Refuge wants your input for Deer Flat management

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - Could we soon see an end to swimming and water skiing on Lake Lowell? It could happen as soon as next year if wildlife managers choose one of four options.

But they want to hear from the public before deciding on its 15-year-plan.

People use Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge for all sorts of things. Some like to get away from it all and enjoy the peaceful solitude of nature. Others like to take their boat out on Lake Lowell.

One of the plans would implement strict boating rules. The other would ease the restrictions out there right now.

But boating is not the only thing on the line. Wildlife managers also have to decide on when and where people can hunt, swim, hike, bike, and fish.

The National Wildlife Refuge system has six "must-do's" in any plan they carry out.

"Hunting, fishing, wildlife photography, wildlife observation, education, interpretation, so those six are automatically allowed in any refuge. Any other use has to be appropriate and compatible with the purposes for that refuge," says Addison Mohler, a wildlife biologist at Deer Flat.

Boating is not included in this list, but refuge managers don't want to ban them. They are pushing a plan that leaves most of the reservoir open for boating.

"Well, you have to balance the public use and recreation with the needs of wildlife and often times, those conflict," says Mohler.

The wildlife refuge will be holding open houses for the public over the next two months at the visitor center. The times and dates are listed below.

March 29: 12pm - 3pm & 6pm - 9pm
March 30: 10am - 3pm
April 26: 12pm - 3pm & 6pm - 9pm
April 27: 10am - 3pm

You can read all of the plans by clicking here