Tuesday, December 20, 2011

City Council Unanimously Sells Hammer Flat to Fish and Game

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 3:07 PM

The Boise City Council unanimously approved the sale of Hammer Flat to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game today, but not before a few council members strongly suggested that paragliders once again have access to the pristine plateau in the city's Foothills.

"You folks could stand out as heroes," Council Member Alan Shealy told Fish and Game. "I think it's time to make a dispassionate decision."

The paragliding community had pushed back against Fish and Game's policy not to allow any kind of recreational aircraft over its wildlife management areas.

"I love to look up there and see gliders," said Shealy. "When the scientific evidence comes in, I'm hoping there will be some bending of the will to allow them to continue gliding."

But Council Member David Eberle had harsh words for some in the paragliding community, who had voiced strong opinions.

"I hope you drop your rhetoric," said Eberle. "It debases you and your constituency."

Council members Elaine Clegg and T.J. Thomson expressed strong desires for gliders to work with Fish and Game in crafting a management policy for Hammer Flat.

"I've learned just how unique Hammer Flat is to the gliding community," said Clegg. "We need to protect this special opportunity, if it's appropriate."

Thomson voiced the strongest support for gliders.

"To eliminate this sport permanently would be a travesty," said Thomson. "Having said that, to vote no on this sale would be similar to throwing the baby out with the bath water."

Ultimately, the vote was unanimous to sell the 705 acres to Fish and Game for $4.23 million, effective Saturday, Dec. 31.

"It's a win-win for all of us," said Council President Maryann Jordan. "I look forward to working with Fish and Game on a management plan."

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