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Mon, Apr 22, 2013

Idaho's Hammer Flat To Once Again Welcome Hang Gliders

Flying Has Been Banned For Three Years

Hammer Flat near Boise, ID, had been a popular hang gliding spot for 30 years. But three years ago, the city of Boise and then the Idaho Department of Fish and Game took control of the area near Lucky Peak Reservoir where strong winds from the Boise River basin allowed hang gliders and paragliders to soar.

The area is considered crucial habitat for a variety of wildlife in the region, and the access gates leading to Hammer Flat were padlocked in 2010. City officials said that recreationists of all types needed to be "patient" while a baseline study was conducted.

Now, the Boise Weekly reports that an agreement has been reached that will re-open the area to hang gliders and paragliders beginning May 1.

The Department of Fish and Game bought the property from the city last year after managing it for some time. In voting unanimously to approve the sale, the Boise City Council voiced support for the sporting legacy of the area, known as Crow Hill, and the IDFG reportedly softened its hard-line position against any aircraft operating over the wildlife management area.

The IDFG and the Idaho Hang Gliding Association (IHGA) worked through details of a special permit that would allow hang gliding from May 1 to November 15, when wintering deer do not depend on the area for a winter range. And according to IHGA spokesman John Kangas, the warmer months suit the hang gliders just fine.

IDFG regional wildlife habitat manager Jerry Deal said that the association had convinced him that Hammer Flat was not just another place to hang glide or paraglide. "It is special, they convinced me of that," he said.

FMI: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/, www.ushpa.aero

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