Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hammer Flat Meeeting Divides Attendees

Posted By on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 9:14 AM


James Hall, Dave Bieter, Virgil Moore
  • Idaho Fish and Game director Virgil Moore, center, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, and James Hall, Boise Parks and Recreation director, right, listen to comments on the proposed sale of Hammer Flat to Fish and Game Wednesday night.

More than 100 crowded into a Fish and Game meeting room Wednesday night, eager to voice their opinions on the much-discussed Hammer Flat, just outside of Boise near Lucky Peak dam. The plateau was purchased in early 2010 with $4.1 million from the Boise Foothills levy funds. Fish and Game has officially announced its intention to buy Hammer Flat, but the Boise City Council will have the final say.

"It's $100,000 earned if the purchase goes through," said James Hall, Boise Parks and Recreation director. "If approved, we'd have $4.23 million available for acquisition of more open space."

The public information meeting brought together Hall, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, and Idaho Fish and Game director Virgil Moore, discussing the possible acquisition that if passed, would put the land under the jurisdiction of IDFG. Both Bieter and Moore call the sale a "great opportunity" to both preserve the land for wildlife management, and to replenish the Foothills levy fund.

With that money, proponents of the sale hope to pick up more parcels in the Foothills for public use.

"We have a property we've had our eye on for a number of years," said Hall.

However, a number of last night's attendees expressed their concerns. Many talked about Crow Hill, just outside of the aerial photo of Hammer Flat on an easel at the front of the room. For paraglider pilots in the room, the hill is an indispensable flying spot, with winds that allow them to soar "wingtip to wingtip" with eagles, said pilot Erin Beck.

"When this place is restored, its going to be an absolutely incredible resource for wildlife. I think it's an incredible resource for all of us at appropriate times of the year," he said.

The possibility of a sale could surface on a Boise City Council agenda as soon as the next few weeks.

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