by Andrew Crisp
Officials from the Bonneville Power Administration, Northwest Power Planning Council, City of Boise and Idaho Department of Fish and Game met opposite the Boise River to survey the Hammer Flat area earlier today. In June, Fish and Game closed on the sale of the property, which it purchased from the City of Boise.
The 704-acre parcel is a prime winter range area, said Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore.
"This is the toe slope of the Boise Foothills," said Moore. "During the winter, this area becomes very important to deer, firstly, and elk, second, but also antelope and other wildlife."
The sale comes after a transaction orchestrated by the City of Boise, Bonneville Power, NPPC and IDFG, which used the sale to offset wildlife mitigation for Bonneville's impact on the environment. The deal put $4.23 million back in Boise Foothills preservation coffers, and Hammer Flat into the hands of IDFG.
"The department is currently working on a management plan," said Moore. The plan is expected as early as December, or January 2013.
Hunting, recreation and hang gliding—considered some of the best in the country—will be considered once the management plan comes together. Moore said that process would be made public, including input from the concerned parties.
"Our commitment was to have the discussions, to ensure that our primary goal of wildlife management is done here," he said.
However, Moore did say that hunting would be allowed on the land in some form.
"There are issues to consider, but the department is primarily supported by hunting and fishing dollars. It could be both upland and big-game animals. That would be a part of the planning process," he said.