Boise’s city council voted unanimously Tuesday to sell Hammer Flat to Idaho’s department of Fish and Game. Each member spoke in favor of the move as the best way to preserve the important winter wildlife habitat. But each councilor also expressed the same reservation.
The issue that gave Boise’s city council pause was recreation. The 700 acre plateau north-east of Boise isn’t just used by deer. It’s popular with hikers, runners, mountain bikers and others. Fish and Game deputy director Jim Unsworth says that won’t change.
Jim Unsworth “People will continue to recreate on that property. There may be some priorities placed for wildlife, and animals would take precedent from a Fish and Game standpoint.”
Unsworth says recreation on the land will continue largely as it was when it was privately owned. But, para-gliders and hang gliders are concerned that restrictions on air craft on Fish and Game land will mean they won’t be able to practice their sport. The city received a number of angry comments from gliders about the sale. That generated a reproof from council member David Eberle.
David Eberle “I hope you drop that rhetoric. It debases you and your constituency group.”
But all the council members asked Fish and Game to try to work out a management plan for Hammer Flat that would include gliding. One activity Fish and Game will likely allow on Hammer Flat: hunting.