Snake River Canyons Park Board

Open Meeting Minutes

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Blue Lakes Country Club, Jerome, Idaho

Attending Board Members: Chairman Bill Bridges, Jeff Pierson, John Weston, Mark Reyes, Brenda Weekes, Sue Williams, Alan Clawson via telephone and Steve Paulson arriving late. Not present: Greg Moore

Guests: Aaron Utz with Idaho Power, Larry Hall with Jerome 20/20, Jerome Commissioner Art Watkins, Stan Crawforth Geotech Engineer with Shannon & Wilson, Matthew McGregor with Jerome County IT department and Rebecca Wildman taking minutes

Bill called the meeting to order at 11:05 a.m. with a quorum present. Self introductions were made and welcomed Stan Crawforth from Shannon & Wilson.

Minutes: Sue motioned to approve the minutes from March 14, 2024, Board Meeting, Jeff seconded, motion carried.

Treasurer’s Report:

Bill reported $11,352.20 with a few bills still open. Bill purchased disc golf flags and poles, toilet paper, etc. The county budget has $56k and anticipate $20k invoice coming for the Shoshone Falls overlook study, however that will be paid from a separate account. Sue has invoices coming to be paid from the RV Park grant and is still expecting a bill from the concrete contractor.

Shoshone Falls overlook: Larry introduced Stan Crawforth and noted others from Civil Science had an emergency and couldn’t attend. Report recommends situating the foundation farther back to be outside rock topple areas. Cantilever structure with pedestrians on top. Project could have two stages of development. Payment structure can be designed for the paved road, and it could be a private road to fund its cost. Restroom and gift shop configuration assumes one roof. Report did not consider sewage in assessment, as that will be up to Civil Science, and also did not consider water well structures, noting there could be some sub-surface water.

For the cantilever, rock anchor tiedowns would come off the back side with 2 strips of footings with anchors on back and front side of overlook. Most structures like this have a 75-year life span. Structural designer would use this data to design. Stan shared he was part of the Perrine overlook structure design work team several years back and their plans were modified to have a less dramatic cantilever due to budget constraints.

Site selected gives fullest view of falls. Alternate location was higher but interfered with power plant and edge of rim. Study completed two bores to characterize rock, looked at setback of rim because of rock topple potential. They were cognizant of Idaho Power’s concerns and blasting for the road. The current proposed access road is far enough away (like 1200 feet) and Stan explained peak particle velocities and seismograph testing with the lowest risk possible for the power plant. Of the four routes considered, this proposed one is without archeological issues.

Shannon & Wilson submitted its draft report and is anticipating comments from Civil Sciences and Idaho Power. Larry noted this report was funded by Idaho Power and Jerome County. Next will be an estimate of what the costs would be. Idaho Power has committed an initial $250k but would need to coincide with when project is done. Aaron thinks funds are earmarked for 2025 but recommends changing it to 2026. Others agreed 2026 is more realistic. Larry mentioned a possible grant from Idaho Parks and Rec ($500k) but projects this project might be in the $2M range including building, water, sewage, etc. Noted old cost estimates were $1.5M. Discussion on site visualization with mention on landscaping and natural rust-coloring on the structure.

Discussion if SRCP takes the lead or Jerome 2020, with agreement that it is now for SRCP. Stan recommended to move forward on the project to create momentum and consider phases of the project and get a bid for the access road and parking. Bill stated that IDL has granted an easement and BLM has approved it. Brenda suggested SRCP keep the overlook as second priority with the BLM noting they will ask for plans. Next step is for Civil Science to get the Board a drawing and price. Stan said costs could be reduced by using pit toilets and no well and starting with a concept layout for Civil Science. Larry clarified that what has been budgeted to date should cover Shannon & Wilson’s work and that from Civil Science.

Stephen Anderson from Civil Science joined by telephone and asked about timing for request of design work for road, profiles, alignments, and location of overlook. Noted their current contract is to assist with geotechnical investigation, and it does not include scope of design. Bill requested their design work contract to present to the Jerome Commissioners.

Discussion and agreement to move forward on the project in a phased approach and push it to 2026. The Board will work to get permits and other things in place. Stan recommend getting an estimate and schedule of activities including permitting, fundraising, bid proposal, construction. Agreed to keep the overlook and trail projects separate as they may have different grant opportunities and restrictions. Noted years ago a 2 mile paved trail had an estimate cost of $840k; this trail project could have 4.1 miles. Gerald Martens has been asked to estimate the cost for 4.1 miles of gravel 10’ wide.

Camping/RV Park: Second vault toilet is installed and the walkway in with Hemmingway construction is complete. Nicks excavation completed the concrete pad and gravel parking area A handicap sign will be installed. Everything passed with inspection.

Corrals will be installed by the Back Country Horsemen on Friday April 19th with a personnel gate added in the fencing to get horses in/out without having to cross the cattle guard. The Number 4 boulder is still overturned and Sue will ask the Horsemen to fix it with their skip loader.

Reported seven campers last night and five this morning.

Shared the County’s newest set of ordinances with Jerome Prosecutor’s suggested changes, notably Part 3, Section 3.1 B. Discussed limits on camping and adopting the same wording as the BLM for moving more than 25 miles away for more than 28 days. Agreed the 5-day limit here is optimal for benefits and discouragement of long-stays.

Website: Mark introduced Matt McGregor with Jerome’s IT department and that he and Matt will both be trained to add website posts. Matt said there are challenges with updating pages on the website due to how it was built. Suggested Jerome IT take lead entirely on the functions and domain of the website. Discussed notifications of open meetings and be aware in adding them to the site and posts.

Broken Bridge: River running 6,000cfs now and anticipated increases. Brenda asked about a sign on each side to warn hikers of dangerous conditions. Agreed to place two permanent signs above graffiti tag height saying:

DANGER

HIGH WATER POSSIBLE

CROSS AT OWN RISK

Bridge rails can only fold inward and Bill will go pull the pins to lay them down. He will have signs made and installed as soon as possible. Brenda shared positive sentiments from hikers and is in favor of name: Auger Falls Unity Bridge. She will inquire with the BLM if the park can install primitive benches and a picnic table ahead of BLM’s permit finalization.

The Mermaid Hole culvert has caused and may cause more damage once canal water is released. Dr. Jim Irwin offered to help with bridging and other improvements. Discussed solutions with inquiries to be made with BLM and county.

Shooting Range: John spoke with Commissioner Charlie Howell and will ask to push the Jerome county location ahead of the others three locations BLM was considering. John indicated he has resources to build shooting benches and carpet to protect weapons. Suggesting a design with shorter ranges: twelve 100 yard benches, six 200 yard benches and the possibility of 300 yards on the side. Jerome will get a grader and work with the county on getting crushed gravel and a firing line. John is working with Union Pacific to get switching plates to use as footings for target stands. The grant to do the feasibility study will be started by Fish & Game. John thinks it will be at least a year before BLM would start assessing the other locations and John recalls Codie at BLM indicating this area would not need a permit.

Trail Bridge to Overlook: Brenda shared her discussion with Randal at IDL on land for a trail from the bridge to the overlook including a 25-year recreation lease and SRCP bidding on the grazing right when it comes up next year.

Cattleguard filled with snow recently and cattle came onto Highway 93. Discussion who is responsible; Brenda will inquire with BLM.

Volunteer Service Awards, Off-Roaders: Brenda will set up with Gerald to give him his. Ask Greg Moore about the Off-Roaders with consideration to present on May 18th at their annual clean-up.

Five Year Plan: Brenda presented this priority list to go to County Commissioners and will write a letter for Commissioners to send the BLM in supporting priority.

  1. Yingst Grade Trail
  2. Shoshone Falls Overlook
  3. Rock Crawling Area Course
  4. Equestrian Campground on 700 E
  5. Zuck Arbor Expansion
  6. Future Primitive Campgrounds
  7. Equestrian ¼ Mile New Trail
  8. Dog Park
  9. Springtown Wildlife Trail