Lowman had their annual community meeting with speakers from different agencies covering topics of interest to the area.
John Kidd, USFS Ranger in Lowman spoke about the continuing work in the Pioneer Fire perimeter including roadside salvage and restoration, trail work and bridges work. Pine Flats campground was cleaned up in time for summer camping. The USFS was able to get an Emergency Situation Determination for salvage wood with bids to begin about June 23. They will let people know road closures associated with salvage operations for public safety. “No firewood can be taken in fire perimeter,” Kidd said apologetically to everyone. At the end of August culverts will be replaced in Pioneer Fire areas. He said, “Always watch for new road closures due to activities in the fire perimeter.”
Awareness that the solar eclipse will mean people will find areas to park for viewing but they want airstrip open for emergencies. Bear Valley is in the center of totality path but might be closed for viewing. Kidd said, “That is when there is spawning salmon.”
Commercial mushrooming has been slow with only 150 commercial permits out of 400 bought. After June 30th the Forest Service is hoping to open the areas for picking for everyone again.
Corey Taylor, F&G Conservationist in Garden Valley and Lowman, talked more of statistics of the winter effects on wildlife. Feeding stations helped, spending at least 20 thousand for feeding 1500 elk and another 41 thousand repairing animal damages. Fawn population suffered a lot. They were able to collar 30 fawns and all 30 died. Calves did a bit better as well as well as the adults. Taylor said, “We do not want a bad winter next year.” F&G wants to still hear about thoughts on feeding program.
In response to a hunter survey, new elk hunting tag plan was explained. On July 12 at 10am F&G will sell half of the tags at vendors (Garden Valley Chevron and the GV Market) or at F&G outlets. The other half will sell online later in the day. Taylor feels getting tags online is “a better chance.” An increase in fees starts in 2018. Fees are used to help mitigate crop damages. Taylor reminded everyone that only 10% of the tags go to nonresident. F&G get most of their budget money from tags.
Reports that the SF of Payette Fishery sees a decrease of trout. Proposal to start stocking fish from Granjean to GV. No numbers available. Wolf packs are balanced with the general hunts. Still many packs running around Lowman, Deadwood to Silver Creek.
County Commissioner Roger Jackson came to speak in place of Alan Ward. He characterized the work of the commissioners saying “Things are just running along.” However, he was also not happy to report that there are “no forest funds this year.” He explained that the county received only 48 thousand dollars from Secure Rural Schools funding that is used specifically for roads. Jackson said, “This is hard when it used to be over a million. If there is no additional money there will need to road tax.” He encouraged everyone to write or call their Idaho Legislators to reconsider the SRS funding for Boise County.
Jackson reported on the slow process of turning over Banks Lowman Rd. to the state with the first section starting at Banks to the GV airstrip is close to being ready. Jackson said, “The state keeps adding little things for us to do before the state can take the road over.”
Paul Rekow of Boise County Weed Control revealed that the spotted knapweed chemical is available to spray. Toad flax has insects on them so they will keep those plants from spreading. He wanted people to be aware of West Nile virus, particularly noticed in equine cases. At the waste sites there will no longer be free tire days, but Rekow said, “Thanks to the county commissioners, you can bring in 2 tires each dump visit.”
Chris Cole is the newest Clinical Operational Officer of the all volunteers Lowman Fire Department. He has been an EMT about 6 years. Cole said, “There is a desperate need for volunteers, drivers, and will provide training for anyone wanting to become an EMT.” He reminded everyone of the Ambulance Fundraiser July 1-2 including a breakfast, a raffle and garage sale. They also sell ride tickets at $27 to be used for a transport to valley. Life flight insurance is $65.
Robert (Bob) Showalter introduce himself as the new EMS Director and his job is to mitigate and recover from disasters. He said, “I can’t help with private property issues or mosquito abatement.” His main job istrying to work on the BC Hazard Mitigation plan. Gardena Bridge is being first on list for hazard mitigation. Money will be provided by FEMA. He will also teach communities about emergency preparedness. Boise County has an EMS Facebook page and advised to “like” the page to get announcements and to sign up for AlertSense on the county website.
Showalter says the Solar Eclipse will be a busy time for EMS. Traffic will be a serious concern. Showalter says, “Just tell family and friends to come sooner than later. Make sure you have glasses. Need special filters for cameras, including cell phones or they will get fried. There are plans of bringing state police from up north and south. Life flight is getting extra helicopters. Medical helicopters might be available from Gowen Field.” He added, “Just make sure gas tank is full, and you have plenty of supplies. You may not get anywhere very fast.” Other reminders is there is an Idaho Office of Emergency Management planning meeting for the public to learn how to handle the solar event, 7:00pm, June 22 in Garden Valley at the Community Hall.
Lowman Fire Volunteer, Doug Brown asked for volunteers, reminded everyone there is a subscription fee of $50 for fire protection. Labor Day weekend is their fundraiser with a BBQ and raffle. He gave a shout out to all the volunteers who helped for 21 days on the Pioneer Fire. To finish the evening off, Brown presented retirement plaques to honor Elena Miller and Will Hovey.