Boise officials have continued a legacy of backroom deals and deceptive behavior on a foothills convservation project that probably is a worthwhile endeavor.
The Hammer Flat land acquisition was done in secret using $4 million in Boise tax funds with the explanation the deal had to be secret to keep the price low–action permitted by law.
Last year Boise and Idaho Fish and Game agreed to a land sale with F&G taking possession and management. The GUARDIAN learned of the plan and Boise officials not only refused to tell the citizens what was up, but offered legal advice to the parks director to make any information as “squishy as possible.”
When Gov. Butch Otter learned of the secret sale proposal he said no sportsman funds would be used unless hunting were allowed–something the city didn’t want.
Now the city has been quietly meeting with F&G to create a wildlife management plan that would ban the public from stepping foot on the land they own east of the city in the foothills. F&G staff could issue trespassing tickets to citizens walking on the land they own.
F&G never came up with cash to purchase the area, but with a new plan set for council approval on Tuesday, there is no need for the state to pay if they can get an open ended $4 million loan from the citizens of Boise.
John Kangas represents a group of hang glider enthusiasts who used the area for years when it was privately owned–with permission of the landowner. His people met with Team Dave early on expressing their concerns, but have been, “met only with silence about the area from city hall,” according to Kangas.
As an avowed “growthophobe,” the GUARDIAN reluctantly applauds the stated intent of preserving wildlife habit, despite the lack of transparency. We find it ironic since the City has made dozens, if not hundreds of decisions that saw the Barber Valley jammed with houses and other development.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.