The Garden Valley Recreation District held their monthly meeting to go over the projects they have worked on through the year and ones that they want to finish before winter. Members of the Board of Directors present were Chairman Leigh Ward, Thor Oden, Don Weilmunster, Steve Menlove, Sandy McLain and Clerk Julie Hutchcroft. A small delegation of community members came with questions and concerns for the board.
Community members came to present questions regarding the usage of Weilmunster Park. This has been a recent “hot topic” on social media of whether horses were meant to be grazing on the park grassy areas. This topic also questioned open range laws and was dividing those who participated in the social media conversations. The people who showed up for the meeting wanted their questions answered about the park’s intended use.
Some people on social media think the park is a designated open range and pasture land. The citizens who were at the meeting wanted to see the park and pavilion be void of cow and horse manure but wanted verification of the park’s intended use. Many concerns were expressed to the board regarding having to clean up the park before events. They were asking that at least a few acres be free from manure and grazing animals since the park is a place set aside for activities and events. No opposition came to the meeting, though they fired up social media with their own opinions and remarks about Weilmunster Park.
A representative from the library was happy the animals-at-large in the park subject was “finally being talked about” and saying that the library property is not considered “open range” yet animals come and destroy the plants and break décor items outside. Library personnel have to continually remove horses and cows.
It has been observed by a board member that animals were led to the park to graze and had to talk to the owner of these animals to remove them. The owner has been working with the board to keep animals in his own pastures.
Ward claimed that the park was designed for community use and this was including being dog friendly, with the public picking up after the pets. “The Garden Valley Trail was designed with the horse community in mind, but not the park,” according to Ward. Discussion with Weilmunster, for which the park bears his name said that the park was donated by working with the Idaho Parks and Recreation to create that space and a park district. Ward asked Weilmunster point blank if the park was ever intended for horse and he responded with an adamant “no”. Weilmunster concluded, “That is why there is a trail.”
Menlove appreciated the community members for coming in to have the park usage discussion. He asked the board if they needed to address these issues further and if the horses are “degrading the park experience.” McLain said, “The Garden Valley Recreation District is governed by Idaho Statutes. They would need to review those laws in order to have further solutions and what rules would be enforceable.”
Ward will look at the actual area that is part of the City of Crouch boundaries, and see what city ordinance(s) cover animal-at-large or animal controls since he was under the impression that the area of the park that is mowed is part of the City of Crouch. He wants to investigate that information more. The board plans to continue take a look further into these issues since the park is not open range land. They will also continue to talk to the owners of animals that frequent the park in order to stay “good neighbors”.
Other items on the agenda was to continue looking for a park manager and review the duties on applications including be a facilitator of bids, grants, following up on events and handling public inquiries.
The park will get about twenty four more purple ash trees to be planted. Board is considering bids for steps with a rail near the bridge area for a “shortcut” access to the park. The Board is also getting bids for the cement slabs needed for a dumpster enclosure and a separate storage shed for park maintenance items. The proposed well will be started soon is being done by Allstate Well Drilling. Bluebird Boxes Bulletin Board is still being planned with an explanation of the bluebird boxes. Lines on the basketball court is a supervised Eagle Scout project proposed to be done early October.
The last meeting of GVRD for this year will be on October 25, 2017 at 6:00 PM in the Library activity room. This will be the last 2017 regular meeting due to Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.