BOISE – After being closed to paragliders for the last year, an area near Hammer Flat in east Boise, called Crow Hill, will allow flights once again.
The area is just over the mountain from Lucky Peak, and is a prime piece of land for hang gliders.
"It's one of the best ridge soaring sights around for sure," said Patrick Harper, a pilot who pushed for the special use permit.
For more than 30 years pilots would launch from Crow's Gliding Hill near Hammer Flat. But that came to a standstill in December of 2011 when the city of Boise sold the land to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to provide mule deer a winter range. As a consequence of that sale, paragliding and other activities were prohibited.
"So we had to work with folks to figure out how to go about that process and it took a bit of time," said Jerry Deal with Idaho Fish and Game.
But it's finally happened. Patrick Harper and a group of other pilots approached Fish and Game to hear their case.
"Working with the Fish and Game has been great. They've been a great help," said Harper.
The pilots agreed to play by Fish and Game's rules.
"Although this isn't something we would typically approve on most of our areas, it is a unique area and we were convinced of that," said Deal.
It's because of that unique nature and the argument made by the pilots that Fish and Game agreed to a one-year special use permit.
Here are the details: Only 15 pilots at any given time can take off from the area just off the Highland Valley Road entrance point. The area will be opened from May 1, 2013, to Nov. 15, 2013.
"It's kind of nice to have, just to have the access back," said Harper.
Harper said the agreement is a win, win.
"We believe in Hammer Flat. We're glad it's not a development. We're glad that it's a wildlife management area, we're just very lucky to be flying there again," said Harper.
While it's not part of the permit agreement, many pilots will volunteer and help Fish and Game plant bitter and sage brush next to the gliding hill. That happens Saturday at 8 a.m.