The Hammer Flat deal is finally done, which means the Idaho Department of Fish and Games 34,000-acre Boise River Wildlife Management Area just increased by 705 acres and the city of Boises fund to purchase open space just increased $4.23 million.
The agency will permit hunting, although details are being worked out.
Also still being worked out is whether hang gliders will be able to use popular launching spots on the property, and whether public uses such as hiking and biking will be permitted.
Fish and Game is putting together a long-range management plan for the site, once slated to become a 1,350-home development perched atop a plateau overlooking Lucky Peak Reservoir. The plan will be open for public review in December or January; Fish and Game will adopt the plan in the spring.
The Idaho agency purchased the property from the city on June 28 with Bonneville Power Administration wildlife-mitigation funds.
This is part of our mitigation for federal dams, said Lorri Bodi, vice president of BPA Environment Fish and Wildlife. In addition to efforts to improve fish survival, we also preserve fish and wildlife habitat.
Bodi said this purchase would create a wonderful legacy.
Fish and Game has long coveted the parcel.
This is one of the last pieces of winter range left on the Boise Front, Director Virgil Moore said. This will help us keep big game herds healthy and growing for years to come."
He said the new acreage would be integrated into the existing wildlife area. As we do with all our wildlife management areas, they are open to the public during periods of time when there arent conflicts with wildlife and wildlife management priorities, Moore said.
WHAT ABOUT HANG GLIDING?
Historically, a local hang gliding association had permission from the owners to launch their craft from a hill there.
Fish and Game is working to determine whether hang-gliding can occur, where it can occur and when it can occur, Moore said. We havent made any final decision on that.
Decisions on uses such as hiking and biking, he said, will be made with the agencys primary goal protecting wildlife and habitat in mind.
Public use can occur that isnt in conflict with wildlife values, Moore said.
SHORT SALE, BIG GAIN
Financial distress forced the developer of the Hammer Flat property to sell the 700 acres in a short sale. In March 2010, the city paid $4.1 million, less than half what Skyline Development Company had paid in 2004.
The citys money came from the 2001 Foothills fund a two-year property tax levy passed by Boise voters to pay for open space acquisition and conservation. The city has used the $10 million levy to purchase or protect more than 10,350 acres and create 18.3 miles of new Foothills trails.
The city acquired the land to keep it as undeveloped open space, and agreed to sell Hammer Flat to Fish and Game once the agency got the money.
The citys Foothills advisory committee will meet in August to set a priority list and work the City Council on how to spend the newly replenished Foothills levy money, said Boise foothills and open space manager Julia Grant.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @Cynthia Sewell