Frequently Asked Questions

What part of Coeur d’Alene Lake belongs to the Tribe?

Generally, the part within the Reservation boundary (see the Maps). Ownership of waters within Heyburn State Park is contested.

When did the Tribe take over ownership of the lake?

The Tribe has always owned the lake. US District Court and the US Supreme Court affirmed this fact when they ruled that the Tribe is entitled to “exclusive use, occupancy and right to the quiet enjoyment of the bed and banks” of the lake and the lower St. Joe River (see History and Culture).

How does the Tribe intend to manage public uses of tribal waters?

The general public is welcome to continue enjoying Tribal waters. The Tribe does not have any intentions of restricting public access to Tribal waters. It is important to us that when people are enjoying the lake that they do so in a manner that is safe for the public and the environment and respectful of the values and interests of the Tribe.

How does the Tribe manage private docks on Tribal waters?

The Tribe recognized the importance of working with private property owners to provide for a reasonable transition to the new system. In recognition of the unique history of the lake, the tribe adopted a general policy to “grandfather” existing structures subject to reasonable standards and guidelines. Our standards were developed with input from the general public and are very similar to those of the State of Idaho. They are intended to protect Tribal and public health, safety and welfare, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, navigation, aquatic life, the aesthetic beauty of the lake and Tribal values.

How have the rules changed?

The Courts affirmed that the Tribe is the responsible government on the southern end of the lake and the lower reaches of the St. Joe River. To provide for a smooth transition, the Tribe strived for policies that are consistent across the lake. We encourage you to contact the Tribe directly if you have any questions.

Has access to the south end of the lake changed under Tribal ownership?

No, all previous activities and uses of the lake continue with little change. The Tribe invites you to share in the privilege of using and enjoying Tribal waters. We encourage you to contact the Tribe directly if you have any questions (see the contacts page.)

Does the general public have to pay to access Tribal waters?

No, there is not a fee for the general public to access and enjoy Tribal waters with the exception of hunting and fishing licenses and a lease fee for owners of private docks.

What does the Tribe do with the revenue it collects from the Lake?

The revenues collected on the lake are reserved for managing and improving the lake and its tributaries. We invest far more money on improving the health and safety of the lake and its tributaries than is collected.

Highlights of our commitment to stewardship in the basin:

  • Dedication of $5 million to nutrient management through implementation of the Lake Management Plan.
  • Over $1 million per year spent on fish and wildlife habitat projects.
  • Over $1 million per year spent on lake and water quality management efforts.
  • Over 3,000 acres of wetland and riparian habitat protected in the last three years.
  • Over 75 resource professionals providing technical expertise throughout the basin.