Monday, February 2, 2015

Chamber Hears About Proposal to Elevate Craters to National Park

The Butte County Chamber of Commerce
January 14, 2014
Pickle’s Place
Draft Minutes
Attending:  Dan Buckley,  Rose Bernal, Jack Jensen, Karen Timb, Richard and Mary Dean, Katie Brownlie, Clay Condit, Shelly Rupp, Shelly Shaffer, Janet Thornock, Mia Hays, Melinda Shodin, Chad Cheyney

Call to order

Agenda approval/additions

Rose moved to permit the visitors to present before general business/ /Mia/ approved
Presentation: Craters of the Moon Status, Dan Buckley
Chad introduced Dan Buckley. Dan reviewed his career, and why he is the park superintendent. Has been here 3 years.  Dan spends his after-hours in the park hiking, biking, running and exploring.
He believes Craters is worthy of National Park status and could possibly help promote more tourism to the area. 
Dan is a friend of John Freeman, a BSU professor.  John has a good grip on the history of the effort to get park status for the Craters 
Dan has tried to work it through the NPS system a couple of times, but has not been able to get much traction in the bureaucracy. 
Dan met with Rocky Barker, reported for the Statesman, who is interested in helping get the Craters elevated to park status.  The effort gets some regional NPS support, but dies when it moves up the system.  Dan has also pushed it out to the congressional delegations.  Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are interested.  The delegations told him that that they must have local support to get it through.  Dan has made a presentation to the Butte Commissioners, and they indicated they are willing to write letter.
President Coolidge created the monument with the Antiquities Act, and thought that the monument would automatically be upgraded to a national park, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Before he came to the Craters, he first looked at Barnes and Noble for travel guides.  None of the travel guides even mentioned the Craters.  Without national park status, Rand McNally does not list any units of the NPS in Idaho, so people planning trips to national parks don’t see national parks in Idaho and never even know the Craters is here!
People “collect” national parks, and we could do a better job of promoting our state.  2016 year will be the 100thanniversary of the national of the park system, and people will be traveling to parks…making it a good time to bring attention to the Craters.
Dan noted that in the listening session that he participated in for the community review, local people would like to have low impact new industry.  We have a great tourist travel loops and Arco is poised as the gateway to take advantage of this to expand hospitality and recreational businesses.
What would it mean if the Craters were elevated to park status?  Dan has talked with superintendents from several NPS units that have been upgraded to parks.  It definitely increases the visual profile of the park.  It increased international visitors, as well as more “non-traditional” users more than 30% just by changing the name
Park fees are quite low right now.  There is an effort across the system to standardize fees, and it is likely that fees will rise a few dollars regardless of what happens with the name.  There are great deals for senior citizen who can get a lifetime pass for all the national parks for $10, as well as annual passes for others who use parks frequently, as well as other US fee areas, (e.g. Campground at the Mackay Reservoir.
Proposal under consideration:  Proposing that the original 54,000 acre monument become the “Craters of the Moon National Park”.  The “new” area, added several years ago would remain under the same management schemes.  There are actually three units with 3 different management schemes with 2 different agencies.  There would be NO BOUNDARY CHANGES, and no change in budget from the NPS.  The only change would be to the name of the unit. 
Dan is currently working with local land owners to develop a mountain bike path to the N of the park, and is looking for bike route back to Arco, so mountain bikers could stay in town more easily.
No ATVs or OHVs are permitted off the road in the monument or the wilderness, but these are permitted on designated travel routes in the two sections of the Preserve.
Centennial Celebration of National Park System is partly targeted to connect to “millennials” (18-34 year-olds).  Millennials like to come to places where they can do activities, e.g. hiking or mountain biking.
Camping is permitted in the monument in designated areas, and one can get a free permit to use and camp in the wilderness.  There has been some discussion of expanding on facility camping, but NPS does not want to compete with local RV parks.  There has also been discussion of providing “walk-in” tent camping closer to the end of the road.
Dan said that his favorite visitor comment about the Craters is, “The best national park that nobody knows about!”  He has heard numerous visitors say, “I stopped for a hour, and stayed for 5 hours”
Chad asked if there were any downsides to the proposal.  Dan thought this might include increased traffic and the possibility that it could make the area a more desirable place to live, could raising property values.  No one present seemed to think that these would be a problem!
 Clay asked about whether there were some kind of presentation that they could put up at the Museum, and Dan indicated that the Craters would work with them.
Dan is the NPS representative on the Idaho Recreation and Tourist Initiative (IRTI).  Their next meeting is Feb 5th in Boise.  IRTI meets quarterly, and is currently working with ITD on getting “Peaks to Craters” terminus signs up.
Dan handed out the “Foundation Document” brochure that explains why the monument was created and the management priorities.
Katie moved that we write a letter of support / rose/ carries
Presentation:  Outdoor Equipment Swap, Karen Timb
Karen is would like to be the leader of the outdoor gear swap.  The activity would be an opportunity for buying, selling or trading of all kinds outdoor equipment, e.g., campers, boats, tents, small gear, headlamps, etc.

The venue will be the park, and vendors would have booths…

Advertising with be carried out in the usual way with flyers, posters, social media, newspaper and perhaps radio or TV advertising.

May was the first consideration, since there is a Memorial day bike rally.  Karen’s husband thought that it needed to be before Memorial day when people start outdoor recreating, so people could have their equipment.

Karen is suggesting no entry fee the first year to introduce the activity to the community. 

Karen did a hunters gear swap in Cody several times that was very successful. 

Chad asked if there was some way for an individual with a small item to participant.  Karen did not have away for individuals with a single item or small number of items to participate, but they could perhaps go together and have a booth.

Shelly Shaffer suggested possibly using the gym.  There was a discussion of how this would facilitate the activity earlier in the year and how large items could be out the back door of the gym.  Firearms might be one of the items to sell and some individual might come with personal side arms.  This could be an issue with the school.
Karen will go to city council with a  chamber member

Someone will consult with the school to see if this could be done in the elementary gym.
Tree Light Clean

2 pm Thursday
Treasurer’s report
Janet provided report:
Checking Account     $2895.44
Chamber Funds         $2654.93
Rodeo Fund                $  240.51

Annual Plan of Work
      Outdoor Swap
       Atomic Days
       Variety Show
       Annual Members Dinner
       Thanksgiving promotion
       Christmas promotion
        Christmas Lights
Melinda would like to have a evening when we could hammer out the plan of work.

Doodle a general meeting
Rose to table until work session along with min /Janet/ approve.

Chad is to Doodle pole about a work meeting
Approval of minutes

Jon Barrett – Community Review
Travel Advertising Group


Status of the Community Review and Community Teams

Discuss next meeting time and place.
Deli Sandwich Shop, February 11th?


Meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM
Chad moved to adjourn/ Rose / approved

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