Snake River Canyons Park Board

Open Meeting Minutes

Thursday, December 14, 2023

19th Hole Restaurant, Jerome Country Club

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

Guests: Aaron Utz with Idaho Power, Jerome Commissioner Art Watkins, and Rebecca Wildman taking minutes.

Bill called the meeting to order at 11:05 a.m. with a quorum present. Introductions were made and Bill announced that Mark Reyes has been appointed as a SRCP board member.

Minutes: November 9, 2023, minutes were reviewed. Steve moved to approve, Sue second, minutes approved.

Treasurers Report: No changes as no money was spent.

RV Park: Solar light is fixed; it was out due to a power outage caused by moisture. Inform Sue of any new issues as they may be covered under warranty. Corrals construction will start after the winter season as the backcountry horsemen want to be involved, and they are busy helping the forest service now.

Regarding tent camping development, Sue shared Gerald Martens’ grading estimate of $96,500 which doesn’t include the lumber needed to create defined campsites. Grading estimate is $5,500 with $70,800 for aggregate and base material. State grants for developing tent camping are not available as there is no revenue associated with tent camping. Sue is inquiring about camping supply firms (i.e. Coleman) that may offer funding, but it likely will need to come from donations; perhaps $10k per unit donations. Considered a long-term project due to funding. The second vault toilet will be installed near the Morley Arbor in March, and it will service tent campers. Funding for this vault toilet comes out of the RV camp grant.

Tracy McKim, Jerome County Clerk, went over their accounts regarding the two grants that funded the RV camp. Of the $348,741 granted, $256,419.89 has been spent, and likely will need funds to regrade Morley arbor area. Of the remaining $92,321.11 available from the grants, Sue estimates that we will have another $30,000 in expenses to complete the project.  Some funds will be needed to regrade the Morley Arbor parking lot.  Funds from both grants will be available until June 2024. Any unused funds from the RV grants , can’t be used for th tent camping project.  Sue noted that two invoices (about $8k) were charged to the park and should have gone through the grant and are now paid and assigned to the right account. Sue asked for invoices related to the RV Camp to run through her so she can reconcile.

Website: Jerome County IT will take over all website management soon.

Broken Bridge Completed: Concrete was poured Monday, and the new bridge is primarily complete with its rails up and being utilized by hikers and bikers. The Snake River is still closed from the east side and SRCP has been asked to hold off on a public announcement until spring when subsequent quagga mussel sampling will be done. This delay will also give time for trail improvement. Gerald Martens said he’d finish the things the BLM needs to give SRCP its 20-year right of way. John sent the right of way application and Brenda completed the answers and will attach them to Gerald’s plan.

Steve will complete the restoration seed plan section from the application. Brenda said people are pulling weeds and hauling them out in trash bags and believes it is a friend of long-time park steward Carl Nellis. Brenda suggested getting volunteer groups to continue to help.

City of Twin Falls Park Director Wendy Davis said she didn’t get the SRCP’s previous invoice and Bill has re-sent it. Other funding will be coming in for trail grading, estimated around $50k. Bridge contractor Michael Walters from Wolftone has been paid to date. He will give Gerald a bid on further rock removal.

Bill and Jerome County Commissioners visited the bridge and Bill would like to see graffiti removed by sandblasting and address the functionality of rail lowering. Rail design is supposed to release and lower with pins and a padlock and now each rail has 4 bolts that will take hours to lower. Steve suggested confirming the construction is done to design specs and Bill will follow-up with Gerald. Bill will inquire with the Bureau of Reclamation how to be notified when water levels will run high.

Steve inquired of a plan to mitigate future graffiti cleanup and Bill said it falls under maintenance and on the list of things the SRCP will need to manage, adding the need for a maintenance budget and operator. Discussed security cameras, setups with adjacent base stations, apple trackers and game cameras.

Shooting Range: John Weston reported frustration on getting the feasibility study completed noting the Fish & Game’s grant deadline is June 2025. Extended discussion with what has occurred so far, what needs to happen to follow required procedure, and SRCP’s decision to run the shooting range or to let the BLM manage it. Suggested incorporating it into the 5-year plan to give SRCP oversite and keep it on BLM’s track.

Bill suggested getting in front of Jerome Commissioners to clarify that we have a F&G grant for a feasibility study and SRCP has a quote from a firm to complete it. The Commissioners can then submit it to the BLM with the plans, design, and area identified. Bill and Art will look to get on the Commissioner’s agenda and John will complete the application.

Steve suggested the Board decide if they support managing the range with discussion about potential revenue stream and insurance coverage provided by the county. The Board unanimously agreed they support the SRCP taking on the management of the range and Art requested a motion. Brenda made a motion for the SRCP Board to submit a request to the BLM to have a lease to run the shooting range as part of the park. Steve second. All voted in favor.

Overlook: Larry Hall is following through on tasks for the overlook with help from Commissioner Art Watkins. Civil Science will start its geotechnology drill testing next week.

5-year Plan: The subcommittee met November 16, 2023, to cover proposals from various user groups. Brenda compiled a report she shared showing the subcommittee’s work dividing the park into regions from West to East: 1) Auger Falls Parcel, 2) West Parce, 3) East Parcel – West of 700 Road, 4) East Parcel – East of 700 Road, 5) Hansen Bridge Parcel, and 6) Canyon Rim finding that most proposals fit nicely within the master plan. The committee identified projects if they need to be submitted to BLM for approval or not. The last pages are a spreadsheet of proposals with estimates as to priority and year. Suggested adding the shooting range to the East of 700 Road.

Asked for Board review, particularly with years identified for priority. Steve asked if areas are predicated on funding, some are. Brenda added the rock crawling only needs signage for roads/trails and that SRCP would just assist their proposal to the BLM. Also noted some timelines pushed later as there wasn’t a proposal submitted yet (i.e. the dog park).

Discussion about SRCP making changes on priority, timeline, requirements, and discussion on reserving the right to set standards, approve activities and events, charge fees, noting safety, weeds, parking, toilets, etc. Additional discussion about use and conflicts of use, for example between rock crawlers and equestrians in adjacent or overlap areas, adding that users have different utilizations and challenges the board should be prepared to address. Brenda will create a cover letter explaining this is a working document, can be changed, and does not guarantee dates and/or usage. Suggested using a Gnatt Chart to helps with project planning.

Speaking: Bill is speaking to the Twin Falls morning Rotary in January and asked for suggestions for other groups. Discussed mountain biking groups, school groups, Parks & Rec resources, etc.

Security: Corral panels are knocked over, but otherwise few issues.

Newspaper Articles: Sue will write one about the RV park and desire to develop tent camping. Broken Bridge replacement article will be coming up too.

SRCP Outstanding Service Award: Sue requested nominations for a person or group for outstanding volunteer service to the park.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

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