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IDPR News & Updates Keeping you in the know

Hells Gate Haunted Hayride 2019:

On the chilly, crisp evening of October 26th, Hells Gate staff and friends put on a spooky hayride for the public to enjoy. Leading up to the loop, guests were warned to “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK” and to “TURN BACK NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN!” When it was too late to turn around, hay-riders were told “WE”VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU…”. After entering the loop, guests encountered the hair-raising haunted circus, the spine-chilling hitch witches, and the nightmarish zombie graveyard; just to name a few! The loop was full of frightening zombies, witches, clowns, and more spooking those riding through.

Our total count at the end of the evening was 1,362 participants, which is a great turn out for the freezing temperatures. We want to send out a huge thank you to those who came to help us put on such an amazing event; those who put together sites and those who pulled the trailers. We would also like to thank all those who endured the cold temperatures to ride through and we hope you had a great time! - Steven Kinzer, Hells Gate State Park

Castle Rocks/City of Rocks Honors retiree Juanita Jones

"The staff at City of Rocks would like to thank Juanita Jones for her superb service to customers and colleagues over the past 25 years. Her quiet professionalism and call to duty is and example to us all. Juanita retired on November 15." - Wallace Keck, Castle Rocks & City of Rocks

Juanita at the Silent City of Rocks event

NPS Culture Training

Trenton and I [Austin Zollinger] attended the NPS Section 106 Training held in Sedro-Wooley, Washington. The training covered Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act which governs how we preserve historic buildings, landscapes, and archeology sites. We covered a lot of different topics that trained us to ensure that we are in compliance with the Act when completing projects and tasks. We also learned how historic places make it onto the register and how we go about maintaining them after they are on the register. The training also covered maintaining relationships with Native American Tribes, SHPO, local citizens and government agencies and how to involve the public when completing projects. The instructor also trained us on the 4 Step Process we complete if there are adverse effects to resources when planning projects. - Austin Zollingzer, Castle Rocks/City of Rocks

New Park n' Ski Map

Outdoor Recreation Analyst, Jeff Cook, has developed an incredible interactive map for the statewide Park N' Ski trails. Click here to check it out!

If you are interested in seeing something specific in the next Friends of Idaho State Parks Newsletter, please feel free to reach out to Chelsea Chambers at Chelsea.Chambers@idpr.idaho.gov.

Use of E-bikes on IDPR Trails

In March 2019, the Idaho Legislature passed HB76 which provided that E-bikes would be treated in the same manner as a human-powered bicycle. The legislation provided three classes of E-bikes: Class 1, which is a bicycle with a motor that works only up to 20 mph and only when the rider is pedaling; Class 2, which can go up to 20 mph even when the rider is not pedaling; and Class 3, which has a motor that runs up to 28 mph when the rider is pedaling.

As a result of the law and subsequent adoption by the Idaho Park and Recreation Board, use of Class 1 and 2 E-Bikes is now approved on all IDPR trails except for the bicycle trail at Hells Gate State Park which is cooperatively managed with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers who continue to consider E-bikes as “motorized vehicles” and their use is not allowed on their trails.

Teton Dam Site -- a Future State Park?

State, federal, and local agencies have been meeting with interested citizens the pas few months to find was to make recreation at the old Teton Dam site more accessible. What’s left of the dam, something like an enormous pyramid of fill in the middle of the canyon, is a tourist attraction. Many bus companies traveling to and from Yellowstone and Glacier national parks stop to let passengers gaze down at the infamous dam. Interpretive signing and some parking lot improvements would make that experience more enjoyable.

The main focus, though, is localized recreation. The primary draw is fishing in the river and boating associated with fishing. A campground and improved river access would be desirable. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the current site manager, isn’t directly in the recreation business. They would be happy to assist in the development and ongoing maintenance of the site if another managing entity would step forward. With that in mind, BOR and its partners have had initial discussions with IDPR about the site’s potential as a state park. It is yet to be determined if the site would meet the general criteria for state park status. If it does measure up, development of the site would likely be a few years away.

Update on Billingsley Creek Project

The approved concept for park development at the site, near Hagerman, is now entering a phase of layout and initial construction. Projects to be implemented in the next few years include an entrance road, park trails, and 50 site RV campground. The plan also includes development of fishing and boating access to Billingsley Creek, an arboretum, and a visitor center jointly operated by IDPR and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

A master plan for the park has been completed as has a biking and walking path joining the park with nearby Hagerman. Implementation of the plan will proceed as funding is available. Construction of the campground is expected to take place in the Fall of 2021 or Spring of 2022.

Preserving Honor Farm Buildings at Eagle Island

Eagle Island State Park, located near the population center of the Treasure Valley, was once quite a different experience for those who visited. Some were reluctant visitors. It was the site of prison Honor Farm from 1930 until 1977.

When it became a state park in 1983 development focused on the core facilities, picnic shelters, a waterslide, and restrooms serving swimmers enjoying the man-made lake and sandy beach. The old Honor Farm buildings, tucked away on the eastern edge of the park, were largely forgotten. One became a park shop, but the rest began to suffer from time’s passing. For the past year a committee of park staff, preservation experts, and interested citizens has been meeting to develop a plan for the buildings. They evaluated the remaining structures and prioritized them in terms of historical value and condition.

The group recommended demolition of three small buildings, a well shack, a storage building, and a loafing shed. They also recommended that restoration efforts initially should focus on the calf barn and dairy parlor. Other buildings on the site were deemed appropriate for future maintenance work, while two, the slaughterhouse and dormitory would be left in a ruined state for the foreseeable future. Those two buildings are largely concrete, but their roofs and the flooring in the dormitory are all but gone.

During their November meeting, the Idaho Park and Recreation Board voted to approve the plan, contingent on the availability of funding. Committee members believe a significant portion of the funding could be acquired through grants.

There is considerable interest in the history behind prison structures, as evidenced by the Old Idaho Penitentiary which sees 400,000 visitors a year. The “tucked away” status of the buildings is about to end with the completion of the greenbelt into the park expected within the next couple of years. That is also prompting IDPR staff to consider adding interpretation to the site and upgrading one or more of the old buildings to perform a new function at the park, as yet unidentified.

Middle image: Eagle Museum of History and Preservation

Meet your new IDPR Board Members: Brian Beckley and Calley Roach!

Beckley is the Chief Operations Officer at Biomark, Inc., a company that supplies electronic identification technology to fish, wildlife, and other natural resource conservation entities. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Finance from University of Phoenix.

Cally Roach, from Fairfield, is the new representative of Region 4, serving South Central Idaho. She’s a retired executive with Clear Springs Foods, Inc. in Buhl. Roach served on the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry Board where she was an executive committee member. She was also on the board of Business Plus and she is the former president of the College of Southern Idaho Foundation board of directors. Roach has a BS in business management from Lewis and Clark and a master’s in human resource training and development from ISU.

New Econ Stats (2018)

Idaho Non-motorized Trail Sticker

Trails provide Access in Idaho. Access to opportunity. Access to the backcountry. Access to camping, fishing, and many of the recreational experiences Idaho has to offer. Access to these wild places is what makes the Gem State such a unique place to live, work, and raise a family. Trails are part of Idaho's recreation heritage. We already have one of the most effective motorized trail maintenance programs in the country, supported by user fees. Yet, it has been an ongoing challenge to secure sustainable resources in order to sufficiently maintain Idaho’s non-motorized trails. Without adequate maintenance, access to hiking, biking, and equestrian trails will continue to be threatened.

It has become clear that Idaho needed a more permanent funding source in order to properly maintain its intricate trail system. The Trails Supporter Sticker is the first step towards a long-term goal of trail funding. The sticker acts as a donation to the non-motorized trail program and will be offered online for a recommended minimum donation of $10.

The sticker will be available online May 1, 2020.