concerns over the use of cameras to enforce U.S. Forest Service regulations.

The letter was written and signed by U.S. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and U.S. Congressman Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho.

Cameras have been used in Boundary County to penalize individuals who drive on unauthorized routes, the trio said in the letter.

The cameras have been a contentious topic for Boundary County residents, who view them as a violation of privacy.

In the letter to Christiansen, Risch, Fulcher, and Crapo urged the Forest Service to develop policies that reasonably use the cameras and also protect individual privacy.

The reason for their concern is the lack of updated information on roads, the senators and congressman said in the letter.

“From changing road designations to outdated maps, often there is confusion about the status of Forest Service roads,” Fulcher wrote, “In addition, national forest visitors report that many times these unauthorized roads are not marked.”

The letter notes that many individuals do not know they are breaking Forest Service regulations; these infractions have upset individuals who were unaware of the crime committed.

According to the letter, “While national forests are public spaces, most people do not expect to have federal cameras monitoring their activity while visiting them.”

Lawmakers suggest that Forest Service personnel issue warnings instead of the citation that includes a photograph of their vehicle.