Waterfowl hunting might reopen at Lake Lowell

Other federal lands will likely remain closed, though some states are paying to take the barricades off attractions. SHORT-TERM FIX FOR FISCAL CRISIS APPEARS CLOSER A6 8 WHERE TO CAMP, FISH HIKE AND HUNT DURING THE SHUTDOWN IdahoStatesman.com Check

STATESMAN STAFF AND WIRE REPORTSOctober 12, 2013 

deer flat ducks.JPG

The Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge attracts more than 100,000 ducks and geese annually.

ROGER PHILLIPS — Idaho Statesman file Buy Photo

Canyon County commissioners sought help Friday from Idaho's congressional delegation to re-open the recreational area around Lake Lowell.

Canyon County Commissioners Steve Rule, Kathy Alder and Craig Hanson sent a letter Friday asking Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador to review the limited impact the federal government shutdown has on Lake Lowell.

In their letter, commissioners said reopening the lake - closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown - would come cheap: it would be free.

"It won't cost our taxpayers an additional nickel. The necessary services are already being provided by the local community," Alder said in a written release.

Local police agencies provide law enforcement coverage at the lake south of Nampa, Rule said. And the county's Public Works Department removes the county-owned docks in the fall and stores them over the winter.

"The only thing that's changed is that now we've got multiple reports from local citizens going for simple walks around the lake being trespassed off this public property by federal law enforcement officers or employees," Hanson said.

Lake Lowell hosts the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. Late Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would reopen 3 million acres in wildlife refuges in 10 states - including Idaho - to allow hunting of pheasants and waterfowl.

But there was no word on whether Lake Lowell was included on the list, Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said.

WHERE ELSE CAN I HUNT?

Waterfowl season opens Saturday and deer season opened Thursday. Wildlife refuges are not the only place hunters, anglers, trappers and wildlife watchers could encounter federal land closures, warned the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Federal law enforcement is still working during the shutdown and can write citations for hunters found in closed areas.

LABRADOR TAKES CREDIT FOR DEBT LIMIT PLAN

Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador was quoted by The Huffington Post Thursday saying he gave House leaders the idea for one Republican proposal this week: temporarily raising the debt limit for six weeks, but separating that vote from the issue of ending the shutdown. It was impossible to make headway on both the debt and the Affordable Care Act at the same time, he said in the interview.

Late Friday, it appeared the Republicans were moving away from such an idea in favor of a plan to both end the shutdown and raise the debt limit, then set up a series of budget talks.

FOUR STATES PAY TO REOPEN NATIONAL ATTRACTIONS

On Saturday, the barricades at Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument will disappear, allowing visitors to return to the tourist draw despite the ongoing government shutdown. They will also come down at Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, Arizona's Grand Canyon and New York's Statue of Liberty.

Utah will pay nearly $1.7 million for 10 days of operation at eight federal properties: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, along with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges national monuments.

Colorado signed a similar pact, offering to pay the federal government $362,700 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 days. Arizona will pay $651,000 to operate the Grand Canyon for seven days, while New York agreed to pay $369,300 to reopen the Statue of Liberty for six days.

All four states will likely seek reimbursement from the federal government once the shutdown ends, but such payments would have to be specifically authorized by Congress.

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