by Andrew Crisp
The Boise City Council voted unanimously today to approve the sale of more than 700 acres of land to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Hammer Flat was purchased by the City of Boise with funds from the Foothills levy coffer, and when it changes hands on Dec. 31, $4 million-plus will replenish the same.
In an official statement, the IDFG applauded the actions of the council, stating that the real winners today were southwest Idaho's populations of deer, elk and antelope. They quoted F&G director Virgil Moore as saying: "Hammer Flat's purpose is to provide critical wildlife habitat and wildlife-based recreation opportunities, including hunting and wildlife viewing."
Public use has been a concern since the beginning, leading to discourse in today's council meeting, and related comments from all parties concerned. Hang-gliding enthusiasts have voiced numerous concerns about use of the property.
"We are willing to consider other outdoor recreational activities, including hang gliding," Moore added.
James Hall of Boise's Department of Parks and Recreation said he thought the process went well.
"I think the council articulated what they think is important as we move forward. I think it's good that there's been good discourse between Fish and Game and the people who want to use the land."
John Kangas, speaking for the Idaho Hang Gliding Association, seemed optimistic.
"I was encouraged by the comments made by the City Council, and that they are going to work with Fish and Game as we move forward," he said. "We look forward to working with Fish and Game in this important process. This is a life sport, and generations have flown at the Crow Hill. It's important that we leave that legacy for years to come for gliding enthusiasts."