River recreationists lashed out against parking restrictions implemented by landowners in Flying Heart Ranch on Tuesday, as the Blaine County commissioners weighed their next steps in restoring easy access to the Big Wood River north of Hailey.
The board has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 4 p.m. to hash out the issue. But they got a preview during a meeting this morning as some 30 members of the public showed up for the one item on the agenda.
“Everybody wants us to take a stand, and fight for public access,” Commissioner Jacob Greenberg told the room. “To me, public access means public parking. In no way will I sign any document that gives away rights we have to access that area, or any other area.”
That means that a proposal from Flying Heart’s homeowners association to establish a parking area closer to state Highway 75 on Aspen Lakes Drive likely won’t be enough to appease the board—or its vocal constituents who frequent the river.
After a 45-minute executive session to meet with county attorney Tim Graves, Greenberg and Commissioner Dick Fosbury instructed him to make a counter-offer: two designated parking areas, immediately adjacent to the public easements laid out in Flying Heart’s 40-year-old plat. (Commissioner Angenie McCleary was absent.)
“We heard the public comment,” Fosbury said. “People want to park reasonably close to the river access.”