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Nez Perce County Comprehensive Plan

SECTION 8

Parks and Recreation

PURPOSE OF THE PARKS, RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE ELEMENT

Parks and recreational opportunities are a major interest to the citizens of Nez Perce County. These opportunities also contribute to the economy of the area. Residents and visitors consider parks and recreational facilities a major factor for living or vacationing in Nez Perce County.

There is a great demand for outdoor recreation. Sufficient and easily accessible recreation areas are becoming a priority planning issue as communities grow, populations increase, and people devote more time to leisure activities.

Hells Gate Location Map

INVENTORY

Nez Perce County is fortunate to be located in an area that is favorable to many recreational pursuits. Within a maximum driving time of 1 ½ hrs. the opportunities exist for many types of recreational activity, ranging from hunting and fishing to golf, team sports, tennis, swimming, and simply hiking. Within easy distance of Nez Perce County, there are nearly seven million acres of Federal outdoor recreational lands and water areas in excess of 20,000 acres, and about 17,840 miles of multiple use trails.

Nez Perce County is the gateway to the Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area, set aside by Congress in December of 1975. For the hiker, hunter, fisherman, camper, and in general, any outdoor enthusiast there is an abundance of land, water, roads, and trails for their use and enjoyment. The public parks and recreation areas in the rural county are all owned and administered by private, state or federal agencies.

The largest parks in the county are Hell's Gate State Park along the Snake River south of Lewiston and the Nez Perce National Historical Park along the Clearwater River at Spalding. Hell's Gate State Park is administered by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Nez Perce National Historical Park is operated by the National Park Service.

Hell's Gate State Park has a boat ramp, camping and picnicking areas, and hiking and horse trails. The park at Spalding features picnicking as the primary form of outdoor recreation. The park also includes a museum of Nez Perce Indian artifacts and several restored pioneer buildings, including the cabin of Henry Spalding, the first missionary among the Nez Perce Indians.

The Bureau of Land Management maintains a recreation area along the Salmon River in Nez Perce County, with access by the Eagle Creek Road or by boat up the Salmon River. The area offers campsites, picnic tables, and beaches.

There are several beaches along the Snake River, south of Lewiston. These beaches provide boaters with opportunities for picnicking and day use.

Elk

Several recreational lakes and reservoirs are located within Nez Perce County, including Mann's Lake, Waha Lake, and Soldier's Meadow Reservoir. These waters are stocked annually with fish by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The Department of Fish and Game also maintains boat ramps along the Clearwater River at Lower Myrtle, Cherry Lane, and Lenore. The Nez Perce Tribe owns and maintains a boat ramp at Big Canyon Creek. A park located at Waha Lake provides visitors with day use and overnight camping facilities. The slackwater portions of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers at Lewiston, known as Lower Granite Reservoir, provide sail and power boating, swimming and fishing, and landscaped park activity areas along the levees at Lewiston.

Water Skiing

Nez Perce County owns and operates the Nez Perce County fairgrounds in the Lewiston Orchards and helps support the Lewiston Civic Theater and the Luna House Museum, also in Lewiston.

Within the cities and communities there exists other recreational opportunities, such as public parks, athletic facilities, sports programs, cultural programs, and commercial amusements. The City of Lewiston is the largest provider of these recreational programs.

FUTURE NEEDS ANALYSIS

Growth in Nez Perce County will affect park and recreational facilities. Improvements to current parks and recreational facilities will be a major factor in maintaining the quality of life in Nez Perce County.

Public shoreline access to the major rivers and creeks in the county could become a high priority issue in the future as adjacent land is privately developed. Opportunities for acquiring shoreline access points along the rivers for the citizenry should be considered.

PARKS AND RECREATION GOAL AND POLICIES

Goal Statement:

To develop and maintain a balanced system of recreational facilities and programs to optimum standards based on local needs and use.

Policies:

  1. Nez Perce County should encourage the development of a safe system of designated bicycle lanes and trails.
  2. Nez Perce County's recreational management efforts should emphasize maintenance and upkeep before considering development of new recreational facilities.
  3. Nez Perce County should promote the utilization of available recreational resources, but not beyond their long-term capacities in order to prevent degradation and loss of the resources.
  4. Nez Perce County should require that new recreational development plans include long-term maintenance of the facilities. These plans should include a descriptive financial section.
  5. If warranted by heavy use or abuse of particular recreational resources, Nez Perce County should institute control measures in a timely fashion to prevent irreversible damage to the resources.
  6. Nez Perce County should continue to support the development and operation of city sponsored recreational facilities and programs.

Parks and Recreation Strategy Chart

 

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