Save The Plateau - Location and Maps

Historically, various animal species ranged freely across the state depending on their needs and the condition of the habitat during the various times of the year.
The larger mammals such as deer and elk, moved to higher elevations during the spring and summer in search of fresh food sources and cooler temperatures.
In the winter, with food sources buried by snow, and water sources frozen by cold, most animal species on the Boise Front migrated toward lower elevations. For big game this meant descending to the bottoms of the Boise River, traversing the southern desert to Deer Flat and the Snake River.
With time, the conversion of the Boise Valley to agricultural production, together with increases in population and other factors, have deprived deer and elk populations of much of their historic winter habitat. The absence of viable winter habitat leads to higher winter mortality rates and lower numbers of deer and elk.

In the winter, a large portion of the deer and elk population associated with the Boise front are now effectively trapped. They are driven south by the cold and snow associated with higher elevations to the north and east. They are driven east by the urban development in the valley to the west. Finally, the cliffs and reservoir associated with Lucky Peak Dam prevent them from moving farther to the south (Blue Line).

The only viable winter habitat left for much of the deer and elk populations of the Boise front is the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and Hammer Flat.

While the management area does a good job of providing necessary habitat, it has traditionally been tacitly assisted by the adjoining Hammer Flat area. That is why the successful preservation of Hammer Flat was so important.