Following years of dispute over paragliding in one of the Boise Valley's most picturesque vistas, recreationists said Thursday night that they had some "great news."
"We are very pleased to announce that a special use permit has been issued by Idaho Fish and Game for the Crow Gliding Hill just east of Boise," wrote John Kangas, who said that gliding could begin Wednesday, May 1, and extend until Friday, Nov. 15. "This time frame coincides with general hiking access allowed into the Wildlife Management Area, and encompasses the best gliding weather Boise has to offer."
Boise Weekly has chronicled the debate surrounding access to the area for several years. Once upon a time, developers coveted Hammer Flat, hoping to build up to 1,350 homes in a planned subdivision known as the Cliffs, but in March 2010, the City of Boise used $4.1 in Foothills Levy funds to purchase the 701-acre parcel, about one mile east of the city and adjacent to the Boise River.
Shortly after the city's purchase, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department locked access gates to Hammer Flat and posted no-trespassing signs. At the time, city officials said they still needed to determine what would be appropriate access. That frustrated a number of recreationists, who sailed over the valley as paraglider pilots.
And when the Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced in November 2011 that it was purchasing Hammer Flat, paragliding dreams were still up in the air.
But now, this Saturday, March 2, paragliders will gather at the Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters to participate in the volunteer planting of bitter and sage brush at Hammer Flat, where they'll also scope out what Kangas called "our nifty gliding hill next to Boise."