The ground in question is the triangular shaped area bounded by U.S. Highway 93, Interstate Highway 84, and the Snake River Canyon. It is actually a Park called Snake River Canyon Park. It is mostly BLM land that has been leased for 25 years to Jerome County. This happened back in 2004 to prevent it from being developed. There is some Idaho State land, and a few small spots of privately owned land (see map) included in the “triangle”, but it is mostly BLM land, and all of the leased BLM land is under the control of the Jerome County Commissioners.
The two big user groups are “Family Recreational Shooters” and “All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)” enthusiasts. There has been an ongoing battle about how to develop this land ever since the lease was signed. There was an expensive study done by a company from “back East” which included inputs from local residents. Even though shooters and ATV enthusiasts (the two largest user groups) gave input, it was ultimately decided that for safety reasons shooting must be eliminated, and “off-roading” greatly curtailed. This did not set well with the shooters and ATV enthusiasts since they comprise the largest user groups on this land. Ever since the lease was signed there have been no developments, and no changes to land use for two important reasons: 1) There has never been any money available from the Jerome County budget to do anything with it, and 2) nobody has had the nerve to kick out the two biggest user groups.
Back when I was a boy the population was much smaller, so there were a lot fewer shooters using the land. Off road vehicles with four-wheel drive were not even around except for the occasional Jeep. It was essentially safe to shoot wherever you wanted to. Times have changed. We now have a lot more people using this land for shooting, and many people enjoying their off-road vehicles. This greatly increased multiple use has created a safety problem, and the main reason I am trying to establish this Association.
The “Off-Road” folks are already organized and speak with one voice when talking with the Jerome County Commissioners. They actually have two organizations. The Magic Valley ATV Riders, Inc., and Southern Idaho Off-Road Association. They are both great groups. They are the folks that show up once a year to clean up the Park. They haul away many tons of trash including quite a bit left by shooters. Many of them also enjoy Family Recreational Shooting.
The “Shooters”, on the other hand, are not organized—YET. We need to get organized and speak with one voice to help guide the Jerome County Commissions as to what people want to make it safer for all the users, and we need to help out on the annual cleanup.