Boundary County, Idaho



This Comprehensive Plan is a policy document of Boundary County, developed by interested citizens and refined by appointed and elected county officials. It is not designed to establish nor carry the weight of law, but to enunciate data that defines this county and to guide the promulgation of local land use laws in conformance with the objectives defined herein so that development occurring now leads ultimately to the future envisioned by those in our community who participated in this process.

This plan is not, nor is it intended, to be precise. Rather, it serves to identify those multi-faceted attributes of the county that its citizens deem of importance, and to establish objectives by which to weigh those attributes.

During the course of developing this plan, it became clear that residents relatively new to Boundary County expect to have schools, roads, emergency services, utilities and a choice of places to live, work and shop. It is also clear that those who have long been residents of Boundary County value their independence and wish to retain their ability to use their land as befits they and their neighbors, with minimal or no governmental interference. It is hoped that this document fairly balances both points of view.

There are 14 chapters comprising this plan; chapters one through 12 provide data on the various topics studied, chapter 13, Land Use, establishes a basis for developing zone districts and chapter 14, Implementation, summarizes the data of the preceding chapters and establishes broad objectives.

Using this document as a foundation, the county will adopt and administer zoning and subdivision ordinances, which are more technical standards and procedures that will carry the weight of law. In administering those ordinances, Boundary County will be called upon to render quasi-judicial decisions, which generally affect one or a small group of property owners, and legislative decisions, which typically, but not always, affect a group of citizens and serve to establish or amend laws. When those ordinances direct decision makers to review this plan in rendering a quasi-judicial decision, a review of Chapter 14 should satisfy that requirement. When those ordinances direct a comprehensive review so as to render a legislative decision, a review of chapters 13 and 14 should suffice.

In addition to serving the duties of Boundary County government, this document is recommended to those wanting to learn more about Boundary County, and as a guide to those proposing to live, invest or develop in the county. In addition, this plan serves as a basis for coordinating efforts and fostering understanding on issues related to local growth and development.


Boundary County has traditionally been home to a proud, hard-working and independent people who worked with what was available to eke a living from an isolated and often inhospitable land. This legacy lives today, and people here ask and expect little from government except the freedom to pursue their livelihoods and happiness with minimal interference. Boundary County recognizes and respects this spirit of independence.

It is also recognized that those attracted to this area by those very attributes expect county government to assure them basic levels of service and assurance that those attributes that brought them here will be protected.

Boundary County government recognizes that some land use regulation is necessary, but that it is not its place to deny through excessive regulation the right of any property owner the opportunity to use their land in their own best interest.

Instead, Boundary County government trusts in the wisdom of its citizens and their desire to be good neighbors to protect and preserve those values we all hold dear.

Boundary County policy is not to overly regulate the rights of individual property owners, but to welcome ideas and initiative and to foster open discourse, such that all concerns may be heard and considered so as to achieve a balance that serves the diverse interests of all.

Through the development of this Comprehensive Plan, Boundary County recognizes the following:

That Boundary County government serves the will and interests of its citizens; that those citizens have the right to enjoy use of their property as well as the assurance that laws established will be applied equally and without bias;

That the desire expressed by those who participated in this process is to live in a sparsely populated, relatively undeveloped agricultural community, surrounded by an unspoiled forested countryside.

That the citizens of Boundary County value the intangible assets that our natural surroundings provide; wide swaths of farm and forest dotted here and there with a home or a farmstead; land abundant in wildlife, good water and fertile soils, open to the beauty of the night sky. That when help is needed, it is neighbors who will be there first;

That the natural resources of Boundary County are finite;

That most citizens of Boundary County, but not all, have need of roads, water and other amenities so as to enable them to live comfortably;

That the citizens of Boundary County must have the means to earn a living to support themselves and their families, and that the citizens of this county, through their own initiative, education, talent and skill, are the best arbiters in determining the economic needs of Boundary County and their place in it;

That the government of Boundary County, Idaho, by virtue of jurisdiction and powers granted by the State of Idaho, has the authority and obligation to establish local land use law sufficient to achieve the objectives established herein.

Boundary County will discharge its obligation reasonably and fairly, imposing the least restriction needed to attain the goals established by this Comprehensive Plan.


1.1. The rights of property ownership in the United States are established in the Declaration of Independence, which establishes “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

1.2. The Declaration of Independence also establishes, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The United States Constitution, “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,” setting the form of federal government to be established.

1.3. Amendment 5 of the Bill of Rights ends with, “… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

1.4. Article 1, Section 1 of the Idaho State Constitution defines the inalienable rights of man, stating, “All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.”

1.5. Article 1, Section 14 of the Idaho Constitution establishes that “Private property may be taken for public use, but not until a just compensation, to be ascertained in the manner prescribed by law, shall be paid therefor.”

1.6. Government actions which violate Article 1, Section 14, are classed as regulatory takings, to include local land use ordinances or decisions which unjustly deprive a property owner the use of property.

1.7. Title 67, Chapter 65, the “Local Land Use Planning Act,” establishes regulations by which a local jurisdiction may establish land use regulation, including provisions for public hearings on certain proposals, wherein adjoining property owners are sent notice of the proposal and everyone who might be affected may be heard, so that decisions made consider the rights not only of the applicant, but of other property owners as well.

1.8. Title 67, Chapter 80, Idaho Code, was drafted, “to establish an orderly, consistent review process that better enables state agencies and local governments to evaluate whether proposed regulatory or administrative actions may result in a taking of private property without due process of law.”

1.9. IC 67-8003 assures all owners of real property in the State of Idaho who may be victim of a regulatory taking the right to avail themselves of this review process by requesting a regulatory takings analysis within 28 days of the final decision concerning the matter at issue.

1.10. In December, 2003, the Idaho Attorney General, as directed by IC 67-8003, published the “Idaho Regulatory Acts Guidelines,” to more finely define property rights and establish an administrative procedure for review. Those guidelines also establish a checklist so as to analyze whether a governmental land use action constitutes a regulatory taking. While a question may be answered affirmatively, it does not mean there has been a taking, but rather that there could be a constitutional issue and that the proposed action should be carefully reviewed. The questions on that checklist are:

1.10.1. Does the regulation or action result in either a permanent or temporary occupation of private property?

1.10.2. Does the regulation or action require a property owner to either dedicate a portion of property or to grant an easement?

1.10.3. Does the regulation deprive the owner of all economically viable uses of the property?

1.10.4. Does the regulation have a significant impact on the landowner’s economic interest?

1.10.5. Does the regulation deny a fundamental attribute of ownership?

1.10.6. A. Does the regulation serve the same purpose that would be served by directly prohibiting the use or action? B. Does the condition imposed substantially advance that purpose?

1.11. Title 67, Chapter 52, Idaho Code, establishes the right of judicial review by those aggrieved by a final agency action, to include the office of the zoning administrator, the planning and zoning commission and Boundary County Commissioners, a process by which to assure that actions of that agency are in compliance with Idaho Code.


2.1. PHYSIOGRAPHY: Three mountain ranges dominate the geography within Boundary County; to the west lie the Selkirk Mountains, to the northeast the Purcells and to the Southeast the Cabinet Mountains. All lie within the Kaniksu National Forest, managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Separating these ranges are deeply silted valleys, resulting mostly from glacial sedimentation occurring as recently as 11,000 years ago. In some areas, silt deposits resulting from glaciation reach as far as 900 feet below ground surface. By far the largest land feature in Boundary County is the broad Purcell Trench, which extends south from the Canadian border to the Rathdrum Prairie, now in Kootenai County. Round Prairie, a narrow valley through the Purcells, extends from Copeland northeast toward Eastport, ending at Robinson Lake. The Moyie River is another narrow valley extending from Eastport south to Moyie Springs. Paradise Valley extends northeast from Naples to Crossport, consisting mainly of lowlands, and the North Bench rises above the Kootenai River from Three Mile to Moyie Springs. These features generally define the topography and use of lands subject to the jurisdiction of Boundary County, as defined by this Comprehensive Plan. Natural resources within Boundary County include numerous surface water bodies, high-quality groundwater, a variety of native plant species, rich agricultural soils, many species of native and introduced fish and abundant wildlife. Economic mineral deposits are also present, though less abundant. The resources are further described in the following sections.

2.2. SURFACE WATER: Boundary County is part of the Upper Columbia River Basin. Within the county, there are six sub-basins; the Upper Kootenai, Lower Kootenai, Moyie, Pend Oreille Lake, Priest, and Pend Oreille. These sub-basins include several watersheds which drain into the Moyie River in the northeast, the Kootenai River through the center of the county, Priest Lake to the west, Lake Pend Oreille to the south, and into the Pend Oreille River from the northwestern tip of Boundary County. Boundary County does not hold a surface water resource dominant to the area, but holds water resources sufficient to accommodate development. Data on aquifers is limited. Well logs are available, but vary widely in depth and output, while one well will provide copious flows at modest depth, another only feet away may provide meager or no flow, even at extensive depth. As a result, several water districts and associations have been formed to provide domestic water (see Public Services, Facilities and Utilities). The most prominent surface water resources in Boundary County are, in order of importance; rivers, streams and creeks, lakes and wetlands. The following are descriptions of major surface water bodies within Boundary County:

2.2.1. Kootenai River: The Kootenai River is the most prominent water body in Boundary County, originating in the Kootenay National Park, north of Mount Assiniboine in British Columbia, Canada, and flowing 485 miles south through the Rocky Mountain Trench into the Lake Kookanusa reservoir created by the installation of the Libby Dam, Lincoln County, Montana, in the early 1970s. The Kootenai River now flows westward from the Libby Dam through a gap between the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains into north Idaho at Leonia, and through the Kootenai Canyon west of Katka into Bonners Ferry. The river then veers northward, entering the Kootenai Valley after transiting the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, exiting Boundary County at Porthill and finally emptying into Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada. Prior to the installation of the Libby Dam, the Kootenai River typically flooded low elevations every spring, laying down rich silt deposits which produced much of the prime agricultural ground lying north of Bonners Ferry. The Kootenai River is the second largest tributary in the Columbia River system in terms of runoff volume, but only six-percent of the river’s length lies in Boundary County. It is Boundary County’s longest river and the most voluminous in terms of stream flow. The United States portion of the watershed is mostly forested, but a wide swath of cultivated agricultural land borders the river on both sides from Bonners Ferry northward to Canada.

2.2.2. Libby Dam: The Libby Dam was completed in 1972, forming 90-mile-long Lake Kookanusa, which extends into British Columbia. Libby Dam was built to provide electrical power and control annual flooding. Recently, it has also been used to protect indigenous species native to the Kootenai River and the Columbia River by mimicking natural stream flows. Features: Major tributaries below Libby Dam include the Fisher and Yaak Rivers in Montana and the Moyie River in Boundary County. The 56-mile river segment between Libby Dam and the Moyie River has limited flood plain due to the closeness of surrounding mountains and flow within the constricted Kootenai Canyon. In the 5.1 miles between the confluence of the Moyie and the City of Bonners Ferry, river depth is typically less than 27-feet, with mostly gravel substrate. The average gradient is approximately 0.3 percent and the velocity approaches 1.8 miles per hour. Between Bonners Ferry and the confluence of Kootenay Lake, the river slows by approximately 0.1 percent and the river deepens to an average of 37 feet, with pools of up to 95 feet. Dikes and channels have affected the natural flow of the Kootenai River from the 1890s on. The character of the Kootenai River dramatically changes from a bedrock-dominant subsurface in Montana to a silt/clay subsurface in Bonners Ferry, the result of glacial damming during the Pleistocene era, which filled surrounding valleys with sediment, including fine silts, glacial gravels and boulders. As a result, an extensive network of marshes, tributary side channels and sloughs were formed downriver from Bonners Ferry, laying down a natural flow of seasonal sediment that formed the prime agricultural land that currently exists along the valley floor. Today, the longest block of agricultural land in Boundary County lies along the Kootenai River north of Bonners Ferry to the Canadian border, with production of wheat and barley accounting for 62% of the agricultural output of the Boundary County/Creston area. Flows: The volume of water in the Kootenai River fluctuates greatly along its length and in different seasons. At the Kootenai Tribal Hatchery, located just down river from the City of Bonners Ferry, the mean annual flow ranges from 5,240 cubic feet per second in February to a high of 21,970 cfs in June. At Copeland, the mean ranges from 7,176 cfs in March to 39,300 cfs in June, and at Porthill, the low annual mean is 7,701 cfs in March and the high is 38,940 in June. Flooding: Much of the Kootenai River was studied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the development of flood plain maps establishing 100 and 500 year flood plain, but because of the Libby Dam and the extensive diking system, these areas were not sufficiently studied to develop base flood levels.

2.2.3. Moyie River: The Moyie River originates in the Purcell Mountains northwest of Moyie, British Columbia, and traverses Boundary County from near Eastport south to its confluence with the Kootenai River, its course closely followed by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Moyie River Road. The Moyie River Hydroelectric Dam, first licensed in 1949 by the City of Bonners Ferry, lies immediately north of the City of Moyie Springs, and provides electricity to the City of Bonners Ferry and a small portion of land within the jurisdiction of Boundary County. The Moyie River Dam is 92-feet in height, located immediately upstream from the Moyie Falls, which descends 40-feet, and is designed to divert water from intakes at the powerhouse to re-enter the stream below the falls. In addition to electrical generation, the Moyie Dam is also a scenic attraction, viewed from Highway 2 from a turnout above the Moyie Bridge. Flooding: The Moyie River in high water years has over-flowed its banks, but property damage is typically minimal. The most flood-prone area is in Eastport south to Good Grief. This area has been mapped by FEMA and base flood elevations established. Due to mostly deep river channel as the Moyie River travels south to its confluence with the Kootenai River, much of the length of the Moyie River has not been mapped. Flows: Like the Kootenai, the Moyie River varies greatly in flow with season., from a low month mean of 97.9 cfs in September to a high of 3,078 cfs in May, measured at Eastport.

2.2.4. Named Creeks and Streams/Watersheds: Surrounded by the Selkirk, Purcell and Cabinet Mountains with elevations peaking at approximately 6,000-feet and snow packs lasting year-round, Boundary County accommodates an abundance of creeks of various lengths and water volumes flowing throughout the year. Most have a rapid stream flow due to steep slopes of the mountains. Almost all empty into the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers, with most water exiting Boundary County into Canada and eventually into the Columbia River system and the Pacific Ocean. Many of the creeks in Boundary County were studied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and flood zones established in maps prepared in August, 1982, which depict 100 and 500 year flood plains, stream channels, and on most, the base flood level. The list of named creeks and lakes is included at Appendix I.

2.2.5. Wetlands: Overview: Wetlands are defined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as “those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetland generally include swamps (sloughs), marshes, bogs and similar areas.” Wetlands also include areas that are dry during part of the year, including but not limited to bottomland forests, bogs, wet meadows and ponds, all scattered throughout the valleys and bottomlands of Boundary County and fed by the area’s rivers, creeks and precipitation. Much of the wetlands within the county have been designated and are managed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA, however, other wetlands exist which have not been designated. Identified wetlands are included on the digital zoning map maintained by the zoning administrator. Protection: Wetlands are protected due to their importance in providing food and protection to fish, wildlife and waterfowl. They also act as natural water storage areas during floods and storms by retaining high waters, act as water recharge areas for underlying or nearby aquifers, and purify water by filtering and removing pollutants. Methods exist to recognize and designate wetlands. The most common include recognizing low spots in a flood plain where water stands at or above the soil surface for part of the growing season, locating areas that support plant communities that commonly grow in wetlands for at least part of the growing season, and identifying soils called peats or mucks. Development: Wetlands are protected under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and the Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with administration. Prior permitting is required when the elimination or alteration of wetlands is intended. These include the placement of fill, certain ditching activities, levee and dike construction, mechanized land clearing, land leveling and most road and dam construction. Construction of structures waterward of the ordinary high water mark of the Kootenai River from Bonners Ferry north to the Canadian border require permits under Section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1899. This includes disposal of dredging materials, excavation, filling, channel alteration, bank protection, including riprap, revetment and bulkheads, or any other modification of a “navigable water of the United States.” Structures covered by this section include recreational docks of any size, floating or fixed, to the largest commercial undertaking, such as wharfs, weirs, breakwaters, jetties, permanent mooring structures including pilings, aerial or underwater transmission lines, intake or outfall pipes, permanently moored floating vessels, tunnels, artificial canals, boat ramps, aids to navigation and any other permanent or semi-permanent construction.

2.3. VEGETATION: Boundary County is home to a diverse range of native plants. It is also highly suitable the production of agricultural crops.

2.3.1. Forests: Boundary County forests are a traditional foundation of the Boundary County economy and occur in wide ranges on both private and publicly owned land throughout the county. On public land, most forest areas are managed as a renewable resource for the production of lumber and wood products. In addition to native trees, silvicultural production in local nurseries has become an increasingly important facet of the local economy.

2.3.2. Local forests are primarily conifer with a wide array of species. Forest Service lands within Boundary County comprise 413,000 acres, and predominant conifer species and the percentage of occurrences are: Sub-Alpine fir: 37.5% Lodgepole pine: 18% Douglas fir: 16.9% Western larch: 9.5% Western cedar: 7.3% Grand fir: 6.1% Ponderosa pine: 1.5% White pine: 1.3% White bark pine: 1%

2.3.3. Hardwoods and Shrubs: Predominant species of hardwoods and shrubs in Boundary County include maple, alder, serviceberry, snowbush, ocean spray, honeysuckle, huckleberry, syringa, choke cherry, wild rose, thimbleberry, willow, elderberry, mountain ash and snowberry. In addition, there are considerable occurrences of kinnikinnick, twin bells, Oregon grape, wild strawberry, ferns and a multitude of native grasses.

2.3.4. Sensitive/Endangered Species: According to the National Forest Service, there are no sensitive or endangered plant species native to Boundary County.

2.3.5. Agricultural: Boundary County possesses rich and productive agricultural lands, largely resulting from millennia of flooding and resultant silt left by the Kootenai River. These lands produce a variety of agricultural products, including wheat, oats, barley and other grains, hops, alfalfa and other hay and forage crops. In addition to prime agricultural land, most of Boundary County is suited for smaller scale agricultural production of truck and vegetable crops, and family gardens abound in the community.

2.3.6. Noxious Weeds: Several species of invasive plants considered noxious weeds have been introduced in Boundary County. Boundary County, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Idaho Department of Lands actively work to eradicate or slow their spread.

2.4. SOILS:

2.4.1. Agriculture: Farming: About 68,000 acres in the survey area is used for crop production, hay and pasture. Major crops are spring wheat, winter wheat, oats, barley, alfalfa, clover seed and canola. Ornamental nursery and irrigated hops make up a small but significant acreage. Most of the prime cropland is located on the Kootenai River flood plain, which has been drained and protected from flooding by a system of ditches, pumps and levees. The remainder of the cropland and most of the hayland and pasture is located on the high benches of cleared forest land, with some pasture located on wet bottom lands and meadows along the major creeks of the area. The average size of individual farms and ranches is about 300 acres. Timber: Timber production is carried out both by individual landowners and large timber companies. The majority of prime timberland, but not all, lies on federal and state land and is managed for multiple timber resources. Large corporate timberland tracts range in size from 1,000 to over 10,000 acres. Grazing: Livestock grazing is becoming more important to the area’s economy. Livestock operations include cow-calf or beef enterprises, generally fewer than 100 head. Some large timber companies lease out their cutover timberlands for livestock grazing, and some of the federal and state lands are likewise leased. General Soil Map Units: The 2005 General Soils Map of Boundary County, produced by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, shows nine generalized map units, each consisting of several named soils series. Soil types are extremely diverse in Boundary County, with mapping of a total of 201 different soil series. Because of its small scale, the map is not suitable for planning the management of a farm or field or for selecting a site for a road, building or other structure. Detailed soil maps included in the survey can be used to determine the suitability and potential of a unit for specific uses, and can be used to plan the management needed for those uses.


2.5.1. Overview: Fisheries and related activities are vital components of our larger natural resource management interest. In developing this Natural Resource component of the Comprehensive Plan, it is recognized that fisheries are only a part of an ecosystem dependent on bio-diversity, and that all parts of our ecosystem are directly and significantly impacted by land use and other human activities. Fishing: Boundary County currently provides a range of recreational sport fishing opportunities. The health and population of fish vary greatly from species to species and from habitat to habitat. Fishing opportunities exist in back country lakes, fast-flowing trout streams and natural lowland lakes, with more than 30 fish species in Boundary County, identified by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and fisheries biologists at the Kootenai Tribal Hatchery, listed at Appendix II.

2.5.2. Rare/Endangered Species: Boundary County’s fisheries are fragile. Several species are either classed as rare or endangered, and some, including the white sturgeon, bull trout, burbot and westslope trout, may be near extinction.


2.6.1. Overview: A diverse array of wildlife species are found in Boundary County. Most species are native and are present in sufficient numbers that they are viable over the long term with proper management and adequate habitat protection. Since only a very small portion of Boundary County is urbanized, nearly every parcel of land in the county currently provides habitat for one or more species of wildlife. Consequently, nearly every land use decision could and will likely have some impact on wildlife. In addition to many healthy populations of wildlife species, both game and non-game, Boundary County is home to six species of wildlife that are classified as either threatened or endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). These species and their habitats have certain legal protections under the ESA wherever they occur. Additionally, Boundary County is home to 32 species of “Special Status Vertebrates” (Idaho Conservation Data Center information system). These are species that for one reason or another are at some risk of losing long-term viability. The six threatened or endangered species are included in the Special Status Vertebrates classification. Wildlife and wildlife associated recreation are important to the custom and culture of this mostly rural community. Wildlife associated recreation, primarily hunting and viewing, are also important economically to Boundary County. The majority of land area in Boundary County, roughly 74-percent, is owned and managed by federal and state governmental agencies. In most instances, especially where threatened or endangered species are concerned, the respective agencies address the needs of wildlife in their management plans. For the most part, land at low elevations is privately owned, and land above about 3,000 feet is owned by state and federal government. Wildlife occupies both lowland and upland habitats and some move freely between these areas.

2.6.2. Classification of Wildlife: All wildlife in Idaho is classified under Idaho Administrative Code IDAPA 13.01.06. It is important to recognize that this classification is not consistent with federal classifications for some species. For instance, the gray wolf is classified under the ESA as an endangered species, while Idaho classes the gray wolf as a big game animal. Big Game Animals (IDAPA Boundary County is home to eight of the 11 species of big game animals found in the state of Idaho. Hunting of big game is an important aspect of local custom and culture, and contributes significantly to the local economy. Big game hunting occurs on both public and private land in Boundary County. Most big game species winter primarily on private property at lower elevations. Changing land uses over the past several decades have impacted big game habitats, migration routes and forage ranges, and it is anticipated that such change will continue and impact big games species into the future. Common names for big game animals occurring in Boundary County are: Mule deer, whitetail deer, Rocky Mountain elk, moose, mountain lion, mountain goat, black bear, and gray wolf. Upland Game Animals (IDAPA The only upland game animal that occurs in Boundary County is the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). Although they can be found throughout Boundary County, snowshoe hares occur mostly at mid to higher elevations and primarily on lands under federal, state or timber company ownership. At present, very few hunters pursue snowshoe hares. They are an important prey species for forest carnivores. Game Birds: Upland Game Birds: Native upland game birds that occur in Boundary County are three species of forest grouse; ruffed grouse, blue grouse and spruce grouse. Ruffed grouse occur throughout the county but are most abundant at lower elevations and are the most likely of the three species to be found on private property. Blue grouse and spruce grouse are found primarily at mid to higher elevations above 3,000 feet. Land above 3,000 feet in the county is mostly owned by federal or state agencies or by private timber companies.      Non-native upland game birds found in Boundary County are Merriams turkey, ring-necked pheasant and California quail. These all occur primarily on or adjacent to agricultural ground throughout Boundary County. Currently, only the Merriams turkey is present in sufficient numbers to maintain a self-sustaining long term population. Merriams turkeys are abundant throughout the lower elevations. Lack of winter habitat causes turkeys to flock up in large numbers on farms where people are feeding livestock. Large parcels with abundant winter forage and habitat are more conducive to turkey viability than are small parcels where livestock is raised and forage limited. Ring necked pheasants and California quail are very susceptible to hard winters and clean farming practices. The recent establishment of three wildlife areas, the Smith Creek and Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Areas and the Ball Creek Ranch, as well as the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge provide most of the pheasant and quail habitat in the county. Migratory Game Birds: Migratory game birds found in Boundary County include ducks, geese, coots, snipes, swans, Sandhill cranes and mourning doves. For a complete list of species, see IDAPA Populations of migratory birds in the county fluctuate throughout the season as birds migrate to other areas for wintering or breeding. The majority of migratory bird habitat in the county is associated with the Kootenai River Valley and its associated wetlands and farm ground. Prior to diking the Kootenai River, in Idaho and British Columbia, the entire Kootenai Valley provided a vast expanse of wetland habitat for large numbers of migratory waterfowl. Draining the wetlands and flood prevention from the river dikes and Libby Dam eliminated nearly all of the wetland habitat within the Idaho portion of the Kootenai River Valley (approximately 35,000-40,000 acres). Relatively recent establishment of four wildlife management areas (McArthur WMA, Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Boundary Creek WMA and the Ball Creek Ranch) has resulted in the restoration of approximately 3,400 acres in Idaho’s portion of the Kootenai River Valley. Other areas that provide wetland habitat for migratory birds include the shorelines of most low elevation lakes, riparian areas along low elevation streams, and Round Prairie. Cereal grain production in the Kootenai Valley provides an important food source for migratory waterfowl. Furbearing Animals: (IDAPA There are 11 species of wildlife that are classified as furbearers in the state of Idaho, all of which can be found in the above IDAPA rule. All of these species occur in Boundary County. Historically, trapping of furbearing wildlife was important economically to the county. At present, fur trapping is done primarily for recreation. Most furbearer species presently occur here in sufficient numbers that they are considered to be viable and self-sustaining over the long term. Two species, the Canadian lynx and the fisher, are listed as special status vertebrates by the Idaho Conservation Data Center. Additionally, the Canadian lynx is listed federally as a threatened species. While federal, state and private timber lands provide the majority of habitat for lynx, fisher and pine martins, the other furbearing species; beaver, badger, red fox, mink, muskrat, otter, bobcat and raccoon are commonly found on private property. Negative impacts to these species from development include direct loss of habitat for beaver, otter, muskrat and mink. Additionally, beavers conflict with humans by cutting down ornamental trees, plugging road culverts and flooding property behind their dams. Idaho Fish and Game receives numerous complaints every year from people who have built homes in riparian areas and are now dealing with problems from beaver activity. Landowners often remove beaver dams on their own, which can result in downstream flooding. Protected non-game species: (IDAPA This IDAPA section deals with wildlife species that are not considered game mammals, game birds or furbearers but are protected to some degree by regulation. The rule also lists exceptions to this classification. Threatened or Endangered Species: (IDAPA This IDAPA subsection defines these species for Idaho. It is important to remember that wildlife classified under this subsection in some cases may not be consistent with federal threatened or endangered wildlife listings. When a conflict occurs, federal rules apply. A complete listing of these wildlife species can be found under the above IDAPA code. Boundary County is home to five species of terrestrial wildlife that are listed federally as threatened or endangered. Of these, the grizzly bear and gray wolf are the most likely to be impacted directly or indirectly by land use decisions on private property, though the gray wolf is anticipated to be de-listed in 2008. With the exception of large timber company holdings, woodland caribou and lynx habitat is found primarily on public lands. Bald eagle nesting and roost sites are commonly found on private property within the county, as is the majority of spring grizzly bear habitat. Impact to grizzly bears can be direct through loss of critical habitat, especially spring range, or indirect from increased human-bear conflict where development occurs within or adjacent to important grizzly bear habitat. Impacts on gray wolf populations would most likely be indirect as a result of impacts to prey species such as deer, elk or moose.


2.7.1. This section deals with economic deposits of rocks and minerals. Minerals are solid substances that occur naturally and are composed of specific atoms that are chemically bound together in a specific arrangement. Rocks are usually composed of a variety of minerals that are bound together either chemically or mechanically into a solid.

2.7.2. Mineral resources can be either metallic or non-metallic. Metallic minerals are divided into precious metals that are used in jewelry and some industrial applications, such as gold and silver, and base metals, such as zinc, copper and lead, which are used primarily for industrial purposes. Non-metallic minerals also have a variety of uses. An example is gypsum, which is used in making cement. Rock resources include such things as limestone, which is also used in making cement, phosphatic shale, used in making fertilizer, and various types of granite, sandstone and marble, which are used for building stone, statuary, etc. Sand and gravel deposits are also important rock deposits and are used extensively for road construction and in the building industry. Coal is often referred to as an “energy mineral,” though it is actually a type of rock.

2.7.3. The Northern Rocky Mountains are blessed with a great variety of valuable mineral resources. These are particularly abundant in Montana, but less significant resources have been found in Boundary County.

2.7.4. Regional Overview: Boundary County is bounded on three sides by important mining districts. The most important of these are the Sullivan District in southern British Columbia, the Coeur d’Alene District in Shoshone County, and the Butte-Anaconda and Troy Districts in northwestern Montana. Other important districts are located farther south and west in central and western Idaho. All of these areas have a geologic setting and geologic history that is highly favorable for the development of rich mineral deposits. The geology of Boundary County is less conducive to the formation of concentrated mineral deposits, particularly metallic minerals, which is the main reason that no highly productive districts have been discovered in Boundary County despite over 100 years of exploration. However, the geology of some portions of the county is somewhat similar to that in more productive areas, so there is still potential for future mineral discoveries.

2.7.5. Mineral Occurrence: Metallic minerals make up a large part of the resources of the Northern Rocky Mountains province. Both precious and base metals are present, but in northern Idaho, northwestern Montana and southern British Columbia, base metals seem to be better developed than precious metals. The most important minerals are lead, zinc and copper. Of the precious metals, silver is more abundant than gold. In most cases, two or more metallic elements occur together in the same rock so that most mines produce more than one type of resource. Non-metallic mineral resources are limited in the region. There are no important deposits of phosphatic shale, such as occur in southeastern Idaho, and neither limestone nor gypsum is present. There are also no occurrences of energy minerals such as coal or uranium. Sand and gravel deposits occur throughout the region and are an important resource, although many deposits tend to be somewhat limited in extent. There are several types of rock that make good building stone. These deposits are voluminous and constitute an important potential resource for the future.

2.7.6. Metallic Minerals: Table 1 (below) is a partial list of the mines that have operated in Boundary County over the years. Few, if any, of these mines are still active, but historical newspaper reports suggest that gold, silver and lead were the most common metallic minerals that were sought and/or produced at these mines (Kent, 1987). Except for the Continental Mine in the Selkirk Range in the extreme northwestern corner of the county, it appears that none of the mines were major producers. The primary host rock for metallic minerals throughout the region is the Belt Supergroup. In evaluating the mineral resources of northern Idaho for the Bureau of Land Management, Tetra Tech and Silverfields (2005), stated that, “The Belt Supergroup rocks are extremely important for mineral resource potential within the BLM planning area.” Belt rocks are the host rock in both the Sullivan District in the north and the Coeur d’Alene District to the south. Both of these mining districts produce mostly lead, zinc and silver from Belt rocks. Belt rocks also host lead-silver deposits in Boundary County. The Belt Supergroup is more widespread in Boundary County than in any other part of Idaho. Most of the rocks that form the Purcell and Cabinet Ranges are part of the Pritchard Formation, which forms the oldest exposed part of the Belt Supergroup (Miller and Burmester, 2003). The Pritchard Formation is mainly composed of hard, slightly metamorphosed, fine-grained sandstone and shale (argillite), but it also contains many layers of dark gray to black crystalline igneous rock called diabase (Bishop, 1973). Diabase magma intruded into the argillite and sandstone and is thought to be responsible for the crystallization of the metallic minerals. At least nine of the mines in the Purcell Range are located along the boundaries (contacts) between diabase and sandstone or argillite. Some of these are also associated with faults, and the presence of faults appears to be a favorable indication for the development of ore veins. This is also true to the north and south; in both the Coeur d’Alene and Sullivan Districts, later uplift and faulting caused the metallic minerals to be re-mobilized and concentrated along faults (White and others, 2000, Morton and others, 1973, Tetra Tech and Silverfields, 2005). The Sullivan District of southern British Columbia formed along the Moyie Fault, and mines in the Troy area of northwestern Montana are also associated with this fault. The Moyie River follows the fault southward through northeastern Boundary County, and a few placer gold mining operations were located along the river early in the 20th Century. However, there is no evidence that any hard-rock mining activity has taken place along the fault in the Moyie River canyon. The host rock for the Continental Mine and a few others is much younger than the Belt Supergroup, and the ore minerals in these mines had a different origin. These minerals formed when various types of granitic magma (tonalite, granodiorite, monzonite, etc.) intruded into the Panhandle Region between 70 and 150 million years ago, forming the Kaniksu (North Idaho) Batholith that is now exposed in the Selkirk Range (Alt and Hyndman, 1989). The geologic map of the Bonners Ferry Quadrangle (Miller and Burmester, 2003) shows many igneous rocks of different age and composition within the Batholith in the Selkirk Range. Some of these are likely to be richer than others in metallic mineral resources. Gold, perhaps with some silver, is more commonly associated with granitic rocks than are the lead, zinc and copper that form in association with rocks like diabase.

2.7.7. Non-Metallic Minerals and Rocks: So far as is known, no non-metallic minerals have been produced in Boundary County. Economic rock deposits are sometimes considered to be non-metallic mineral deposits. Sand and gravel deposits are the most abundantly produced resource of this type in Boundary County. This type of deposit is widely used for road aggregate and in making concrete. Topographic maps produced by the United States Geological Survey show more than 50 surface mining operations where sand, gravel or rock have been extracted. New pits are being opened annually, while others have become inactive or abandoned as the resource apparently became depleted. Many of the quarries shown on the topographic maps are labeled “borrow pits,” suggesting the material being mined may have been soil or bedrock for use as fill material for roads or other construction projects. Borrow pits are commonly located along roadway construction projects and are in operation only as long as the duration of the construction project. The status of the borrow pits in Boundary County would have to be investigated on a case-by-case basis to determine how many are active today or could be potentially active in the future. Many of them are located within relatively remote mountain valleys of the Purcell, Cabinet and Selkirk Ranges and it is unknown what the material was used for or how far it was transported. There are also numerous sand and gravel quarries where unconsolidated river and/or glacial sediment is mined. A number of these are known to be in operation as of 2006, although no list of them has been prepared. Glacially-deposited sand and gravel are widespread throughout the major river valleys and along many of the larger creeks in the county and are generally mapped as “quaternary alluvial and glacial deposits” on the geologic map of the Bonners Ferry Quadrangle by Miller and Burmester (2003). Some of this material is suitable as aggregate, but some may contain too much silt and clay to be useful, and other deposits may be in environmentally sensitive areas where quarrying may be dangerous or disruptive. More detailed maps showing the precise locations where sand and gravel could be extracted economically and safely are currently not available. There are also several businesses in Bonner and Boundary Counties that extract decorative rock for use in the construction industry or other customers. Various types of granite, probably from the Selkirk Range, appear to be the most common rock type extracted in these operations.

2.7.8. Mining History: Early miners headed for the goldfields of southern British Columbia passed through Boundary County in the 1860s, but it wasn’t until the latter part of the 19th Century that word of mining activity in the county began to spread. Some of the earliest activity was in the northwestern part of the county near Priest Lake, where the Continental Mine was discovered in 1887. This mine was most active in the early part of the 20th Century, but activity began to decline by 1940. It continued to operate sporadically for another 40 years, but has been inactive now for more than two decades. Placer gold mining was active in the 1890s on several streams, particularly the Moyie River, and hydraulic mines to speed up the process were in operation in the 1910s. Most of the other mining claims in the county were filed in the late 1890s or early 1900s, and were operated now and then for a few decades at most. None were as successful as the Continental Mine, which was not as successful as the mines in Shoshone County.

2.7.9. Resource Potential and Planning: Based on past mining activities in Boundary County, along with geologic similarities to more productive regions to the north and south, it is clear that planning for future growth and development in Boundary County should consider the potential for additional mining activity. Because the geology of Boundary County is not especially diverse, the potential for new types of discoveries is low, and it is likely that the types of resources that have been developed in the past will continue to be the resources of the future. Glacial sand and gravel deposits are present on both public and private land in the county. Some deposits in the valley of Round Prairie Creek are likely to be as large as several tens of thousands of cubic yards. The State of Idaho operates a fairly large pit on the north side of Highway 95 in the Robinson Lake area, and this pit has not yet fully tapped the resource in the area. Thick deposits are present on both sides of the valley and also underlie it. However, these deposits also form the main aquifer in the Round Prairie groundwater basin, and numerous residents obtain their groundwater from these deposits. Sand and gravel deposits are also present along the Moyie River, and in years past at least two deposits have been exploited near Meadow Creek. However, to date, development of gravel resources along the Moyie has been limited. As in the case of Round Prairie, these gravel deposits are the principal source of groundwater for residents living in the valley. Sand is abundant in much of the Kootenai River Valley, particularly on the river floodplain, where it is utilized for agricultural purposes. These deposits have not been extensively mined. Although sand pits in or along the channel would likely be highly productive, environmental and ecological concerns are likely to prevent quarrying activity in these sensitive places. Farther from the river, particularly on the elevated terraces (“benches”) that border it, sand and gravel are poorly developed. Much of the land on the North Bench and in Paradise Valley is underlain by finer-grained silted clay of lake origin and is unsuitable for use as aggregate. Usable sand and gravel are primarily restricted to the edges of the valley at the foot of the mountains. However, the gravel deposits that border the benches are important as recharge areas for groundwater percolating into the Kootenai Valley, and removing them could jeopardize groundwater production within the Valley. The potential for future exploration and development of metallic mineral resources along the Moyie River Fault should be part of future planning decisions. The association of lead, zinc and silver with this fault in regions to the north and south has been recognized within the past 10 to 15 years, and though not highly likely, it is conceivable that mining companies will be examining the possibility that these resources exist along the Boundary County portion of this fault as well. The distance spanned by this fault in Boundary County is approximately 30 miles, a length that is sufficient to hold several productive mining areas. It is possible that additional metallic resources also exist in the Selkirk Range, because it appears that only a few of the many granitic plutons there have been explored in the past. Whereas the association of lead-zinc-silver deposits with the intrusive diabases in the Belt Supergroup is well-documented, less is known about the association of gold-silver deposits in the Selkirk Range, and mineral occurrences are not well understood. In addition, there has been less exploration along the faults that are present in the western portion of the range, where Belt rocks are also present.

2.7.10. Governmental Agencies: Many of the existing mines and prospects in Boundary County are on public land. Since much of the county is publicly owned, this is likely to be the case for any future mines that might be developed. Most of this land is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, but some may be owned by the Bureau of Land Management or the Idaho Department of Lands. These agencies are primarily responsible for evaluating proposals for mineral resource development on their lands. The U.S. Minerals Management Service is the agency that is largely responsible for developing resource assessments on federal land, and sometimes become involved in reviewing development proposals as well. Other agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, are involved in assessing the environmental impacts of proposed mining operations. Other lands are privately owned, either by logging companies or by individuals. Regulatory oversight on these lands is provided by the state and county governments, such as the State Land Commission, the Bureau of Mines, the Idaho Department of Lands and the Department of Environmental Quality.

2.7.11. Reclamation: The 1971 Surface Mining Act requires that all surface mining operations undertaken in Idaho by private individuals or companies operate under an approved reclamation plan. Prior to operation, applicants must file the reclamation plan with the Idaho Department of Lands, and must submit a performance bond to the IDL to ensure funds are available to complete the proposed reclamation. In general, the bond rate does not exceed $2,500 per acre. The IDL may contact other agencies for input before approving reclamation plans. Reclamation normally includes backfilling, grading, topsoil replacement and reforestation. When operators violate reclamation plans or fail to submit a plan prior to operation, the IDL has authority to levy financial penalties of up to $2,500 per day. The IDL performs periodic site inspections to ensure compliance with reclamation plans. A list of Boundary County mines is available at Appendix III.

2.8. BEACHES AND SHORELINES: Boundary County features three beautiful rivers; the Kootenai River, the Moyie River, and Pack River.

2.8.1. Kootenai River: The main body of water, the Kootenai River, flows into the county from Montana, heads northwest and exits into Canada at Porthill. There are three public boat launches at Bonners Ferry, Deep Creek and Copeland allowing access to the 47 miles of meandering shoreline through the Kootenai Valley to Canada, and allowing access by more intrepid boaters wishing to traverse the more rapid waters along the 19 miles from Bonners Ferry to Montana. The shoreline of the Kootenai River is mainly silt and clay, surrounded mainly by privately owned farmland. The county does not have any official beaches, but there are a few small areas along the Kootenai River with public access commonly used for swimming.

2.8.2. Moyie River: The Moyie River is the second largest waterway, with water flowing from watersheds in the Purcell Mountains in Canada, entering Boundary County near Eastport and traversing south to meet the Kootenai River near Moyie Springs. There are numerous outdoor and recreational areas along the 19 miles of Moyie River shoreline in Boundary County. There are five ingress/egress points for rafting, kayaking and canoeing where the waters are gentle before hitting exciting whitewater south of the Meadow Creek Campground. At the Moyie River Crossing, there is a picnic area, rest rooms and sportsman’s access. There is also a private campground at the confluence of the Moyie and Kootenai Rivers featuring a beach.

2.8.3. Other Shorelines: There are numerous streams and creeks with over 300 miles of shoreline, many accessible for hiking and fishing. The shorelines of the county’s rivers, lakes, streams and creeks are an appealing asset.

2.9. AQUIFERS: This section deals with the groundwater resources of Boundary County. Underground bodies of rock that contain and will transmit usable quantities of water are referred to as aquifers, which are significant in that they supply a large proportion of the American population with water. According to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, more than 90-percent of the state’s residents rely on groundwater as their primary drinking water source (DEQ, 2004). In Boundary County, the percentage of residents dependent on groundwater is lower than in other portions of the state, but is not known with certainty. Currently there are 24 public water supply systems in the county (see Public Services Facilities and Utilities) in addition to many private systems. Of the 24 public systems, nine are sourced primarily by surface water (creeks or springs), serving approximately 5,000 residents. Spring water is actually groundwater that emerges at the surface because the groundwater table is above the level of the land service. Hence, only five of the public water systems utilize true surface water, and only about 4,700 people rely on this source. Assuming a total County population of 10,000 in 2006, this implies that more than 50-percent of Boundary County’s population relies on groundwater from aquifers. Because so many people depend on it, it is entirely possible that abundant, high-quality groundwater is Boundary County’s most crucial resource.

2.9.1. Overview There are many different types of aquifers, but they all share two common characteristics. First, they must have void space in which water droplets can accumulate. In most aquifers, this void space occurs in the form of pores between particles or grains of rock. Some aquifers have little or no pore space but are fractured, and the fractures create void space in which groundwater can accumulate. Rocks that have neither pores nor fractures do not contain groundwater. The second feature that is common to all aquifers is that the void spaces are interconnected, allowing water droplets to move freely within the rock. If the fractures or pores in the rock are isolated, groundwater is trapped and cannot move toward a well, and therefore the rock does not make a good aquifer. The degree to which rock can transmit water is referred to as its permeability, and aquifers are said to be permeable. Rocks that do not transmit water effectively are referred to as impermeable. The Department of Environmental Quality categorizes aquifers in terms of their geological origin and composition. The DEQ recognizes three principal types: 1) valley fill aquifers; 2) fractured basalt aquifers; and 3) sedimentary and volcanic aquifers. The best aquifers in northern Idaho are classified as valley-fill aquifers, which are described as “sediments and rocks … that were loosely deposited some time ago by air, water or glacial activity on the earth’s surface.” In places where aquifers have been well-studied, they are usually given geographic names, as in the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer in Bonner County. Not all groundwater is suitable for all uses. Water suppliers and water managers classify groundwater according to its highest beneficial use. Beneficial use is determined largely according to the chemistry of the water, which is referred to as water quality. The highest beneficial use is water for human consumption. Groundwater whose chemistry makes it unsuitable for consumption may still be suitable for other purposes, such as stock feeding, irrigation, or industrial applications. Regulatory agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality, who are charged with oversight of groundwater quality, strive to maintain groundwater at its highest beneficial use. Water managers normally do not attempt to improve the quality to a higher beneficial use. Purifying large volumes of naturally occurring groundwater to a higher beneficial use would be prohibitively expensive unless other sources of usable water were non-existent. The Idaho State Legislature passed the Groundwater Quality Rule (IDAPA 58.01.11) in 1997, granting the DEQ the authority to formulate and administer groundwater quality rules to protect existing and potential future beneficial uses of groundwater throughout the state. The Idaho Department of Water Resources has divided Boundary County into seven “hydrologic units,” which the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality refers to as “watershed sub-basins,” defined below. Within these “hydrologic units” or “watershed sub-basins,” the DEQ has recognized twelve groundwater districts, which it refers to as aquifers. These have been given numbers, not names. Unfortunately, the DEQ map does not include a description of these aquifer units, so it is difficult to use this terminology in discussing Boundary County’s groundwater resources. Another way of describing the occurrence of aquifers and groundwater is to discuss them in terms of groundwater basins. A large geographic area such as a county may contain one or more groundwater basins, which can contain multiple aquifers. In many cases, groundwater basins coincide with or encompass portions of surface water basins (watersheds). Groundwater in different basins may differ greatly because of differences in the type, depth and chemistry of the aquifers. The Idaho Department of Water Resources uses this terminology to describe groundwater resources in some parts of the state.

2.9.2. Critical Groundwater Areas and Groundwater Management Areas: The Director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources is granted the authority to designate Critical Groundwater Areas (CGWAs) and Groundwater Management Areas (GWMAs) in the state. The IDWR defines a CGWA as “all or part of a groundwater basin that does not have sufficient groundwater to provide a reasonably safe supply for irrigation or other uses at the current or projected rates of withdrawal.” A GWMA is “all or part of a groundwater basin that is approaching the conditions of a CGWA.” Since 1962, only five CGWAs and twelve GWMAs have been identified; all except for the Rathdrum Prairie GWMA in Bonner and Kootenai Counties are in southern Idaho. The IDWR considers the groundwater resources in Boundary County to be adequate to meet the demand for the foreseeable future at the county’s present rate of growth.

2.9.3. Groundwater Basins in Boundary County: A list of groundwater basins and their characteristics are available at Appendix IV.

2.9.4. Groundwater Quality: DEQ Source Water Assessment Reports identify potential sources of contamination for each public water supply system, and in a few cases discuss specific instances when water samples indicate that the system has been impacted by a contaminant. Similar data are not available for the private wells and water systems in the county. from nearby septic systems appears to be the most likely and common risk for most water systems. State law requires that wells be a minimum of 100 feet from the nearest leach field, but some public, and probably more private, wells are in violation of this setback. Microbial contamination can be detected by laboratory analysis for fecal coliform bacteria, which is the main concern involving septic systems. potential sources of contamination are drainage ditches, storm drains, and similar features that may collect contaminated runoff from roads, fields or industrial sites and funnel these contaminants to a zone of leaching. The DEQ appears to have identified a few cases where this has occurred. runoff is another potential source of contamination that can affect both surface and groundwater. There are more than 30 inactive mines in the county, and some of these are within the drainage basin of public water systems. The DEQ makes an assessment of the potential for contaminated mine runoff, and due to the limited scope of these operations and their inactivity, the DEQ considers the potential for mine contamination to be low.

2.10. CLIMATE: Boundary County is a wonderfully blessed pace in terms of climate and weather, with a warm and dry summer, dry and beautiful fall, mild and damp winters and wet and muddy spring. As indicated in the general soil classifications defined in paragraph 4, above, the climate can vary widely depending on location, with temperatures varying from five to 15 degrees with this region. Boundary County receives an average annual rainfall of 22 ½ inches and farmers and gardeners in most areas of the county enjoy from 100 to 115 frost free days per year. The average high temperature in July is 83 degrees F, and the average low temperature in January is 18 degrees F. Excluding Creston, British Columbia, Boundary County enjoys the mildest climate of the surrounding regions.

Temperatures (degrees F)



Daily Max


Daily Min


2 years in 10

Will have


Growing-Degree Days*

Max Temp

More than

Max Temp

Less Than









































































































A growing degree day is a unit of heat available for plant growth. It can be calculated by adding the maximum and minimum daily temperatures, dividing the sum by two, and subtracting the temperature below which growth is minimal for principal crops in the area (threshold: 40 degrees F)

Precipitation (Inches)



2 Years in ten will have

Avg. No. Days

with 0.10 or more

Avg. Total


Less Than

More Than

















































































3.1.1. U.S. Highway 95 is Idaho’s major north-south transportation corridor connecting the region to Canada and southern Idaho, and it traverses Boundary County from north to south, beginning at mile marker 491.77 at the Bonner/Boundary county line and traversing north to mile marker 505.46 at the Bonners Ferry City limit, and ending at the Eastport Customs Office on the Canadian Border at mile marker 538.54, for a total of 46.77 miles in Boundary County.

3.1.2. U.S. Highway 2 shares the same route from Bonner County north until U.S. 2 turns east three miles north of Bonners Ferry at the Three Mile Junction at mile marker 64.35. Highway 2 reaches Moyie Springs City limits at mile marker 68.546, and ends at the Montana State line at mile marker 80.18, traversing 15.83 miles and creating the main east-west thoroughfare.

3.1.3. U.S. Highway 1 joins U.S Highway 95 at the Mt. Hall Junction at mile marker 521.76, which is mile marker 0 for Highway 1. Highway 1 progresses north to the U.S./Canadian border at Porthill Customs at mile marker 11.185.


3.2.1. 24-Hour Port Facility: The International Port of Eastport on the U.S./Canadian border is a 24-hour port and is designated a commercial port by the U.S. Customs Services. It is often one of the busiest Ports of Entry between the United States and Canada.

3.2.2. Foreign Trade Zone: Highway 95 is the most direct route for traffic between the Pacific Northwest and Calgary/Edmonton, Alberta. Because Highway 95 offers the lowest grade, it is the preferred route for Alberta exports into Washington.

3.2.3. U.S. Highway 2: The route from Three Mile Junction to Montana carries more local commercial traffic, with some intrastate traffic, as well as supporting the Boundary County Airport. The junction of U.S. 2 and Highway 95 is also the site of a truck weigh station, creating a point of congestion.

3.2.4. State Highway 1: Surrounded by predominantly rural farm land, this roadway is much used by tractors and farming equipment moving from field to field. Due to the Porthill Port of Entry at the U.S./Canada border being open only 16-hours per day, most commercial interstate traffic defers to Eastport.


3.3.1. An important part of the economy of the Pacific Northwest is tourism. Within the next three years, tourism is expected to become the third largest growth industry in the United States. Highway 95 provides an important access to the Canadian Rockies and to the Alaska/Canada (Alcan) Highway.

3.3.2. Highway 95 from Sandpoint to Copeland, then Highway 1 to Porthill were recently designated an All-American Road through the federal highways “American Byways” program, and comprise a portion of the International Selkirk Loop, which extends through Boundary County, Bonner County, Pend Oreille County, Washington, and into British Columbia, Canada. Within the National Scenic Byway system of 125 roadways, the Selkirk Loop is the only “International” byway in North America. This designation could increase traffic from a minimum of three percent to as much as 20-percent.

3.3.3. State Highway 2: This highway serves as a feeder from Western Montana and Glacier National Park.


3.4.1. There are two International border crossings in Boundary County, Eastport and Porthill. Since September 11, 2001, border security, and tracking of data about people crossing the borders, has increased significantly.

3.4.2. Inbound border crossings from Canada to the U.S. declined steadily from 1994, when the exchange rate peaked in Canada’s favor, to 2003. An analysis of Idaho border crossing data (both north and south) indicates that all traffic (personal vehicle, truck and bus) increased significantly from 2001 to 2002, then dipped slightly in 2003. However, 2004 data indicates that southbound traffic is increasing due to favorable exchange rates for Canadians, and to increased tourism travel in general.

3.5. PROGRAMMED HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS: Based on the 2007 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

3.5.1. Riverside Street railroad crossing, signals, set for fiscal year 2007.

3.5.2. Junction State Highway 1 to Idaho/Canadian border, milepost 522.93 to 538.56, plan/study.

3.5.3. U.S. 95, Brush Creek to Round Prairie Creek, milepost 521.06 to 527, seal coat. Scheduled for FY 2007.

3.5.4. State Highway 1 to Idaho/Canada border, milepost 0 to 11.18, seal coat. Scheduled for FY 2007.


3.6.1. The Idaho Transportation Department statistically ranks “high accident locations” by frequency, location and type of accident. On U.S. 95 from mile marker 475 to 523 there were 14.9 accidents per mile, or 716 accidents over 48 miles from 1999 to 2003. Note that the Boundary/Bonner county line is at mile marker 493.

3.6.2. The Three Mile intersection of US 95 and Highway 2 is identified as having a high incidence of injury accidents, even though there is a signal at the intersection.

3.6.3. State Highway 1 has a relatively low accident rate of 2.9 accidents per mile, or 32 accidents of 11 miles from 1999 to 2003.

3.6.4. No accident data was received for U.S. 2.

3.6.5. There are currently no existing bike paths on major highways in Boundary County, nor are there adequate shoulders for the safe passage of bicyclists in most places.


3.7.1. Currently, there are 300 miles of county maintained roads in Boundary County. These are classified as major collectors, minor collectors, and local access, representing the level of service they are intended to provide. Major collectors are eligible for state funding for upgrades and improvements, minor collectors and local roads are not.

3.7.2. At present time, no property taxes are used for county road construction. All construction and improvements are funded by forest revenues, gas taxes and grants.

3.7.3. Many county roads, especially older ones, do not have clear right of title for roadway or easement.

3.7.4. In 2007, Boundary County adopted a Road Standards Manual, which establishes construction and other standards for any road proposed for adoption into the Boundary County Road System.

3.7.5. As this is written, Boundary County is in the midst of adopting a road addressing system to serve for postal and delivery service and, most importantly, to expedite emergency response. All County Roads, once known by name and then known by road numbers, have now again been given road names, and work is underway to name private roads serving multiple families and to establish road numbers along each named road. Because of the multiple ways of identifying roads over the years, an extreme difficulty has arisen in directing emergency response to areas of need, especially those in more remote areas. A list of each road currently in the county road inventory is available at Appendix V.

3.8. ADT ANALYSIS OF VARIOUS COLLECTOR ROUTES: The analysis on the following page is based on current zoning and estimated traffic load based on development of maximum density and anticipated development based on current growth trends. It is recognized that all property within these zones will not be developed to maximum density, but serves to show worst case scenario and allows comparison of zone district densities.



Min. Parcel

2004 ADT

ADT Fully developed

ADT 5-acre anticipated

ADT 10-acre anticipated



Brown Creek Rd.

Paradise Valley via Alderson Lane







Width and geography become issues east of junction CR 21-22

Blue Sky Rd.

Top of PV hill due east







Parker Canyon Rd

East of 4-corners






Narrow spots, limited sight distance

Crossport Rd.

Paradise Valley via Ash St.







Adequate as far as Cow Creek Y, fair toward Katka

Cow Creek Rd.

Cow Creek from Jct. 24 south






Limited width, would be challenged at 1,000 ADT

Pleasant Valley Lp., Lookout View Rd.

Pleasant Valley






50 in some areas

Wide straight road, resurfacing would be needed.

Mountain Meadows Rd., Trail Creek Rd.

East of Naples




1,040 (600 on CR8)



Width and sight distances limited on CR8 by canyon.

Moon Shadow,
Homestead Lp., Hillcrest Rd.

Three Mile west


1,056 not incl. Landfill





Limited by width of ROW, offset by multiple access and good sight lines

Oxford, Daybreak,Sweetwater, Bench, Moyie River, Amoth and Grouse Hill Rds.

Three Mile east


1,657 total

6,750, avg. 1,000 per road

3,728 or avg 532 per rd.



Short, straight roads with fair width, adequate until max. loads near.

Maas Loop

Maas Loop








McArthur Lake, Highland Flats Rds.

McArthur Lake, Highland Flats, White Mtn., Fall Crk


570 via McArthur, 320 via Naples


4,000 McArthur, 3,200 Naples

2,000 via McArthur, 1,600 Naples


South end via CR4 adequate, CR6 from Naples challenged by topography.

2006 Boundary County Five-Year Improvement Plan for Roads and Bridges

Road Name

Project Type

Funct. Class



Sandy Ridge Rd., Madson Plat

BST Surface US 95 to end .75 mile

High volume local access



Westside Rd. Trout Cr. to Farnham Cr.

Re-align/reconstruct 2.0 miles

Major collector, forest highway



Cow Creek – Kootenai Trail CR 23

1.5 mile ballast, base, geo-textile

Potential collector/through route



Meadow Creek Road

Pave 6.0-8.5 miles

Major collector, forest highway



Deep Creek Loop

Replace Deep Creek Bridge #2

Major collector



Lost Mile Road

½ to 1.5 miles base, geo-textile

Local access, through route



Deep Creek Loop

Replace Deep Creek Bridge #4

Major collector



Lost Mile Road CR

BTS surface 1.5 mile

Local access, through route



Cow Creek Road

Widen and realign

Extension major collector



Farm to Market Road

3-mile rebase geo-textile

Local through, seasonal commercial



Meadow Creek Rd.

Replace Rutledge Cr. Bridge

Major collector/forest access



Camp Nine Road

Rebase 2-mile w/geo-textile and new fabric

Local access



Meadow Cr. Road

Rebase and geo-textile 8 to 10.5 miles

Major collector/forest access



Perkins Lake Rd

Jct. 72 to 73A one mile gravel, reconstruct

Local access



Sweetwater Rd.

Minor base, complete BST surface

Local access



Lost Mile Rd

BST surface 1.5 mile

Local access, through route



Farm to Market

BST surface 3 miles

Local core industry through rte



McArthur Lake Rd

Remove/recycle BST, base and HMA overlay

Major collector



Meadow Creek Rd.

HMA pave 8 to 10.5 miles

Major collector/forest access



Brown Creek Rd.

Recycle base, fabric and stabilize US 95 to 1.5 mile marker

Major collector



Mountain Meadows Rd

Base, geo-textile

Local access through route



Cow Creek Rd.

HMA pave 2 to 5.12 mile marker

Extension of collector through rte



Roosevelt Road

Recycle asphalt base and overlay

Major collector



Meadow Creek Rd

Reconst., pave 10.5 to 14.0 mile marker

Major collector/forest highway



Brown Creek Rd.

Surface BST or ASP

Minor collector


3.9. BIKE/PEDESTRIAN PATHS: Bike/pedestrian paths placed in and around community centers allow an alternative to the increasing congestion of motorized traffic and enhance the opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty and rural lifestyle of the community.


3.10.1. Burlington Northern/Sante Fe Railway Company The BNSF Railway mainline transiting Boundary County is an integral part of its busy transcontinental mainline linking the Pacific Northwest ports of Portland, Oregon, Tacoma and Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, with the Chicago, Illinois gateway. The route crosses Washington State to Spokane, northward into the Idaho Panhandle at Rathdrum, north through Sandpoint to Bonners Ferry, then veers east along the Kootenai River into Montana. The mainline is high-density, with an overall average of 35-45 trains passing through every 24-hours. Types of traffic includes; Unit grain trains of wheat, corn, oats and soybeans destined for export to Pacific Rim countries via the ports of Portland, Kalama, Tacoma and Seattle. The grain originates from North and South Dakota, western Nebraska and Montana with the railway forming a vital route for this grain to access the world market. Empty grain trains travel east for reload. Unit grain trains of low-sulfur coal originating from Montana’s Powder River Basin destined to the Pacific Rim via the port of Vancouver, B.C. The coal is used to fuel steam powered electric generating facilities. International intermodal container trains of imported consumer goods originating from Pacific Rim countries and China destined for the Midwest and east coast, with Chicago being the major transportation gateway. Mostly empty containers flow west. Domestic intermodal container and highway trailer trains of consumer goods shipped between the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Midwest markets, with Chicago being the major transportation hub. Manifest trains consisting of consumer goods and petroleum products destined between Canada and Pacific Northwest customers. Manifest carload train traffic of consumer goods shipped between the Midwest and Pacific Northwest markets. One daily Monday-Friday “local” train operates between Spokane and Bonners Ferry. It serves local industries along the route. Commodity is mostly lumber and wood chips. Schedule: None of the freight trains operated through Boundary County operate on a specific schedule. Their movements are controlled by the central dispatch center at Fort Worth, Texas. Train movements are based on the priority of the train involved, track conditions and scheduled delivery dates. Higher traffic densities occur during nighttime hours. Route: The BNSF Railway enters Boundary County at Elmira and exits at Leonia, 37.1 miles distant. Industrial sidings are located at Elmira, Naples, Bonners Ferry and Crossport, and are served by the Bonners Ferry Local train. Kootenai River Subdivision: Elmira; milepost 1,387.4 Naples; milepost 1,379.8 Bonners Ferry; milepost 1,368.4 Crossport; milepost 1,364.3 Leonia; milepost 1,350.3. Future Development: Traffic over the BNSF Railway has gradually increased since the mid-1990s when intermodal train traffic markets became firmly established and overseas trade expanded. This trend is expected to be sustained at an increasing rate into future years. As to local operations, BNSF Railway plays a critical role in serving the local economy. This is accomplished by serving local wood products industries by giving them an economical access to markets and periodic small-scale grain shipments from local farmers.

3.10.2. Amtrak: Amtrak’s “Empire Builder” between Chicago and Seattle/Portland transits Boundary County once daily in each direction over the BNSF Railway. Both trains pass through Bonners Ferry between 11:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. The nearest stops are Sandpoint and Libby, Montana.

3.10.3. Union Pacific Railroad: The mainline segment of the Union Pacific Railroad operating through Boundary County is its northern extension from Hinkle, Oregon, through Spokane and northward through the Idaho Panhandle, and connects with the Canadian Pacific Railroad at Eastport. The line enters Boundary County at Elmira and continues north through Naples, Deep Creek and into Bonners Ferry. It crosses the Kootenai River there, then proceeds along a steep northeastern grade into Moyie Springs, north through the Meadow Creek area along the Moyie River to its terminus at Eastport and connection with the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Services include a daily “Bonners Ferry Local” that originates in Sandpoint Monday through Friday and serves local industries along its mainline within Boundary County. The major industries include the Riley Creek sawmill at Moyie Springs and the lumber transload facility at Eastport. Empty cars are transported north during the morning hours with lumber and woodchips transported south at the end of the day. Mainline train service consists mostly of through traffic entering from Alberta and Saskatchewan destined for export through the Port of Portland to southwest U.S. destinations and consumption within Pacific Northwest markets. The small yard at Eastport acts as a transfer yard, where trains crossing the international border in both directions are assigned new train crews to continue their journeys. Types of trains include: Unit potash trains: These transport potash originating in Saskatchewan destined for Portland for export. An average of five trains per week pass through the county, with empties traveling north. Unit grain trains: This seasonal traffic consists of grain traffic originating in Central Canada and North Dakota destined for export through Portland. Empties return north. Manifest trains consisting of carload traffic originating in Canada for U.S. markets. The bulk includes Canadian import lumber destined for the Pacific Southwest and petroleum products (mostly propane). Empties return north. In all, traffic on the Union Pacific line totals eight to 12 trains daily, counting the daily local. This is a substantial increase over traffic levels of ten years ago. Due to the type of signaling system used and few sidings which can accommodate the long and heavy trains, the mainline is currently operating at nearly 100-percent capacity. However, the steady pace in which rail traffic is growing between the U.S. and Canada and the strategic position of the UP and CP rail system, it is not unreasonable to predict that rail line improvements will continue to be made to handle increased traffic levels at the same pace as previous growth. Future Development As to local operations, the Union Pacific Railroad plays an equally critical role as the BNSF Railway in serving the local economy. Its primary role is currently being accomplished by serving local wood products industries by providing them market access nationwide. Its facilities within Bonners Ferry are strategically positioned to support an industrial complex at the former mill site, as are BNSF facilities.

3.10.4. Railroad Crossings: There are numerous railroad crossings within Boundary County, most without crossing arms or alarms, and these crossings are the location of a significant portion of the accidents occurring on Boundary County’s roads. The Idaho Department of Transportation does have two projects planned to address rail crossings in Boundary County; the Riverside Street crossing in Bonners Ferry, where a gate and signal are planned for the 2007 construction season, and the Pine Island Road (CR19) crossing, where a gate and signal are planned for the 2008 season.

3.11. BUILDING SETBACKS: Boundary County currently enforces setbacks from property lines of 25-feet, front, 10-feet, side, and 20-feet, rear, and does not establish a setback from easements or utility ways.

3.12. STREET NAMING AND HOUSE NUMBERING: Boundary County is currently in the process of establishing a countywide addressing system, primarily for the purpose of public safety. All roads in the Boundary County road system have been assigned road names, and work is underway to assign names to private roads serving multiple residences, at which time work will begin to assign individual house numbers to facilitate 911 and establish postal and delivery addresses. No estimate has been established for completion.


3.13.1. Boundary County Airport: Boundary County Airport is owned and operated by Boundary County and governed by a volunteer board appointed by Boundary County Commissioners. It lies two miles northeast of Bonners Ferry in the Three Mile area, providing a scenic destination spot or resting point for small aircraft pilots and passengers. Services available at the airport include aviation fuel, overnight hangers, courtesy and rental cars, pilot’s lounge and supplies, flight instruction and airframe and power plant repair and maintenance. A restaurant is within walking distance of the airport. Latitude 48°43.5’ Longitude 116°17.6’ Elevation 2,331-feet, Traffic Pattern Altitude, 3,100-feet. Runway length, 4,000-feet. Runway width, 85-feet. Lighting, VASI on northeast end of Runway 20, pilot controlled (MIRL) five clicks on 123.00. Runway capacity, 25,000 pounds per single wheel. CTAF: 123.00. The Boundary County Airport not only serves important private and commercial uses, it is extensively used by local government agencies, including but not limited to the Department of Homeland Security, Idaho Fish and Game, and the Bonneville Power Administration. It also serves as a base of operations during aerial fire fighting operations within the county, and provides a second local landing zone for emergency medical helicopters as well as serving when jet aircraft are needed for medical transport.

3.13.2. Eckhart International Airport: Eckhart International Airport, situated on the U.S. side of the Idaho/Canada border near Porthill, is a fair-weather grass strip maintained under contract with the Idaho Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division. The strip is open to the public, though there are no services available. The strip is a customs landing rights airport, with radio traffic monitored by U.S. Customs agents at Porthill. Latitude: 48°59.5’ Longitude, 116°30’, Elevation, 1,756-feet. CTAF: 122.8. Runway length; 3,650 feet. Runway width, 175-feet. Operational restrictions: Not maintained for winter use; runway 33 marked with white rocks on edges. Aircraft parking limited to two hours in the U.S. Customs terminal. Numerous obstructions on approach to runway 15. Surface is turf.

3.13.3. Helipads: The only helipad in Boundary County is at Boundary Community Hospital within Bonners Ferry city limits. It is used exclusively for medical helicopters.


4.1. SEWAGE DISPOSAL: Boundary County is served primarily by individual septic systems managed through permits issued by Panhandle Health, and a limited number of county residents are served by the City of Bonners Ferry Water and Sewer System.

4.2. DRAINAGE: Boundary County currently does not have a storm water ordinance and there are no storm sewers in place within county jurisdiction.

4.3. POWER PLANT SITES: The City of Bonners Ferry maintains and operates the Moyie Hydroelectric Dam on the Moyie River just upstream from the Moyie River Bridge, which provides electricity for the City of Bonners Ferry and areas between Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs. Smith Creek Hydro, located on Smith Creek in northern Boundary County, is owned by the Eugene Water and Electrical Board, Eugene, Oregon, and generates electricity for that city.


4.4.1. Electricity: Northern Lights power lines provide power to most areas of Boundary County where electricity is available except those areas served by the City of Bonners Ferry. Substations are located on parcels RP62N01E116740 and RP64N01E173100. The Bonneville Power Administration maintains a substation in Section 35, Township 62 North, Range One East, and also maintains overhead transmission lines in Boundary County.

4.4.2. Gas: Gas Transmission NW Corp. maintains a major gas transmission pipeline extending north and south through Boundary County, entering the county near Elmira, traverses north to pass to the west of Moyie Springs, then to Eastport generally following the Moyie River. A gas substation is located just south of Eastport.

4.4.3. Other services: Telephone service in Boundary County is provided where available by Verizon. A number of Internet Service Providers provide internet connectivity via phone modem, transmission tower, or satellite, and limited DSL service is available, mainly within the City of Bonners Ferry. Television and radio are available by rebroadcast from a translator on Black Mountain managed by a Translator Board appointed by Boundary County Commissioners.

4.5. COMMUNITY WATER SUPPLIES: A full list of all community water supplies within Boundary County is available at Appendix VI.

4.6. FIRE STATIONS AND FIREFIGHTING EQUIPMENT: There are seven fire departments in Boundary County; five of them volunteer fire associations and two tax-supported volunteer fire departments or districts. Fire suppression arms of the United States Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands also serve Boundary County with responsibility for fire suppression on public lands. Nearly all agencies operate under mutual-aid agreements, not only with each other but with fire suppression agencies in southern British Columbia and Lincoln County, Montana. Fire protection in Boundary County is provided primarily by the following entities:

4.6.1. City of Bonners Volunteer Ferry Fire Department: A tax-supported department serving approximately 2,502 citizens within the incorporated city limits of Bonners Ferry. Base of operations is the main fire hall (Station 1) in downtown Bonners Ferry, 7137 First Street, and a second station, Station 2, is located at 6316 McCall Street The Bonners Ferry Volunteer Fire Department currently maintains three structure engines, a brush truck, a personnel transport vehicle, one support unit and the fire chief’s vehicle. At present, there are no plans for expansion.

4.6.2. Curley Creek Volunteer Fire Association: A membership-supported association serving about 800 people covering a district approximately 47-square miles in size in eastern Boundary County, bounded on the south by the Kootenai River, the Moyie River to the west and the Montana/Idaho state line to the east. Curley Creek operates out of two existing fire stations, one on County Road 77 (Silver Springs Road, near milepost 75 on Highway 2, and the second on County Road 72D (Firehouse Road) on Old Highway 2. The association operates two pumpers, 1 wildlands truck and three water tenders. Land has been acquired for a new fire hall to be built near County Road 72 (Old Highway 2 Loop) and Evergreen School.

4.6.3. Hall Mountain Volunteer Fire Association, Inc.: A membership-supported department serving about 1,200 citizens in a district of approximately 144,000 acres in north Boundary County, beginning at milepost 519 on U.S. 95 north to the Canadian border at Eastport and Porthill, bound on the west by Westside Road from Rock Creek and on the east on Meadow Creek Road from the Twin Bridges. Hall Mountain operates out of three existing fire halls; Hall #1 at the intersection of  Highway 1 and Porthill Loop Road (formerly County Road 51); Hall #2 at the junction of Highway 1 and U.S. 95; and Hall #3 near milepost 535 on U.S. 95. The association currently operates and maintains four pumpers, two wildlands units, one tanker and one support vehicles. Expansion plans at present call for building a new fire hall to replace Hall #3.

4.6.4. Moyie Springs Volunteer Fire Department: The Moyie Springs Volunteer Fire Department is a tax-supported department serving the 643 residents living within the incorporated City of Moyie Springs, with its fire hall located inside the city. The department operates one tanker, one pumper, one brush truck and one command vehicle, and no plans are currently underway for expansion.

4.6.5. North Bench Volunteer Fire Association: A membership-supported fire association serving about 2,000 citizens in a district covering approximately 32,000 acres from U.S. 95 at Rock Creek west to the Kootenai River, south to the Kootenai Tribal Mission and along to the north boundary of the City of Bonners Ferry and east along the District 2 Road to the Moyie River Bridge. The North Bench Fire Association maintains three stations; one on Highway 2 at Three Mile Junction; one on U.S. 95 at Camp Nine Road; and one at the Kootenai Tribal Mission. The association currently operates three water tenders, three structure engines, one brush truck and one support vehicle. There are no current plans for expansion.

4.6.6. Paradise Valley Volunteer Fire Association: The Paradise Valley Volunteer Fire Association is a membership-supported operation covering about 6,400 acres in the Paradise Valley and Cow Creek areas, with boundaries bordered by the coverage areas of the City of Bonners Ferry and the South Boundary Fire Protection District. The association operates two brush trucks, two structure trucks, five pumpers, one aerial truck and one command vehicle, operating from four existing fire halls. Two additional fire halls are currently under construction.

4.6.7. South Boundary Fire Protection District: A tax-supported fire protection district serving about 2,000 citizens in south Boundary County and covering approximately 32,000 acres extending north from the Bonner/Boundary County line to Cabinet Mountain Road, west to Snow Creek and east to milepost 500 on U.S. 95. The main base of operations is the Naples Fire Hall in Naples and a second station is maintained at Deep Creek, with plans currently underway to build a third station on McArthur Lake Road near Fall Creek. The district currently maintains two wildland engines, two water tenders, two pumper trucks and one support vehicle.

4.6.8. Kootenai Valley Forest Protective District: An Idaho Department of Lands district serving about 9,000 residents covering the Kootenai Valley floor from Snow Creek north along the West Side Road to the Canadian border. The district maintains two wildland engines, and has air fire patrol, helicopters and air tankers available by contract. Manpower and additional equipment available by contract with local and surrounding departments. There are no current plans for expansion.

4.6.9. United States Forest Service/Bonners Ferry: Responsible for fire suppression on National Forest Lands from the east side of Priest Lake east to the Montana border and from the Bonner/Boundary County line to the Canadian Border. Maintains four wildland engines with air fire patrol, helicopters and air tankers available by contract. Manpower and additional firefighting equipment available by contract with local and surrounding departments. There are no current expansions planned.


4.7.1. Boundary County Community Hospital, Bonners Ferry.

4.7.2. Boundary Regional Community Health Center, Bonners Ferry

4.7.3. Panhandle Health, Bonners Ferry.

4.7.4. Boundary Community Restorium, Bonners Ferry.

4.7.5. Kootenai Tribal Clinic, Kootenai Tribal Headquarters.

4.8. LIBRARIES: Boundary County is served by the Boundary County Library, 6370 Kootenai Street, Bonners Ferry, recipient of the 2002 National Award for Museum and Library Service from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, an honor bestowed on Board Chairman Jim Marx and Library Director Sandy Ashworth by First Lady Laura Bush. The library was founded in 1913 by a newly established readers’ club. Members of the organization donated their own books, which were made available to community residents wherever space could be found – from a store, a hotel and a drugstore. In 1930, the volunteer-operated library was granted space in Bonners Ferry City Hall. Boundary County residents’ growing need for expanded library resources and services led to a county-wide vote to establish Idaho’s first county library district in 1956. On January 1, 1958, the members of the local readers’ club turned the library’s operation and resources over to the library’s first official board of trustees. Increasing use of the library and its increasing resources necessitated a move to larger quarters at street level in 1956. Library trustees continued to search for a suitable building site for the new library and property adjacent to the mini-park in downtown Bonners Ferry was purchased in 1973. A new, 8,000-square-foot library building opened for public use August 17, 1974. The library district provided space for the Boundary County Museum in its new building until a 70-percent increase in usage required further expansion of the library in January, 1986. The museum moved to Main Street and a children’s library was opened in the remodeled space vacated by the museum. The Boundary County District Library’s mission is to inform, educate and culturally enrich the entire community it serves by providing a broad range of library resources and services. In accordance with this mission, the library provides a wide range of media for county residents of all ages, including books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets and mixed media. It has one of the largest children’s collections in Idaho. Its online resources provide residents with access to the world’s largest interlibrary loan network (with over 1-billion resources) and information databases through LiLi, the Libraries Linking Idaho Network, which was established by the Idaho State Library with federal and state funding. The library utilizes a broad range of local, regional and statewide partnerships and collaborations to expand access to information and other resources for the homebound, residents of assisted care facilities, adults with low literary skills, preschoolers and their families, homeschoolers and the county’s growing ESL (English as a Second Language) population. The library also makes space available for public meetings on a limited basis. Library users made 84,711 visits in fiscal year 2005-2006. The library’s 11,052 cardholders checked out 118,583 items.

4.9. SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL: Solid waste disposal and recycling programs within Boundary County are designed for efficiency, with a central landfill operating under a small community exemption of Federal Subtitle D Regulations. The landfill has an estimated life expectancy of 10 to 12 years at the current rate of filling. When the landfill is full, the county will likely have to collect solid waste at transfer sites and transport the waste to an approved site somewhere outside the county, or even out of state, at considerable expense to Boundary County taxpayers. With few exceptions, there is currently no fee for solid waste disposal in Boundary County in addition to the annual residential landfill fee. Disposal of solid waste is regulated by Boundary County Ordinance 96-04. The average American generates more than 1,000 pounds of solid waste each year, and approximately 2.5 tons of solid waste is generated when a new house is built. Disposal and recycling sites in the county for solid waste are:

4.9.1. The Boundary County Landfill is located on Hillcrest Road. It is 18.1 acres in size and receives approximately 17 tons of solid waste per day, serving the entire population of Boundary County. The landfill is a manned site, open from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily except for nationally recognized holidays, collecting normal household waste, construction waste and hazardous materials.

4.9.2. An attended one-acre transfer station and recycling area for normal household waste is located in Naples.

4.9.3. An attended one-acre transfer station and recycling area for normal household waste is located on Kootenai Trail Road in Paradise Valley.

4.9.4. Work is underway to establish a manned site at the north end of the county for recycling and to prevent misuse of sites.

4.9.5. Approximately 50 rural dumpsters, each holding approximately 10 yards of solid waste, are maintained for normal household waste at 17 sites throughout Boundary County. Sites at Naples and Paradise Valley receive the greatest volume of any of the 17 sites.

4.9.6. Work is underway to save money for a future projected transfer station system and the equipment to accept, process and remove waste as would be required in the management of such a transfer station system.


4.10.1. Bonners Ferry High School, Bonners Ferry, grades 9-12, county-wide.

4.10.2. Riverside High School, Bonners Ferry, alternative 9-12, county-wide.

4.10.3. Boundary County Middle School, Bonners Ferry, grades 6-8, county-wide.

4.10.4. Valley View Elementary, grades K-5, Bonners Ferry.

4.10.5. Naples Elementary, grades K-5, south Boundary County.

4.10.6. Evergreen Elementary, grades K-5, eastern Boundary County.

4.10.7. Mt. Hall Elementary, grades K-6, north Boundary County.


4.11.1. Boundary County Sheriffs Office and detention facility, 6438 Kootenai St., Bonners Ferry.

4.11.2. Boundary Search and Dive Rescue, 6821 Riverside, Bonners Ferry.

4.11.3. Bonners Ferry Police Department, 7232 Main, Bonners Ferry.

4.11.4. Panhandle National Forest Ranger Station, U.S. Forest Service, 6286 Main, Bonners Ferry.

4.11.5. United States Border Patrol/Department of Homeland Security, 7167 First St., Bonners Ferry. Maintains Ports of Entry at Eastport and Port Hill. Currently planning to add additional facilities.


4.12.1. Boundary County Courthouse, 6452 Kootenai St., Bonners Ferry.

4.12.2. University of Idaho Extension Office, 6447 Kootenai St., Bonners Ferry.

4.12.3. National Guard Armory, 6566 Main St., Bonners Ferry.

4.12.4. Bonners Ferry City Hall, 7232 Main St., Bonners Ferry.


5.1. Based on figures compiled at the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year Boundary County School District 101 encompasses an area of 1,277 square miles, operates on a current annual budget of $9.9-million, and operates and maintains seven buildings and land for an enrollment of 1,644 students and a staff of 228.

5.2. The seven school sites owned by Boundary County School District 101 are Valley View Elementary, Bonners Ferry; Mt. Hall Elementary, at the old Mt. Hall Junction in northern Boundary County; Naples Elementary, Naples; and Evergreen Elementary, Moyie Springs, all serving grades kindergarten through fifth; Boundary County Junior High, serving grades six through eight; and Bonners Ferry High School and Riverside High School (Alternative), both in Bonners Ferry and both serving grades nine through 12.

5.3. 920 public school students are transported 1,821 miles per day on 18 routes traveled by a fleet of 28 buses with a 71-passenger capacity and one handicap-accessible bus with a capacity of 24 passengers, manned by 18-full time drivers and five substitute drivers, all maintained by a transportation supervisor and two mechanics. Trends in public school transportation are considered to be stable.


Fiscal Year

Total Enrollment






















5.4. Public schools in Boundary County have kept basically the same enrollment over the past 40 years. The population during this same time has almost doubled. Currently, Boundary County School District 101 is in the process of a move toward more consolidation of its facilities and land. The facilities listed above are more than adequate for current district enrollment as well as to provide room for unforeseen increase in enrollment. For general interest, the district’s teacher-to-student ratio over the last four decades has more than doubled, and non-classified staff has increased as well. Nearly one-half of both the state and the county budgets go toward public education.

5.5. Charter schools are a growing trend in the community and generally operate as satellites. These schools are generally state funded and produce educational results at or above public school standards.

5.6. Private, religious, virtual and internet classrooms, home and special needs schools all play an important role in educating Boundary County youth, with approximately one in four students completing all or a major part of their education outside the public school system. The latitude offered by these private-sector schools allows them to provide a wide-range of educational options without the burden of increased costs to the taxpayer.


6.1. OVERVIEW: There are many and diverse threats to public health and safety in Boundary County, both natural and man made, the most critical of which are wild land fire and flooding. The Boundary County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, first developed in 2005 and to be updated regularly, offers the clearest assessment of naturally-occurring hazards in Boundary County, and forms the primary plan for responding to most natural disasters within Boundary County. The Boundary County All-Hazard Plan is maintained in the Planning and Zoning Office and is used as the prime reference for the development of this component.


6.2.1. Earthquake History: Three significant earthquakes have been documented in Boundary County by the Department of Homeland Security since 1952, and no damage was recorded in any of these events. On September 9, 1952, a 4.0-magnitude earthquake occurred near the City of Bonners Ferry. In 1984, two earthquakes were reported, the first occurring north of Moyie Springs July 30 and measuring 4.1 on the Richter Scale, the next occurring November 27 about 10 miles north of Bonners Ferry and measuring 3.2.

6.2.2. Fault Lines: The U.S. Geological Survey has designated a group of several faults as the North Idaho Fault System. There are no documented active faults in Boundary County, however, the “Purcell Trench” runs down the center of the Kootenai Valley floor and there a several other faults outside Boundary County, some of which could impact the county in the event of a large earthquake.


6.3.1. Landslides and mudslides: A landslide is defined as a mass movement of rock, earth or debris down a slope, and several types of landslides have occurred in Boundary County in the 20th Century. Typically, the steeper the slope, the more likely it is that a slide will occur, though this is also dependent on the geology and soils particular to each site. Loose soils on steep slopes with little or no vegetative cover are highly susceptible to slide, and human activity can add to this problem through increased development near such slopes and construction, including road work and site preparation, that decreases slope stability. The most common “triggers,” events that cause a landslide, are a combination of precipitation and human activities, especially road building on sloped areas. Late spring to early summer is the peak season for slides. Slide danger is often exacerbated as a result of some other natural disaster, such as wild fire.

6.3.2. Significant Landslide Events in Boundary County: March, 1954, a mudslide killed two people in Bonners Ferry. March, 1959, a mudslide caused a train derailment; February, 1961, mudslide with no reported damage. May, 1961, mudslides caused road closures. May, 1965, mudslides blocked and washed out roads. March, 1972, a mudslide covered a house. June, 1974, a mudslide dislodged an estimated 45,000 cubic yards of earth, no damage listed. January, 1981, mud slide causes minor damage. March, 1997, a mudslide near Mirror Lake Golf Course swept a car off U.S. 95 and damaged the roadway. October, 1998, a major slide above the District 2 Road north of Bonners Ferry destroyed the roadway, seriously damaged the railroad, swept heavy equipment into a field below the slide and forced school and highway closures for an extended period.

6.3.3. Exposure Assessment: Most of the property exposed to danger from landslides lies along the major roadways in Boundary County. The FEMA Landslide Risk Map identifies the majority of Boundary County as being at low risk from landslide, though an area of moderate susceptibility but low incidence exists in the northeast portion of Boundary County extending from Eastport in an area bounded by the Moyie River and the Montana state line and extending south nearly to Highway 2.

6.4. AVALANCHES: Avalanche danger is a threat in Boundary County, mainly at higher elevations where action by wind on the snow pack carves cornices that can give way with catastrophic results. The greatest threat is to those who travel to these remote areas for winter and spring recreation, and no damage by avalanche to date has resulted in damage to improvements to property. With the increasing demand for land for residential use, however, the possibility of development in areas prone to avalanche is growing.

6.5. WILD FIRE: Of all the natural disasters that occur in Boundary County, forest and wildfires are the most frequently occurring events, and a high proportion of these events occur in or near human habitation. Forest Fires in Boundary County have covered large areas of land, and with prevailing dry conditions, the build up of combustible fuels, and forest stressed by disease and overcrowding, it is reasonable to assess the risk of danger from forest and wildfire as high. With increased development, it is reasonable to predict that potential loss of structures and possibly human life in the event of a fire event are extremely high. In 2003, Boundary County contracted with Inland Forest Management (IFM) to develop and complete the Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Mitigation Plan, which included numerous considerations to reduce the risk of catastrophic loss, including risk assessment, public involvement, and setting strategies and priorities.

6.5.1. History: Several large fires have been documented in Boundary County since 1900, some of them in what is now the wildland/urban interface. In 1910, a fire burned along Katka face and into Montana. In 1926, the Hellroaring fire burned from Round Prairie to the top of Queen Mountain. In 1931, the Deer Creek fire started in Lower Deer Creek and burned north and east into the Yaak River drainage in Canada. In 1967, both the Sundance and Trapper Peak fires burned in the Selkirk Mountains, showering the Kootenai River valley with firebrands and ash. In the past 18 years, an average of 23.4 wildfires per year have been fought on USFS protection lands and 26 per year on IDL protection lands. In 2002, the Myrtle Creek fire seriously damaged the water supply of the City of Bonners Ferry.

6.5.2. Protection: Following the development of the Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Mitigation Plan in 2003, Boundary County established the “Fire Safe” program, which provided expert assistance in protecting structures against the dangers of wildfire by establishing “defensible space,” an area around structures treated by reducing fuels to provide a safe area for firefighters, and a “survivable space,” an area designed to sufficiently reduce fire intensity to help the building survive.

6.6. FLOODS:

6.6.1. History: Floods have long played a role in shaping Boundary County, and the silt deposits laid down over the millennia in the Kootenai River valley have helped create some of the most productive agricultural lands in the world. In the 1900s, these regular floods often caused significant damage, mostly within the City of Bonners Ferry and to farms along the riverbanks, with major floods recorded in 1933, 1934, 1948, 1957, 1964 and 1972. The completion of the Libby Dam in the early 1970s and the establishment of a major system of dikes in the county have largely controlled flooding along the Kootenai River, but high-water years and recent increased seasonal river flows designed for sturgeon recovery have resulted in limited flooding and contributed to the erosion and deterioration of some of the county dikes. In 1996, county commissioners declared an emergency for a spring run-off flood event. A flood event in 2002 caused crop damage estimated at $700,000, and another in 2006 caused several million dollars in damages and damaged the majority of dikes throughout the county.

6.6.2. Types of Flooding: Ravine Flooding: Ravine flooding occurs when water leaves channels, lakes, ponds and other confinements due to precipitation, runoff and ravine ice formation. The two key periods of ravine flooding are during spring runoff and from winter rains and snowmelt. Ravine floods typically are low-velocity events affecting large areas of land for a prolonged period of time, most often affecting agricultural production. Structural damage can typically be mitigated by sandbagging or diversion. Flash Flooding: Flash floods have higher velocity but affect smaller geographic areas than ravine floods, but have the potential to cause significantly more damage when they occur in developed areas. Such floods crest quickly, and most often occur in hilly or otherwise confined terrain, principally along smaller rivers, creeks and drainages. Flash floods on alluvial fans pose a growing hazard as development in these areas grows. Alluvial fans are gently sloping, fan-shaped landforms created over time by water-borne deposit of eroded sediment, typically at the base of mountain ranges. Given that alluvial fans tend to occur in apparently dry conditions, homeowners who build on them are often shocked to find that they can be the site of destructive floods, usually characterized by relatively shallow depths but high velocity and debris content, often striking with little or no warning. Development in urban/wildland interface areas pose unique risks, as flash floods may originate in mountainous terrain and grow in intensity and severity before entering the urban environment where vegetation has been removed, where bridges and culverts restrict flow and where buildings and paving have greatly expanded impermeable surface which exacerbate the severity of damage. The most catastrophic flash floods are those that result from dam failure. The Libby Dam, Moyie Dam and Smith Creek Hydro pose the only known dam failure risks in Boundary County. Pre-disaster mitigation plans are in place for the Moyie Dam and the Libby Dam. Ice/Debris Jam Flooding: Floods resulting from ice formation are a relatively common spring occurrence, particularly on the Moyie River in the Eastport area. Ice jam formation depends on air temperature and physical conditions in the river channel. Ice cover on a river is formed when water temperature reaches its freezing point, and large quantities of ice are produced, flow downstream and consolidate. With warming temperatures and warming stream flows, this ice eventually breaks up and flows downstream. This ice can form jams at various points in the river; on islands, sharp bends, on other ice sheets or at man-made structures such as bridge abutments. Debris jams usually occur as a result of land or mudslide along the banks of a stream or river. Flooding occurs as water is diverted beyond normal banks and may extend well beyond normal floodplain boundaries. Additional high-velocity flooding may occur when a jam suddenly breaks, sending backed-up water rushing downstream.

6.6.3. Floodplain: Boundary County’s recognized floodplains were mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and incorporated into Flood Insurance Rate Maps created in August, 1982. Many of the areas along streams and creeks were mapped to determine base flood elevation, but much of the area, especially along the Kootenai River, are in unnumbered A Zones, which are areas within the floodplain for which no base flood elevation has been determined. Development in A Zone floodplain is permitted, but requires additional steps to ensure compliance with FEMA flood damage prevention measures required for participation in the FEMA flood insurance program. Adherence to program standards is monitored by FEMA, and compliance failure can result in the entire county being disqualified from flood insurance participation, adversely affecting the ability to finance real estate. In the history of the FEMA Flood Insurance Program in Boundary County, four claims have been filed. It is reasonable to predict that increasing demands for development under current county management provisions make both the potential for violations of FEMA standards more likely as well increase the risk for property damage resulting from flood events.

6.7. WINTER STORMS: As frequently experienced in Boundary County, especially at higher elevations, severe winter weather and heavy snow and ice can block roads, break power lines, cause extended power outages, topple trees and cause flooding, landslides and avalanches. Blocked roads and limitations on access to emergency services is a significant concern in Boundary County. In recent years, homes and property have been destroyed by fire due to lack of sufficient access. Winter storms exacerbate the distances emergency responders must travel.

6.7.1. Frequency: Boundary County experiences a “severe winter storm” at least once every year, with the communities of Trout Creek, Porthill, Eastport and along the Moyie River Road most adversely affected. Federal disaster events were declared as a result of winter weather in February, 1996, November, 1996, and January, 1997. The winter of 1996-1997 was considered a record year for snowfall and heavy spring rain in Boundary County, with snow collapsing buildings around the county and damaging spring mudslides and floods. There have been no recorded serious winter storm events since 1997, but heavy snow years typically occur every 10 to 15 years.


7.1. ARCHAEOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: There are few known sites of archaeological significance in Boundary County, none of which have been specifically identified through the effort of producing this comprehensive plan, despite many and wide ranging contacts. The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho holds many sites in Boundary County to be of historical and archaeological significance, however, they do not wish to identify these sites, believing secrecy to be the best protection for those sites. It is known that several “Chinese Ovens” built by Chinese laborers working on the railroads in the early 1900s exist on private property in the Eastport area, the most visible monuments remaining from the Spokane and International Railroad construction camps (see Architectural Significance, below).


7.2.1. Overview: The Selkirk Mountain Range and the region’s rivers and lakes have been the native homeland of the Kootenai Tribe for millennia. Other tribes also traveled through the region to hunt, fish, gather berries and trade with the Coeur d’Alene, Spokane and Bitterroot Salish tribes. Ktunaxa is the ancient aboriginal name for the Kootenai (also spelled Kootenay) Tribe, which means, “to travel by water.” In 1809, Welsh explorer David Thompson arrived in the Selkirks, seeing fur trapping areas for the North West Company and a route from Canada to the Pacific Ocean via the Columbia River system. Gold rush fever hit the Selkirks in 1864 as prospectors arrived at the northern shore of Lake Pend Oreille, then traveled north to the Wild Horse Creek area in the East Kootenays of Canada. Today, Highway 95 roughly follows this historic “Wild Horse Trail” that was the main freight road between Walla Walla and the minefield. This event prompted a need for an efficient means of crossing the Kootenai River. From 1883 to 1905, steamboats on the Kootenai River carried passengers and freight between Bonners Ferry and British Columbia. Settlers were attracted to the rich soils of the river valley, and lumber companies arrived seeking the region’s plentiful forests.

7.2.2. Areas: From a traveler’s perspective, telling the stories of the historical events spoken of in the overview is an opportunity to develop a “sense of place.” The character of the historic buildings in downtown Bonners Ferry give a living picture of what early life was like in this county. The Boundary County Museum has many fine photos and examples of equipment, clothing and artifacts to support these stories.

7.2.3. Sites: Ferry Landings: Bonners Ferry, Leona, Copeland, Porthill. Early-day Trails: Wild Horse Trail before it was a freight road was a migratory and trading trail for the tribes. Fire Lookout trails established a system of trails in the Selkirks. Many of those trails today are recreational trails. Kootenai Tribe: Boundary County is part of the Tribe’s ancestral land, and the region is steeped in tribal history and lore. The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho did not sign any treaties with the United States government, thus were not granted reservation lands. After a peaceful war against the United States in 1974, the Tribe was deeded 12.5 acres to serve as tribal headquarters. Early Logging Camps: There are numerous sites in Boundary County used by early loggers in this area, though most remain unmarked and unheralded. It would serve well to identify these camps, recount logging stories and support those stories with early logging equipment and photos. Early-day Mining: In the years since the gold rush, copper, silver, lead, zinc, galena and vermiculite have all played a role in the economy of Boundary County. While the once-thriving Continental Mine in northern Boundary County is the most significant, you can still find places in the county where people worked to extract ore … even pits carved in solid rock in remote parts of the county where solitary miners worked to ply their trade.

7.3. ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE: The following are listed in the National Register of Historic Places:

7.3.1. Boundary County Courthouse: Located on Kootenai Street in downtown Bonners Ferry, the courthouse was added to the national register in 1987. The art deco building was designed and built by Fletcher Martin.

7.3.2. Fry’s Trading Post: Also known as the Bonner-Fry Trading Post, this building was an important hub in early-day commerce in Boundary County. It was added to the national register in 1984, but subsequently burned to the ground.

7.3.3. Harvey Mountain Quarry: Added to the national register in 1978, the location of the quarry, used for millennia by native peoples, remains restricted in the interest of preservation.

7.3.4. North Side School: Located on Comanche Street, thousands of local students passed through its doors from 1900 through 1949. The building, added to the national register in 1992, was converted into a show-place home by Jim and Ruth Burkholder, and has more recently been converted into a bed and breakfast.

7.3.5. Snyder Guard Station Historical District: Located south of Eastport on Forest Service Road 211, the Snyder Guard Station was added to the national register in 1983.

7.3.6. Russell and Pearl Soderling House: Located on Madison Street in Bonners Ferry, the home was designed by Russell Soderling in 1925 and added to the national register in 1998.

7.3.7. Spokane & International Railroad Construction Camp: Located on the east side of U.S. 95 south of Eastport along the Spokane and International Railroad (now Union Pacific). This site was added to the national register in 1994.

7.3.8. U.S. Post Office: Located in downtown Bonners Ferry, the Bonners Ferry Post Office was built by Louis A. Simon in the 1920s as a federal post office, which it remains today. It was added to the national register in 1989.

7.4. ECOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The northern part of Idaho is classified as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains ecoregion in a multi agency study published in 2004 by the Nature Conservancy. Boundary County contains two ecological sections of the ecoregion, divided along the Highway 95/Highway 1 corridor. The Okanogan Highlands section covers the western area of the county, and the Flathead Valley covers the eastern region of the county.

7.4.1. Okanogan Highlands Ecological Section: The Okanogan Highlands ecological section is a mountainous area in which glacial lakes, rivers and streams are prevalent. Rivers and streams are rapid flowing, particularly during spring runoff. The Pend Oreille River, Pend Oreille Lake, and Priest River are major water bodies. Creeks are prevalent, and many flow through glacial outwash and debris material within narrow valleys, and glacial lakes and wet meadows are also common. Rock strata are characterized by extreme metamorphism and deformation, and deposits of glacial till, outwash and debris cover much of the landscape. Communities are mostly small and rural, but populations and development in some municipalities have greatly increased in recent years. Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry and Post Falls are the largest population centers. Summer residences are common at lakes and large river systems. Forestry, livestock grazing, mining and localized agriculture are principal land uses. Participation in outdoor recreation is rapidly increasing.

7.4.2. Flathead Valley Ecological Section: The Flathead Valley ecological section includes the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains as the dominant landforms. Perennial streams are common, as well as small lakes, bogs and wetlands. The Kootenai River and the Clark Fork River are major water bodies that pass through. Soils are generally moderately deep to deep with loamy to sandy textures. Most of the soil contains volcanic ash. Communities are small and sparsely distributed. Timber harvest and recreation are important land uses, and livestock grazing and farming occur in some valley areas.

7.4.3. Species of Conservation Need: Species of greatest conservation need in the Okanogan Highlands and the Flathead Valley ecological sections include: Fishes: White sturgeon, lake chub, westslope cutthroat trout, inland redband trout, kokanee, whitefish, bull trout and burbot. Amphibians: Northern leopard frog, wood frog and Coeur d’Alene salamander. Reptiles: Northern alligator lizard. Birds: Northern pintail, lesser scaup, harlequin duck, hooded merganser, common loon, red-necked grebe, western grebe, bald eagle, merlin, peregrine falcon, upland sandpiper, long billed curlew, Wilson’s phalarope, Forster’s tern, black tern, flammulated owl, short-eared owl, boreal owl, black swift, Lewis’s woodpecker, white-headed woodpecker, American three-toed woodpecker, pygmy nuthatch, white-winged crossbill. Mammals: Pygmy shrew, Merriam’s shrew, fringed myotis, Townsend’s big-eared rat, red-tailed chipmunk, northern bog lemming, gray wolf, grizzly or brown bear, fisher, wolverine, Canada lynx and mountain goat. Gastropods: Fir pinwheel, pygmy slug, and sheathed slug. Insects: Stonefly.

7.4.4. Roadless Areas: Inventoried roadless areas in Boundary County include the Salmo-Priest #981 area surrounding upper Priest River, Continental Mountain #153, Saddle Mountain #154, Selkirk #125 (Long Canyon area), Kootenai Peak #126, White Mountain #127, Willard-Lake Estelle #173, Roberts #691, Katka Peak #157, Hellroaring #128, and Buckhorn Ridge #661. Portions of the Salmo Priest and Selkirk roadless areas are currently recommended for wilderness designation in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest plan.

7.4.5. Research Natural Areas: Current research natural areas include the area near Boulder Mountain, the area around West Fork Cabin and the area around Snowy Top.

7.4.6. Kootenai River Valley: The Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI) was formed under a Joint Powers Agreement between the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the City of Bonners Ferry and Boundary County in October, 2001. The tribe, city and county are working together to address resource issues affecting those in the Lower Kootenai Sub-Basin. The KVRI is a diverse, community-wide group appointed to facilitate this process. The intent is that this historic and new approach will guide how we, as a community, respond to opportunities such as Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) planning, development of a wetland conservation strategy, recovery of the lower Kootenai River burbot, the Corps of Engineers EIS related to operation of the Libby Dam and other issues as they become timely or appropriate.

7.4.7. Riparian Areas: Riparian habitat encompasses the area beginning at the ordinary high water line and extends to that portion of the terrestrial landscape that directly influences the aquatic ecosystem by providing shade, fine or large woody material, nutrients, organic and inorganic debris, terrestrial insects, or habitat for riparian-associated wildlife. It includes the entire extent of the floodplain because that area significantly influences and is influenced by the stream system during flood events. The riparian habitat area encompasses the entire extent of vegetation adapted to wet conditions as well as adjacent upland plant communities that directly influence the stream system. The terms riparian habitat, riparian area, riparian ecosystem and riparian corridor are sometimes used interchangeably, and all refer to the ecologically defined area adjacent to streams. Riparian vegetation refers specifically to plant communities that are adapted to wet conditions, are distinct from wetland communities and occur immediately adjacent to aquatic systems. The terms riparian zone and riparian buffer refer to administrative or management areas associated with riparian habitat. Riparian habitat along streams and shorelines involves a relatively narrow strip of land that usually supports a disproportionately high density and diversity of fish and wildlife relative to other habitats. It also has important social values for county residents, to include water purification, flood control, recreation and aesthetics. Riparian habitats are also fragile and sensitive to both natural and man-made changes.


7.5.1. Hatcheries: The Kootenai Tribal Sturgeon Hatchery plays a major role in the recovery of the white sturgeon species indigenous to the Kootenai River. The hatchery was built in the spring of 1991 as an experimental facility to help enhance the sturgeon population. Recent improvements at the hatchery, along with a growing understanding on the culture of the white sturgeon, have contributed greatly. The hatchery raises one- and two-year-old sturgeon for release into the Kootenai River as directed under research objectives. Funding is provided by the Bonneville Power Administration under the Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980. The hatchery is located on property owned by the Kootenai Tribe three miles west of Bonners Ferry. Visitors are welcome between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For directions or to arrange a tour, people can call (208) 267-7082. Hatchery personnel take pride in the upkeep of the hatchery, cleaning the tanks and feeding the fish daily. The spawning process takes place between April and June, which is a busy time for hatchery personnel. In addition to white sturgeon, rainbow trout are also raised at the hatchery, and used as food for adult sturgeon brought into the hatchery for spawning.

7.5.2. Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge: The Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge is located five miles west of Bonners Ferry. The 2,774-acre refuge was established in 1965, primarily to provide important habitat and a resting area for migratory waterfowl. The refuge is comprised of a wide variety of habitat types, including wetlands, meadows, riparian forests and cultivated agricultural fields for producing valuable wildlife food crops. These habitats are interspersed in the valley bottom adjacent to the west bank of the Kootenai River. Wetlands include open-water ponds, seasonal cattail-bulrush marshes, tree-lined ponds and rushing creeks. The western portion of the refuge ascends the foothills of the scenic Selkirk Mountains, which consist of dense stands of coniferous trees and tranquil riparian forests. Over 300 different species of wildlife can be found on the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, indicating the richness and diversity this area holds. The refuge not only serves as a valuable habitat for resident and migratory waterfowl, but provides a nice stopping point for visitors to get out and enjoy some of the vast natural beauty Boundary County has to offer. The refuge welcomes approximately 20,000 visitors per year, bringing together people from all nationalities and backgrounds for the enjoyment of our Nation’s natural wildlife resources.

7.5.3. McArthur Lake Wildlife Management Area: The McArthur Lake WMA is adjacent to U.S. 95 approximately 13 miles south of Bonners Ferry near the Boundary/Bonner county line. There are about 1,207 acres in the WMA, of which approximately 600 consists of the McArthur Lake reservoir. While the majority lies in Boundary County, a small part extends into Bonner County. The McArthur Lake WMA was one of Idaho’s first land purchases using Pittman-Robertson funding. The WMA was acquired to provide waterfowl breeding, nesting and summer/fall use areas to replace marshlands converted to farmland in the nearby Kootenai River Valley. An important aspect of the WMA is providing the public with opportunities for waterfowl and big game hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, and assuring that the public will be able to enjoy these activities for generations to come. McArthur Lake WMA provides excellent Canada goose nesting habitat. Elevated nesting platforms are use and ground nesting also occurs. Band recovery information indicates that hunters in seven western states and two Canadian provinces take McArthur lake geese. Thirteen species of duck are known to breed at McArthur Lake, and up to 6,000 migratory ducks visit the area each spring and fall. Ruffed grouse, common snipe, mourning doves and snowshoe hares are common, although not abundant game species on the WMA. American coots breed and nest on the WMA and occasionally number over 1,000 during migration. Merriam’s turkeys are frequent visitors. White tailed deer are abundant on the WMA year-around. Moose are also common residents, mostly observable in June, when they feed daily on the lake’s aquatic vegetation. Cow moose with calves are commonly seen in the summer, and black bear are frequent visitors in the spring, feeding in wetland habitat on the southwest portion of the WMA. Elk use the WMA infrequently, mostly during winter, and mule deer and mountain lion rarely visit. A pair of bald eagles has nested on the WMA continuously since 1988, and in seven of the last ten years they’ve successfully fledged young. Other nesting non-game birds include pied-billed and red-necked grebes, Virginia rails, black terms, osprey and red-tailed hawks, along with a diverse array of other migrant and resident birds.

7.5.4. Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area: The 1,405-acres of the Boundary Creek WMA were acquired in 1999 using funds provided by the sale of hunting licenses, tags and state waterfowl stamps, and by the Bonneville Power Administration. The WMA is managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to develop wildlife and fish habitat and to provide public access for hunting, fishing and other recreational pursuits. Development activities focus on restoring historic wetlands, promoting native vegetative communities and promoting compatible public recreation. Bringing the property into public ownership assures public access previously unavailable when the property was under private ownership. Despite many decades of grazing, farming and occasional logging, the WMA continues to support significant wildlife resources. These include big game, upland game, waterfowl, furbearers and non-game species. The gray wolf, the Kootenai River white sturgeon, the bald eagle, grizzly bear, bull trout and Canada lynx are all listed as endangered species, and all occur on the WMA or in close proximity. The WMA lies at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains adjacent to the Kootenai River floodplain. Consequently, wildlife species with large home ranges can seasonally capitalize on the food and cover resources the WMA provides. The WMA and the large, undeveloped lands surrounding it seasonally support all species of big game animals found in northern Idaho with the exception of mountain goats. Most wildlife use is associated with the relatively undeveloped forested habitat located on the western edge of the WMA and between the dikes that contain Boundary Creek. The interior portions of the former croplands are sparsely used by wildlife, but the edges near forested cover are used heavily.


7.6.1. Scenic Byways: Highway 95 from Sandpoint north through Bonners Ferry to Copeland and Highway 1 from Copeland to the International border at Porthill was first designated a State Scenic Byway, called the “Wild Horse Trail” in January, 2004, and on September 22, 2005, the International Selkirk Loop organization was successful in demonstrating the scenic and recreational significance of the region through which these highways traverse, having the roadway federally-designated an All-American Road under the National Scenic Byways Program. In order to attain this designation, a Corridor Management Plan was developed and finalized in June, 2005, adopting the U.S. Forest Service’s Scenery Management System as its criteria for identifying what encompassed the corridor, essentially using the landscape as seen from the travelways and use areas of interest or importance to the traveling public.

7.6.2. Scenic Pull Outs: The following are areas identified by the Selkirk Scenic Loop for future improvements along the corridor: 95, MP 493.3: McArthur Lake Wildlife Management Area: Highway 95 is to be realigned in 2010 to take out the 45-mile-per-hour curve. At that time, significant visitor improvements, highway safety and wildlife crossings will be considered. 95, MP 503.7: Historic and Scenic Pullout overlooking Golf Course: It is recommended that these signs be relocated to be near the new Visitor’s Center. Lack of adequate space and no left turn lane were cited as reasons. 95/Hwy 1, MP 4.2: Scenic pull out. Plans call for adding signage, interpretation and orientation. 1, MP 11: Scenic pull out, Porthill border crossing. Plans including adding interpretive signage.

7.6.3. Key scenic assets along the Boundary County Corridor: Selkirk Mountain Range Kootenai River McArthur Wildlife Management Area Purcell Mountain Range Copper Creek Falls Snow Creek & Myrtle Creek Falls Rural nature of the region.

7.7. State Scenic Byway Sign Policy: The State Scenic Byway sign policy is coordinated by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Land Management in order to ensure consistency in signs and compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). ITD and the Idaho Legislature approved an exception to the MUTCD in 2001 to allow for a multi-colored format on scenic byway signs. Having a federally designated National Scenic Byway comes with no regulation other than the prohibition of outdoor advertising (billboards) outside of city limits. ITD cannot regulate this provision without a clear set of standards.


8.1. OVERVIEW: Boundary County is endowed with public lands unparalleled for unstructured outdoor recreation, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, bicycling, hiking, climbing, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, rafting, etc. Idaho Panhandle National Forest offers many recreational opportunities, including camping and picnicking, cabin and lookout rentals, fishing and hunting, mountain biking and all-terrain vehicle riding. There are many high country lakes, spectacular peaks, waterfalls and other beautiful places to visit. There are also more than 1,000 miles of roads available in the area. Additional recreational facilities to meet the needs of the community have been built by private enterprise and by volunteer effort. Recreation has and will continue to be an important part of local commerce.


8.2.1. Idaho Panhandle National Forest campgrounds and picnic areas: Robinson Lake Campground: Offers 10 camp units (three handicap accessible), potable water, handicap access pit toilets, a boat ramp and day use area with two picnic units. The lake is on 60-acres and offers fishing, hiking and swimming opportunities. The lake is seven miles south of Eastport on Highway 95. Copper Creek Campground: Offers 16 camp units (three handicap accessible), potable water and accessible pit toilets. Attractions include Copper Falls, the Moyie River, hiking and fishing opportunities. The campground is one mile south of Eastport. Smith Lake Campground: Offers seven camp units, potable water, pit toilets, a boat ramp and day-use area with three picnic units. The lake offers swimming, fishing and boating opportunities. The location is five miles north of Bonners Ferry, then two miles west on Smith Lake Road. Meadow Creek Campground: Offers 22 camp units, potable water, and pit toilets. Meadow Creek and the nearby Moyie River offer fishing opportunities, and huckleberries can be found nearby. Located 11 miles north of Highway 2 on Meadow Creek Road. Brush Lake Picnic Area: Offers four picnic sites, pit toilets, and a day-use area with recreational fishing opportunities. The area is 18 miles north of Bonners Ferry on Highway 95, then three miles southeast on Forest Service Road 1004. Stampede Off-Highway Vehicle Park: Offers trails which are popular with both motorized users and horseback riders.

8.3. PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS AND PICNIC AREAS: Several private camping and picnicking areas are located within Boundary County.

8.4. IDAHO PANHANDLE NATIONAL FORESTS CABIN AND LOOKOUT RENTALS: (For information, contact the Bonners Ferry Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, (208) 267-5561.)

8.4.1. Shorty Peak Lookout: Located 45 miles northwest of Bonners Ferry off Forest Service Road 282. Requires a 2.5-mile hike. Breathtaking views of the Creston Valley and surrounding mountains are offered. There is a four-person maximum, with sleeping accommodations for two. The peak is at an elevation of 6,515 feet, and is in a grizzly habitat area.

8.4.2. Snyder Guard Station: Located 22 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry on the Moyie River Road. It sits on the banks of the Moyie River, and was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1982. Accommodations include one double bed, two cots, and a set of bunk beds. A corral is available for horses.

8.4.3. Deer Ridge Lookout: Located 24 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry off Highway 2. The 40-foot lookout tower offers a panoramic view of the Moyie River Valley and the Selkirk Mountains to the west. There is a four-person maximum, and seating/sleeping accommodations for one.

8.5. BOUNDARY COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION: Boundary County is committed to providing safe recreational opportunities for the citizens and visitors in our community, and maintain, through a Parks and Recreation Board, two public parks and two public boat launch facilities, offering an array of structured activities for youth and adults alike.

8.5.1. Boundary County Fairgrounds: Managed by an appointed board, the Boundary County Fairgrounds are located immediately west of downtown Bonners Ferry. The fairgrounds holds a multitude of annual events, including the Kootenai River Rodeo, motocross, demolition derby, 4-H and open horse shows, and, of course, the Boundary County Fair, complete with a family fun night event.

8.5.2. Memorial Park: Located by the Boundary County Fairgrounds, boasting a playground, a covered pavilion for family or group functions, picnic facilities, a dump station for recreational vehicles and one of the best skateboard parks in North Idaho. In addition, there are four softball fields, a soccer field and lighted tennis courts.

8.5.3. Riverside Park: Located just off the District 2 Road at the north end of the Kootenai River Bridge, featuring two softball diamonds and bleachers to allow spectators to watch either game. A number of local and regional tournaments are held at Riverside Park each summer. In addition, the park features a natural area developed by local Boy Scouts and volunteers, featuring a pond, native flora and a beautiful habitat for birds and other animals.

8.5.4. Boat Launches: Boundary County owns and maintains two public boat launches on the Kootenai River which also provide docks for fishing. The Deep Creek Boat Launch, located on Riverside Street between Bonners Ferry and the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, features restroom facilities and picnic tables. The Copeland Launch, located on Copeland Road north of the Mt. Hall Junction, has restroom facilities and enters into one of the smoothest parts of the river.


8.6.1. The spectacular beauty of Boundary County can often best be seen and experienced when traveling by foot. Hikers can choose easy walks on a well-established trail or multiple-day treks in the wilderness. There are more than 300 miles of trails open to foot, stock, bicycle and some motorized traffic in the Panhandle National Forest land contained in Boundary County. Many of these trails lead to high mountain lakes, where other recreation, such as fishing and camping, can be enjoyed.

8.6.2. Bicycles are also becoming a more popular form of recreation in the county. The local Rotary Club helps organize the Kootenai River Ride in the fall that offers scenic views along county roads. Old Forest Service roads make perfect mountain bike trails when logging is no longer taking place. The Forest Service suggests seeking closed roads to avoid motorized traffic. Mountain bikers are still discovering new trails to cruise that offer a wide variety of backcountry stops. A few areas suggested for exploring are the Snow Creek/Myrtle Creek Loop, Boulder Creek, Clifty Mountain or Katka. Exceptions are any restricted hiking trails developed for foot traffic only or for handicap access.

8.6.3. Boundary County’s rural character offers the opportunity for horse ownership and many areas for horseback riding. Local trails can be ridden to provide scenic, camping and hunting opportunities. The Kootenai River Rodeo is held annually at the Boundary County Fairgrounds. The Back Country Horsemen of Idaho – Selkirk Valley Chapter is a non-profit organization with 15-chapters spread throughout our beautiful state. The Back Country Horsemen are dedicated to perpetuating common-sense use and enjoyment of horses in America’s backcountry and wilderness. They work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use and assist the various government and private agencies in maintenance and management of those areas.

8.6.4. The following is a partial list of some of the area’s favorite hiking trails: Nose Lakes Trails: #160 and #165 located 23 miles southwest of Bonners Ferry via Snow Creek Road #402, Road #1007 through Caribou Pass and Road #2667. Vehicle access to Roman Nose Lake #3, limited camping and picnicking, day hikes to other lakes one to two miles away. High mountain vistas of the Selkirk Crest, including the Sundance Fire area. Lakes Trails: #13 and #43. Located 43.23 miles northwest of Bonners Ferry. From Highway 1, turn west on Copeland Road, found in the Trout Creek drainage via Road 2667. Vehicle access to trailhead on Upper Trout Creek. Easy 1.3-mile hike to Pyramid Lake, one-half mile further to Ball Lake. Lake and Mountain Trail #152. Fifteen miles northeast of Bonners Ferry via Meadow Creek Road #229 and Queen Mountain Road #2542. Moderate half-mile hike to lake from trailhead, over mountain is three-quarters of a mile further. Excellent views of the Moyie River valley and the Purcell Mountains. Mouths Lake Trail #268. Fifteen miles west of Bonners Ferry in the Myrtle Creek drainage via Road #633. Vehicle access to trailhead in Upper Myrtle Creek. Moderate 5.5-mile hike to lake. Mountain Trail #182. Eighteen miles southeast of Bonners Ferry via Twenty Mile Road #408 and Black Mountain Road #274.Vehicle access to trailhead is at saddle east of Black Mountain. Moderate 1.5-mile hike to Clifty Mountain. Outstanding views of Bonners Ferry, the Kootenai Valley, the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains. Top (Hidden Lake) Trail #102. From Highway 1, turn west on Copeland Road to Smith Creek Road #281 to #2545 to trailhead. Short hike to high elevation lake with good views and opportunities for spotting wildlife. Watch for bears! Canyon Trail #16. From Highway 1, turn west on County Road 18 to the Westside Road trailhead. Remote, roadless drainage from the Kootenai River Valley to the Selkirk Crest with excellent views of Long and Parker Canyons and walks through old-growth forest. The full loop is 32-miles miles long and makes a good four- or five-day backpacking trip.


8.7.1. Fishermen can choose from a variety of fishable waters in Boundary County from 290-miles of streams and rivers to sub-alpine, high mountain and other lakes. The range of species includes rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bass, crappie, brook trout, sunfish and whitefish. Small lake fishing with boats is best at Brush, Solomon, Perkins, Smith, Dawson, Bonner and Robinson Lakes. Recommended high mountain lakes include Roman Nose, Bottleneck, Snow and Cooks, Two Mouth, Myrtle, Hidden, West Fork and Caribou Lakes. Creeks most suitable for fishing include Snow, Myrtle, Deep, Grass, Cow, Parker, Long Canyon, Deer, Canuck and Boulder Creeks.

8.7.2. Fly fishing is recommended on several rivers including the Kootenai River and Moyie River, where wild trout will challenge and delight the fly fisherman. Other fly fishing waters include Smith, Ball, Trout and Caribou Creeks.

8.7.3. For specifics on fishing waters, contact local sports shops or call the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 769-1414, or the department’s wildlife biologist at (208) 267-3115.

8.8. HUNTING: With more than 400,000-acres of National Forest lands in the county, Boundary County offers many promising hunting grounds. Hunters can take advantage of seasons for elk, whitetail and mule deer, black bear, moose, cougar and other big game as well as several species of birds. The Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, just a few miles west of Bonners Ferry, is a popular site for bird hunting.


8.9.1. The Kootenai River provides both recreational rafting and power boating opportunities. The river north of Bonners Ferry is suited to rafting, river boating and fishing. South of Bonners Ferry, the river is deep and wide enough for sports such as water skiing. Private launch points include Twin Rivers Canyon Resort.

8.9.2. The Moyie River provides abundant rafting/kayaking opportunities. The river above Meadow Creek Campground provides mostly recreational rafting, while the river below provides more whitewater rafting opportunities. The river can be accessed south of Eastport on Highway 95 at County Road 211. There are five bridges where the river can be accessed for put in and take out. A good place for recreational rafters to land is at Meadow Creek Campground, open for day use to picnickers and fishermen. Local outfitting and guide services are also available in the spring.

8.9.3. Many local creeks and lakes are available for swimming in the warm season.


8.10.1. The Stampede Lake OHV area offers multi-use recreation and is popular with motorized users for activities such as dirt-biking and four-wheeling.

8.10.2. Boundary County’s backcountry wilderness is full of wide open play areas and has miles of groomed access trails that can take you from elevations of 2,000-feet to over 7,000-feet. The Boundary County area offers more than 100 -miles of marked and groomed snowmobile trails. Some of the most popular areas include: The Roman Nose area just southwest of Bonners Ferry in the Selkirk Mountains. Includes the famed Roman Nose peak, standing at 7,200 feet and one of the top destinations for backcountry sledders. The Sundance forest fire of 1967 left a wide area open that today offers challenges for every riding ability. Access is made from Naples, ten miles south of Bonners Ferry on U.S. 95, via Ruby Creek or Fall Creek Roads, or take Snow Creek Road four miles southwest of Bonners Ferry. The Lloyd Hughes Snowmobile Park provides approximately 44-miles of trails in the Fall Creek/Ruby Creek/Snow Creek trail system. About 13 miles northeast of Bonners Ferry in the Canuck Basin are the beautiful Purcell Mountains, where grand vistas of Canada and Montana can be seen from the high ridges. The best time to snowmobile on Copper Trail is from November to April; access is by Deer Creek Road or from the Copper Creek Campground near Eastport. The Smith Creek/Cow Creek area in northern Boundary County. On Highway 1, turn west at Copeland, cross the Kootenai River and follow the Westside Road north to Smith Creek Road. The Smith, Cow and Grass Creek drainages have wide open bowls and high-running ridges.

8.11. WINTER SPORTS: When snow covers the backcountry of Boundary County, a whole new world is opened up for anyone wishing to venture on cross-country skis or even snowshoes. Hiking trails can be explored in the Canuck Basin in the Purcell Mountains or the Boulder Creek areas in the Cabinet Mountains, or the magnificent Selkirk Crest. While the Forest Service doesn’t currently groom or maintain cross-country ski trails, they recommend trying roads plowed for on-going timber sales on the weekends when there’s no commercial traffic. For groomed trails, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is located 37-miles south of Bonners Ferry near Sandpoint. There are also several low-lying lakes that are excellent for ice skating and ice fishing in mid-winter.

8.12. PARKWAYS AND SCENIC DRIVES: The beauty of Boundary County can also be enjoyed with a scenic drive. Important areas open to vehicles include the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Elk Mountain Farms and the McArthur Wildlife Management Area. Outstanding views of the Kootenai River valley, Bonners Ferry and the Selkirk Mountains can be seen from the Katka overlook. The Black Mountain lookout can also be reached by vehicle. Waterfalls that can be viewed from nearby roads include Copper Falls, Myrtle Creek Falls, Smith Creek Falls and Snow Creek Falls. Other popular attractions include the Boulder City Ghost Town, the Moyie River Overlook and Bridge, which also has a picnic area.

8.13. OTHER RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES/FACILITIES: Additional recreational opportunities in Boundary County include:

8.13.1. Golf – Mirror Lake Golf Course is owned by the City of Bonners Ferry and located just south of town on U.S. 95.

8.13.2. Shooting

8.13.3. Athletic clubs

8.13.4. Climbing

8.13.5. Berry and mushroom picking

8.13.6. Snow camping.


9.1. DATA:

9.1.1. Population data for Boundary County used in this analysis is current through 2003. Extrapolations and predictions of future trends are estimates based on this 2003 data.

9.1.2. Over a 35-year period, Boundary County’s population rose from 5,417 in 1969, to 10,172 in 2003, for a net gain of 4,755, or 87.8%. This trailed Idaho’s increase of 93.4%, but outpaced the national increase of 44.5%. Boundary County’s population comprised 0.77% of the overall state population in 1969, declining to 0.74% in 2003.

9.2. POPULATION GROWTH: From 1969 to 2003, Boundary County experienced an average annual growth rate of 1.91%. During the 1970s, Boundary County’s annual population growth rate averaged 2.88%, declining to 1.68% in the 1980s, and 1990s and 1.15% through the first three years of this decade. Relative to nationwide population growth trends, Boundary County led the nation during the 1970s, with 2.88% growth versus 1.10%; registered above the nation in the 1980s (1.48% versus 0.95%), and exceeded the nation both in the 1990s, 1.68% versus 1.23%, and from 2000 to 2003, 1.15% to 1.04%. Based on current trends as evidenced by recent local development, it is reasonable to assume that growth in Boundary County will continue, with another boom in population as occurred in the 1970s through the remainder of this decade a high probability.

9.3. GROWTH RATES: Population studies indicate an aging population in Boundary County, with the 45 to 49 year old age category experiencing the highest rate of increase of change over the decade from 1990 to 2000 at a total rate climb of 3.8%. The only other age bracket showing a significant increase is the 40 to 54 year old category, which increased 3.4%. The age group showing the highest decrease in population change over the decade was the 35 to 39 year old category, which dropped by 2.2%, followed by the 30 to 34 year old category, which declined 1.8% over the decade.

9.4. POPULATION TRENDS: Based on recent growth trends and an analysis of those currently moving into the community, it is reasonable to predict that Boundary County’s population will continue to age, as young people setting out on their own predominantly continue to leave the community to pursue higher education or more profitable job markets, while the highest population influx will continue to be those who are retiring or are about to retire. This analysis is buttressed by the marked growth in “non-labor” income, which includes dividends, interest, rent and transfer payments, which include age-related government payments (including Medicare), disability insurance payments and retirement payments. In the last three decades, non-labor income has climbed at an average annual rate of 4.3%, outpacing traditional labor sources, including agriculture and timber, which grew at a 1.4% rate. In 2003, 42.8% of total personal income in Boundary County was from non-labor sources. In 1970, non-labor income accounted for about 23% of total non-labor sources, and in that period, 60.6% of new income was derived from non-labor sources.


9.5.1. In 1999, for every household that made over $100,000 in annual income, there were 14.5 households earning under $30,000 in annual income. In 1989, for every household earning over $100,000, there were 132.5 households bringing in less than $30,000. (Figures not adjusted for inflation).

9.5.2. The number of households in Boundary County earning less that $10,000 a year declined between 1989 and 1999, from 580 to 476, but this category continues to be the most prevalent income bracket in Boundary County. The income bracket showing the largest gain was among households earning $50,000 to $59,999, with 163 falling in that bracket in 1989, to 393 in 1999. While they comprise the fewest families, all households in the higher income brackets posted gains, with those earning $150,000 or more per year climbing from 7 in 1989 to 70 in 1999.

9.5.3. In contrast, the housing affordability index, which suggests that the median family can afford a median house, declined in the decade from 1990 to 2000. In 1990, the median value of a home was $63,900, and the income required to reasonably afford such a house was $21,552, for an affordability index rating of 155 (100 or above means the median family can afford the median house.); in 2000, the median value of a home had risen to $96,900, requiring an annual income of $27,381, decreasing the affordability index to 133. Which the sudden surge in land and home prices in 2004, it is reasonable to predict that the affordability index rating will decline further.

Sources: University of Washington Extension Service: Northwest Income Indicators Project; Sonoran Institute’s Economic Profile System: “A SocioEconomic Profile: Boundary County, Idaho”


10.1.COMMUNITY DESIGN ASSESSMENT: Until October 2, 2005, Boundary County government has not made recommendations nor developed standards as relate to community design or landscaping, building design or tree planting, relying instead on a natural progression of growth as determined by the property owner. On October 2, 2005, in response to the unregulated division of land and complaints arising there from, primarily over erosion of the rural lifestyle, County Commissioners enacted an emergency ordinance limiting the partition of land below the minimum parcel size in each zone district and establishing minimum road standards and utility requirements for subdivisions proposed in high-density areas where parcels below two acres in size are permitted. Rather than imposing community design standards, county policy has been geared to the furtherance of free enterprise and economic development, particularly as regards harvest or extraction and utilization of Boundary County’s natural resources, and to encourage the initiative of property owners to use their land in furtherance of their own best interest, both economic and social.

10.2.COMMUNITY CENTERS: As a result of natural growth beginning early in the 20th century, development within Boundary County has occurred around two incorporated and three unincorporated community centers, whose favorable locations provided advantages in topography and transportation. The City of Bonners Ferry grew up around a ferry across the Kootenai River and is the primary residential and commercial center in the county. The City of Moyie Springs developed around an early logging settlement. Unincorporated communities include Naples, Eastport, and Porthill, which combine the attributes of small towns, offering a mixture of uses, including residential, commercial and industrial. More recently, by virtue of its location at the intersection of U.S. 95 and Highway 2, Three Mile Junction has become a commercial center as well. In addition to community centers are less densely populated “communities,” connected more by topography and land use than by common design, including but not limited to Highland Flats, Shiloh, Pleasant Valley, Copeland, and Curley Creek. While Boundary County provides nothing in the way of physical infrastructure except roads, these and other communities have organized and established various associations to provide their own infrastructure, such as water and fire associations.

10.3.SUBDIVISIONS: Until October 2, 2005, the majority of subdivisions platted in Boundary County have been simple subdivisions of land with few or no covenants and restrictions and no public review. Basic standards for high-density subdivisions were established with the adoption of Ordinance 2006-01, including utility and access easement requirements, road standards and the requirement for the developer to provide available utilities prior to the sale of lots. A list of all subdivisions within Boundary County as of August 9, 2007, are available at Appendix VII.


11.1. INTRODUCTION: Housing development in Boundary County has traditionally been limited to a small portion of Boundary County’s land mass, mostly along the Kootenai River and through the valleys between the Selkirk, Purcell and Cabinet Mountains, with most housing clustered around existing communities, to include Eastport, Porthill, Naples and in the Three Mile Junction area. The greatest majority of residential structures and the highest density of homes are within the incorporated areas of the county; Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs. While Boundary County does not provide residential infrastructure with the exception of roads, numerous public facility associations, most notably water districts, have been formed to provide essential services to make many areas more conducive to residential development. Residential development Boundary County has long been minimally regulated and no construction standards additional to those required by the state and federal governments have been imposed by the county. Homes here range the gamut from palatial estates to homes that would be considered substandard by all but those who built and live in them.

11.2. HOUSING ASSESSMENT: At the time of this writing, the Boundary County Assessor’s Office records show a total of 9,559 parcels in existence on Boundary County’s tax rolls, and provide the following breakdown of residential categories:

11.2.1. Improved rural residential tracts, 870; unimproved rural residential tracts, 1,209.

11.2.2. Improved rural subdivision residential lots; 256, unimproved rural subdivision residential lots, 384.

11.2.3. Improvements on other rural land; 8, unimproved lots, other rural land; 497.

11.2.4. Improved residential lots inside city limits; 983, unimproved residential lots inside city limits; 452.

11.2.5. Improvements on agricultural and forest land, 2,085 (these are not necessarily residential structures)

11.3. HOUSING TYPES: Boundary County does not collect data on housing types, except to differentiate between framed housing and mobile/manufactured housing. On the current assessor’s record, there are 952 mobile/manufactured homes in Boundary County, and 715 of them have improvements.

11.4. HOUSING TRENDS: Between 1999 and 2004, the number of zoning certificates that were issued in Boundary County declined steadily until 2003 and 2004, when the number of annual permits issued began a slow climb. In 2005 the number of permits issued soared dramatically, and continued to rise through 2006. In the first six months of 2007, the number of permits issued declined over the same date the preceding year, but remains high. In addition to applications for zoning certificates, the number of residential lots created through subdivisions has recently taken a huge jump forward, while the price of land has nearly doubled.

11.5. HOUSING NEEDS: Based on study of data from the population component, it is clear that population in Boundary County is both growing and aging. This is reflected in the fact that the great majority of those making application for zoning certificates are people who have reached or are nearing retirement age, while very few applicants have been in the 20-30 age group.

11.6. AFFORDABLE HOUSING: With the rising costs of home construction, combined with increasing land prices, it is reasonable to assume that the affordability of a home will continue to be dependent upon parcel size, with those areas allowing increased residential density offering the most affordable housing.

11.7. SUBDIVISIONS/PLANNED-UNIT DEVELOPMENTS: There are currently 51 rural subdivisions in Boundary County dating from the turn of the century to present. Most of them, particularly those established prior to the 1970s, impose no covenants or restrictions and make no provision for placement or availability of utilities. The number of subdivision applications jumped exponentially in 2005, coinciding with a rapid increase in the price of land.

Subdivision Applications


Total - # lots

Total Approved - # lots









0 (plat amendment)


3 –31

1 – 25


14 –267

11 – 203




11.8. BUILDING PERMITS/ZONING CERTIFICATES: Boundary County does not presently require building permits for construction of a residence, instead issuing a zoning certificate that looks at flood zone, airport overlay, parcel size in each zone district and setbacks. In 2000, the number of certificates issued per year declined from 83 to 51 and the number remained low from 2000 to 2003 before beginning to climb again in 2004. In 2005, a record number of permits was issued for residential construction in Boundary County, and the number of applications in the first quarter of 2006 shows a continuation of that trend.

Zoning Certificates Issued



Single Fam




















































2007 (through June 30)







12.1. The “SocioEconomic Profile of Boundary County” produced by the Sonoran Institute’s Economic Profile System, reveal the following highlights in trends charted between 1970 and 2003:

* Population growth during that period (84%) was somewhat fast.

*Employment growth (3,083 new jobs) was somewhat fast.

* Personal income growth (2.3% annually) was roughly average.

* Non-labor income share of total in 2003 (41.8%) was somewhat high.

* The median age in Boundary County (38.3 years) is roughly average.

* Per capita income in 2003 ($18,542) was somewhat low, and when adjusted for inflation, has not changed since 1970.

* Average earnings per job in 2003 (after adjustment for inflation, falling from $32,058 in 1970 to $24,783 in 2003) were somewhat low.

* The education rate (percentage of population 25 and over with college degrees; unspecified) is roughly average.

* The ratio of rich to poor (number of households earning less than $30,000 for every household earning over $1000,000; 14.5:1) was somewhat high.

* Housing affordability (ability of a family earning a median income to purchase a median house) has declined.

* The government share of total employment (20.7%) was somewhat high.

* The 2004 unemployment rate (6.9%) was somewhat high.

12.2. Perhaps the most striking facts to emerge from economic analysis spanning three decades from 1970 to 2000 is the sharp growth in non-labor income, which includes investment and retirement income. The proportion of income derived from these sources rose from 22.9-percent of new personal income generated in Boundary County in 1970 to 41.8-percent of new personal income generated in 2000, by far the largest source of new personal income in the county. By comparison, new personal income derived from farm and agriculture services accounted for 10.9-percent of personal income generated in 1970, dropping to 4.4-percent by 2000, showing the largest decline of any of the industries charted.

12.3. Also showing significant growth during this period was new income generated by government (federal, state and local), which at $12-million accounted for 13.2-percent in 1970 and grew to $35-million in 2000, accounting for 19.5% of total new personal income generated.

New Income by Industry

Figures in millions of 2000 dollars

1970 % Tot

2000 % Tot

Total Personal Income



Farm and Agricultural Services










Manufacturing (including forest products)





Services & Professional















Non-labor Income





12.4. From 1977 to 1997, 198 new businesses were established in Boundary County. By industry, the biggest gains in total business share came in the construction and services sectors, while the biggest declines came in retail and manufacturing sectors.

Firms by Industry

Share of Total




# Biz

% Share

# Biz

% Share

# Biz

% Share





Agricultural Services




























Wholesale Trade







Retail Trade







Finance, Ins, Real Estate
























12.5. Small businesses are predominant in Boundary County, with enterprises employing between one and four people comprising approximately 70% of total businesses in 2003; the same percentage seen in 1983 after a drop in 1993. Businesses employing five to nine people rose in 1993, accounting for just over 20% of all business, but fell in 2003 to about 18%, which is slightly higher than it was in 1983. Businesses employing between 10 to 19 employees comprise about 5% of all businesses in 2003, and 95% of all businesses in Boundary County employ fewer than 20 employees.

12.6. While much has been said about the need to diversify Boundary County’s economic base, studies show that in 2000, compared to the national median, Boundary County is slightly more economically diverse than most. The national mean measures 961, while Boundary County’s employment diversity index ranking is 903, the lower the number, the greater the indication of diversity.

12.7. From 1970 to 2003, Boundary County’s population grew by 4,649 people, an 84% increase in population, with the greatest increase among those aged 40 to 54 years old. The age group showing the greatest decline was among those between 30 to 39 years of age, indicating that Boundary County is attracting those who are retired or near retirement age, while losing those in their prime earning years. Between 1989 and 1999, the number of households earning less than $10,000 per year declined from 580 to 476, but this category still comprises the majority of households. During the same period, the number of households earning $150,000 or more per year increased ten-fold, from seven in 1989 to 70 in 1999. The largest increase in household income came in the range of households earning between $50,000 and $59,999, growing from 163 in 1989 to 393 in 1999.

12.8. Boundary County created 3,083 new jobs between 1970 and 2003, with 69% of those jobs being wage and salary and 31% percent belonging to proprietors. Overall personal income has climbed at an annual rate of 2.3%, but while those earning wage and salaries (employees) climbed at an annual rate of 2.4%, the personal income of the proprietors (employers), fell at an annual rate of 1.3%. Proprietors represent 30% of Boundary County’s total employment, but bring in only 8% of total income.

12.9. Average earnings per job, the total wages earned divided by the number of people working and adjusted for inflation, have fallen from $32,058 in 1970 to $24,783 in 2003. Per capita income rose only slightly, from approximately $16,000 in 1970 to about $18,542 in 1999. Adjusted for inflation, there has been no change in per capita income in two decades.

12.10. The majority of growth in government employment in Boundary County between 1970 and 2003 came in state and local government, which accounted for 90% of government growth, rising from approximately 300 positions in 1970 to just over 900 jobs in 2003. Military personnel remained steady at fewer than 90, while federal and civilian government workers rose from just under 100 to just under 200. With the increase in the Homeland Security presence in Boundary County, federal government employment is expected to sharply increase. While government employment has grown, the percentage of total employment has remained stable, accounting for about 22%. In terms of population, there were eight government employees per 100 people in 1970, compared to 11 per 100 in 2003.

Employment by Industry

Changes from 1970 to 2000


% Tot


% Tot

Total Employment



Wages and Salaried Employment





Proprietor’s Employment





Farm and Agricultural Services













Manufacturing (incl. Forest products)





Services and Professional





Transportation and Public Utilities





Wholesale Trade





Retail Trade





Finance, Ins., Real Estate





Services (health, legal, etc)















12.11. Of all categories of private sector industry and business surveyed, the highest paying sector in Boundary County in 2003 was manufacturing, accounting for 17.3% of total employment and paying an average of $30,936 per year. The largest employment sector in 2003 was Trade, Transportation and Utility, account for 21.6% of total employment and paying an average of $22,052 per year.

County Wages and Employment in 2003

(Private Sector Only)


% Total

Avg. Anl. Wage

Total, all industries




Goods Producing




Natural Resources and Mining












Service Providing




Trade, Transportation, Utilities








Financial Activities




Education & Health Services




Professional & Business Services




Leisure & Hospitality




Other Services




12.12. Between 1985 and 2005, Boundary County’s unemployment rate stayed consistently above state and national levels, except in the mid-1980s, when it equaled both at about 5%. In February, 2005, Boundary County’s unemployment rate was 6.3%, the ninth highest unemployment rate in Idaho. The following month, CEDU schools in Boundary County closed, putting nearly 300 people out of work. In February, 2006, the county’s unemployment rate stood at 7.6%, the second highest in Idaho.

12.13. Approximately 585 county residents between the ages of 16 and 64 have disabilities that prevent them from working, 9.8% of the county’s available work force, compared to 13.2% nationally. Another 1,360 county residents have some kind of disability, but have found places in our work force.

12.14. The great majority of people in the work force who live in Boundary County also work here. Of a total of 3,830 employed county residents in 2000, 3,310 work in Boundary County, 322 in Bonner County, 64 in other Idaho counties, 10 in Lincoln County, Montana, 76 in Washington, and three in Canada. There are also 276 people who live in Bonner County who commute to Boundary County to work, 50 from other Idaho counties, 134 from Lincoln County, Montana, two from other Montana counties, 14 from Spokane County, Washington, and four from other states who come to Boundary County to work.

12.15. Bonners Ferry is the economic hub of Boundary County, with 364 employers in 2005 providing 2,791 jobs. Both figures are up from 2002, when there were 322 employers and 2,488 jobs. While the number of employers in both Naples and Moyie Springs rose between 2002 and 2005, the number of jobs in both areas declined. The number of employers in Eastport fell by one between 2002 and 2005, from 10 to 9, but the number of jobs increased from 48 to 82. In Porthill, two employers were added, from 8 to 10, and the number of jobs increased by 11, from 88 in 2002 to 99 in 2005.







Bonners Ferry










Moyie Springs















12.16. To maintain up-to-date demographic data, “Boundary County Work Force Trends,” published by the Idaho Department of Commerce, is incorporated as an appendix to this comprehensive plan, and should be updated at least once per year that this comprehensive plan remains in effect.

13. Land Use


13.1.1. Boundary County is rich in natural resources and by virtue of the Selkirk, Purcell and Cabinet Mountains, separated by the Purcell Trench and the Kootenai and Moyie Rivers, the County possesses a unique topography that has defined the traditional and current primary land uses throughout the jurisdiction; from the wild forests teeming with game to the fertile, productive farmland. This natural landscape has molded the development of Boundary County, from the “urban” centers of our two municipalities, Moyie Springs and Bonners Ferry to the surrounding mountains of the Panhandle National Forest. Each part of this unique landscape possesses value far beyond the primary land uses specified below, and it’s the overall combination of these characteristics that define the physical nature of Boundary County; including but not limited to its scenic beauty, the wild open spaces, and rural atmosphere.

13.1.2. The primary goal of this comprehensive plan is to enable and encourage responsible management in its appropriate place and in the appropriate density, such that those who own land are afforded the best and highest use of their property in their own best interests. And the people attempting to earn their living here may do so; that the rich natural resources remain accessible and available; and that the people who choose to live here for the peace and tranquility this country affords may do so as well; and that all these diverse interests may be mutually accomplished in a manner that the values we cherish today remain to be cherished equally by our children and their children.

13.2. PRIMARY LAND USES: Based on the data compiled in the preceding sections the following are the predominant land uses currently practiced within Boundary County:

13.2.1. Forestry: Over 75-percent of Boundary County is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Idaho Department of Lands and the Bureau of Land Management for forest management and the multiple uses our forests provide; to include timber harvest, recreation, wildlife habitat and primary watershed management. These lands are predominantly maintained in large, undeveloped tracts valued primarily for the diverse economic and outdoor recreational opportunities they afford, their critical watersheds, their wildlife habitat and their scenic beauty.

13.2.2. Agriculture: Post glacial flows of the Kootenai River and flooding over many centuries laid down in the Kootenai River Valley rich, fertile soils, creating some of the most productive farm lands in the world, and the valley has traditionally and continues to be used primarily for large-scale agricultural production maintained in large, mostly undeveloped tracts that are well defined in the soils analysis. These lands are best suited for the production of food and fiber and they are valued not only for their economic contribution, but for their scenic beauty and their role in affording the rural qualities that define Boundary County’s heritage and culture. While these lands by no means comprise all the productive farm land in Boundary County, these have been identified as essential to the culture and heritage of our community. Boundary County recognizes and appreciates that farming and other agricultural practices are subject to special protection as stated in the Idaho Right to Farm Act.

13.2.3. Mineral Exploration/Extraction: With the exception of the Continental Mine in northern Boundary County, the main mining activities within Boundary County are the extraction of sand, gravel and rock, as established in the Natural Resources section of this plan. Productive deposits of sand and gravel are found in diverse areas of Boundary County, and numerous pits and quarries are currently in operation. Mineral exploration and extraction are important to the economy of Boundary County, and one of the goals of this plan is to identify those areas that are conducive to mining and those areas where mining would be detrimental to other land uses, such as high density residential areas, sensitive wildlife habitat or near surface waters. It is recognized that mineral extraction can only occur where those minerals occur naturally, and that mineral resources are not uniformly or evenly distributed.

13.2.4. Recreation: Boundary County does not possess any major topographical feature singled out for recreational enjoyment, but instead offers recreational opportunities in diverse locations throughout the county, including wild land areas, alpine to lowland lakes, rivers, and streams, all of which offer excellent recreational opportunity. Tracts of land, particularly along the upper Moyie River, have been recognized and developed primarily for recreational use.

13.2.5. Housing: Determining suitable density for residential development is tied to the ability to serve future residents adequately with water, septic, fire protection, schools, law enforcement and roads as well as the avoidance of hazardous and sensitive areas. Issues heavily discussed during community workshops to develop this Comprehensive Plan included maintaining the rural character of the community, preserving an individual’s right to build the home that best suits their family’s circumstance and need, maintaining water availability and quality, and the desire to focus higher development density into those areas where the infrastructure is currently in place so that expansion can keep ahead of expected growth at minimal cost to the taxpayer. In addition, it was determined that costs of providing infrastructure necessary to a proposed improvement should be borne by the developer, which will require the establishment of certain minimal standards to be required as conditions of approval; to include but not limited to standards for roads, utility placement and installation, and fire protection. Minimum parcel sizes within high-density zone districts should be dependent on the level of service available, especially water and/or sewer service. Where one or both is available, a higher density could be allowed; where neither is available a minimum parcel size of no less than 2 ½ acres should be maintained so as to adequately accommodate both a well and a septic system on a single parcel. It is recognized that the only factor in the provision of affordable housing exercised by the county is in the establishment of minimum lot sizes through land use zoning laws.

13.2.6. Commerce and Industry: In formulating this comprehensive plan, it has been found that a lack of strictly commercial or industrial zone designations has hampered the county’s ability to attract and recruit enterprise due to the lack of certainty such businesses face in attempting to locate here. Areas of the county do exist which are suitable for commercial and industrial use by virtue of the availability of services and access to sufficient county roads and state highways, railroads and air service. The airport assessment in the transportation component cites a need for restricting residential development in areas critical to aircraft operation, and establishing commercial and industrial zones in those areas would protect the public as well as provide a measure of certainty for those considering locating businesses here.

13.2.7. Public Facilities: As noted in the Public Services, Facilities and Utilities component of this plan, Boundary County itself provides little in the way of infrastructure with the exception of county roads, relying instead on private industry and the initiative of citizens to form associations and taxing districts for the provision of needed services, primarily electricity, gas, telephone and communications, water and fire protection. There is little reason to see any change in this direction in the foreseeable future. Provisions favorable to public service providers should be retained to allow for the systematic expansion of such services so as to best serve the citizens of Boundary County.

13.3. PROPOSED LAND USE: Based on the analysis that went into the formulation of this Comprehensive Plan, it is recommended that Boundary County adopt the following maximum land use densities, which, along with comprehensive land use designations (13.5, below) are more fully depicted on the Boundary County Comprehensive Land Use Map:

13.3.1. 0 – 2.5 Acres: Residential areas within city areas of impact, with density to be determined by the availability of public services, including water and sewer, and minimum parcel size requirements established by the municipality. If both water and septic services are available, a higher density should be allowed, as determined by the minimum parcel size requirements established by the municipality. If either but not both services are available, a minimum parcel size of one acre should be established. Where neither public water nor septic service is available, a minimum parcel size of two and one half acres should be established to accommodate placement of a well and septic system. (See designations Airport, Industrial, Commercial/Light Industrial, Rural Community/Commercial, Residential.)

13.3.2. 1-2.5 Acres: Residential areas outside municipal areas of impact but located on their fringe or around unincorporated community centers, to include Naples, Porthill, Eastport and Three Mile Junction, and which are served by fire protection and community water service and which have sufficient road access. These areas would be located on generally flat to slightly sloping ground and outside identified hazardous areas. (See designation Suburban.)

13.3.3. 5 Acres: Areas within the county where sufficient access is available by county roads and state highways, and where public services are generally available. Development may be limited by insufficient access from county roads due to terrain, steep slope, flood plain or wetland. (See designation Rural Residential.)

13.3.4. 10 Acres: Those lands which are served by existing county roads, but where road condition or lack of easement may restrict increased residential development. Public services may or may not be available, and development may be limited by insufficient access, steep slopes, flood plains or wetland. (See designations Agriculture/Forestry.)

13.3.5. 10 Acres: Lands along the Kootenai River extending from just east of Bonners Ferry to the Canadian border encompassing most but not all of the Schnoorson-Devoignes-Farnhamton soil type identified in the Boundary County General Soil Map. These lands, by virtue of their fertile, productive soils, are well suited for growing and raising food and fiber, and are valued for their economic contribution, scenic beauty and the role they play in defining the culture and heritage of Boundary County. In addition to retaining characteristics deemed essential to Boundary County, such designation would also discourage development in un-numbered flood plains lying along the Kootenai River. (See designation Prime Agriculture.)

13.3.6. 160 Acres: Those large, sparsely developed tracts of mainly forested land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and by the State of Idaho for multiple uses. These lands are valued for the diverse economic and outdoor recreational opportunities they afford, their critical watersheds, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty. (See designation Prime Forestry.)

13.4. GENERAL SUBDIVISION CONSIDERATIONS: Boundary County recognizes that there are varying types or classes of subdivisions that differ significantly in scope and density. Development standards should consider and reflect that complexity. Proposed development of higher density subdivisions should provide for the installation of all-weather roads of sufficient width and capacity to accommodate emergency vehicles and vehicular and pedestrian traffic, fire protection, and utilities including water, electricity and septic. Roads and easements should be platted so as to avoid future conflicts. Low density subdivisions should at minimum provide for access and utility easements to county roads with slope and width to allow for future upgrade. The cost of the installation or improvement of roads, utilities or other infrastructure necessitated by the subdivision of land should not be borne by Boundary County; roads intended for adoption by Boundary County should be built and surfaced to standards established by Boundary County.

13.5. COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE MAP DESIGNATIONS: The following comprehensive land use map designations are proposed, and their general outlines depicted on the Boundary County Comprehensive Land Use Map accompanying this plan:

13.5.1. Airport Overlay Zone District: That area within the overlay zone district including land owned by Boundary County and managed in conjunction with the Boundary County Airport Board for the primary purpose of landing and takeoff of aircraft and aviation-related activity. Due to the level of federal restriction and special requirements necessary for development within this zone district, land use jurisdiction should be ceded to the Airport Board and the Board of County Commissioners, as presented in ordinance 2012-02.

13.5.2. Industrial: Those areas of the county which, by virtue of their location, the availability of utilities and services and their proximity to a combination of road, rail and/or air transportation corridors, are suitable for industrial use and development and restricted residential development. The purpose of this designation is to encourage and promote economic development and industry in a manner conducive to maintaining the overall rural characteristics of the community. Industrial and manufacturing uses are appropriate and compatible with this designation. Industrial uses which present substantial life safety concerns including but not limited to large explosive hazard or potential large release of poison gas could be considered as conditional uses. Likewise, commercial activities which bring large numbers of people into the industrial zone may be considered as conditional uses to plan for public safety. Residential development should be limited solely to an owner/caretaker’s residence. Minimum parcel size within this designation should allow flexibility to adequately accommodate the individual enterprise.

13.5.3. Commercial/Light Industrial: Those areas of Boundary County which, by virtue of their location, the availability of utilities and services and by their proximity to a combination of road, rail and/or air transportation, are best suited for commercial and light industrial uses, where residential development would be limited solely to an owner/caretaker’s residence. The purpose of this designation is to encourage and promote economic development in a manner conducive to existing residential uses. Uses which could be considered appropriate and compatible with this designation include both commercial uses and industrial uses in which noise and dust are well contained. Very large enterprises may be considered as a conditional use. Development standards should include provisions not only essential to the conduct of the business, but to mitigate adverse effect on surrounding residential development. Minimum parcel size should be sufficient to accommodate the use and subject to the level of public services available.

13.5.4. Rural Community/Commercial: Those areas of the county located primarily in municipal areas of impact and within unincorporated communities which combine both low-impact commercial enterprises and residential use to create a “small town” ambiance suited to the needs in each particular community. In addition to areas within the Bonners Ferry and Moyie Springs areas of impact, such designation would include the communities of Porthill, Eastport, Naples and, to a lesser extent, the Three Mile area. The purpose of this designation is to enhance the small town contributions to local economies and to promote the rural qualities they afford. Compatible commercial uses would impact neighbors with low or intermittent noise levels. Traffic impacts should be expected in this zone. More intensive enterprises may be considered as conditional uses provided applicants can mitigate concerns such as noise, dust, and odor. Commercial development standards should include provisions to preserve aesthetic appeal and to contribute to the rural qualities esteemed in this area. Minimum lot size should be dependent on the level of available public services; in those areas where municipal water and sewer service are available, minimum lot size could be reduced to as low as ¼-acre; where either public water or sewer, but not both, are available, a minimum lot size of not less than one acre should be imposed; where neither public water or sewer is available, a minimum parcel size of two and one half acres should be imposed to accommodate private well and septic system.

13.5.5. Residential: Areas within city areas of impact, with minimum parcel size to be determined by the availability of city services, including water and sewer, and minimum parcel size requirements established by the municipality. If city services are available, a higher density could be allowed; if no city services are available, a minimum parcel size of one acre should be required. The purpose of the designation is to provide for the systematic expansion of city and county services for residential development. High density residential development such as duplex, and multifamily residential structures would be compatible with this designation. Light uses with low impact, as well as community gathering areas or services could be considered as conditional uses. Commercial or industrial use should be prohibited so as to provide for the quiet enjoyment of residential use.

13.5.6. Suburban: Those lands lying outside areas of impact but on their fringe or in close proximity, and those lying outside rural community/commercial areas in unincorporated community centers suitable for higher residential density by virtue of the availability of fire protection, adequate public services and roads. The purpose of this designation is to retain the qualities enjoyed for rural residential use by encouraging uses compatible with family residential use, to make available more affordable housing and to provide for the systematic expansion and improvement of public services. Where either public water or sewer are available, a minimum lot size of not less than one acre may be imposed; where neither public water or sewer is available, a minimum parcel size of two and one half acres may be imposed to accommodate private well and septic system. Uses in this zone are limited by the proximity of houses as dense as one per acre. Light uses with minimal impacts are most appropriate to the zone. More intensive uses may also fit well within this zone, but should be considered as conditional uses subject to public hearing to determine if impacts may be mitigated. Many intense uses will be precluded due to insufficient land area to mitigate impacts. Commercial development standards should include provisions not only essential to the conduct of the business, but to mitigate and minimize adverse effect on surrounding residential development.

13.5.7. Rural Residential: Those lands which may lie well outside community centers but which by virtue of adequate roads and the availability of public services, to include water and fire protection, make them suitable for large lot residential development and compatible commercial and light industrial uses. The purpose of this designation is to encourage continued agricultural and silvicultural productivity and use of these lands, while affording residents within the zone district enjoyment of the rural qualities of life such property affords. Uses compatible with this designation include farming, ranching, timber harvest, small commercial and light industrial enterprises . Uses which could not be made compatible with the goals and objectives of this designation and which should be prohibited may include some large scale enterprises with land insufficient to mitigate concerns such as noise and dust; auto wrecking yards/junk yards, and off-premise commercial signs. A minimum parcel size of not less than five acres should be imposed. Commercial development standards should include provisions not only essential to the conduct of the business, but to mitigate adverse effect on surrounding residential development.

13.5.8. Agriculture/Forestry: Those rural lands which compose the remainder of private land in the county not designated for higher development density often due to limited availability of water, roads and fire protection. These lands constitute the largest private ownership zone district and have historically been used for many purposes, especially agriculture and silviculture. Land use specifications should reflect this diversity of uses, permitting a range of light uses in these large parcels where they will not impact neighbors. Moderate uses may also be located where the distance from neighbors limits impacts. More intensive uses may also fit well within this zone, but should be considered as conditional uses subject to public hearing to determine if impacts may be mitigated. A residential development density of not less than 10 acres should be imposed.

13.5.9. Prime Agriculture: Large tracts of sparsely populated land whose fertile, productive soils make them best suited for growing and raising food and fiber and which are valued for their economic contribution, scenic beauty and the role these lands play in defining the culture and heritage of Boundary County. The objective within this designation is to retain the integrity of our prime agricultural lands and to engender the continued production of the resources they provide. Land uses that are complementary to agricultural production are to be promoted to preserve this vital resource. Many uses, including intensive industrial and commercial uses may be compatible with this zone by virtue of large spaces between neighbors to mitigate noise. While these lands may be suitable for residential development, it is deemed that retaining these lands as open farmland is essential and desired. Precedence in land use decisions should weigh in favor of agricultural pursuits and discourage fragmentation. Prime Agriculture lands may utilize Transfer of Development Rights, whereby a landowner may sell the rights to develop the property as a subdivision but retain the land for agricultural production. A minimum parcel size of not less than 10 acres should be imposed.

13.5.10. Prime Forestry: Those large, sparsely developed tracts of primarily forested land under state or federal ownership valued for the diverse economic and outdoor recreational opportunity they afford, critical watersheds, wildlife habitat, their scenic beauty and the role these forested lands play in the culture and heritage of Boundary County. The objective of this designation is to retain the diversity of our forest lands and to engender the continued productivity of and accessibility to the natural resources they provide by promoting compatible land uses and to preserve a vital resource by discouraging continued fragmentation. While these lands may be suitable for limited residential development, in most cases such development will be limited by the unavailability of adequate public services and by generally steep slopes associated with these lands. Land uses should be determined by the state or federal owners. A minimum parcel size of 160 acres should be imposed.


14: Implementation

14.1. PURPOSE: This chapter is the result of analysis of the preceding chapters, and establishes broad objectives regarding the many topics studied, as well as general methods by which those objectives might be attained for the purpose of drafting a zoning and subdivision ordinance which reasonably balances development and growth while conserving those assets the community holds of value, freedom, economic opportunity, property rights, and a vibrant community surrounded by abundant natural resources. The data in the preceding chapters as well as the information in this chapter serve not only to allow analysis of specific land use proposals, but to educate those proposing development that which the citizens of Boundary County deem important.

14.2. PROPERTY RIGHTS: Boundary County recognizes the primacy of the rights of property ownership as established by the United States Constitution, the Idaho State Constitution and the laws of Idaho, and recognizes that every property owner has both the right to the use of property as well as the expectation that adjacent land uses will not unduly abrogate that inherent right.

14.2.1. Article 1, Section 1 of the Idaho State Constitution defines the inalienable rights of man, stating, “All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.” Freedom is the greatest resource in Boundary County and is found in great measure here.

14.2.2. Great freedom comes with a larger responsibility to be considerate of our neighbors. Boundary County encourages planners, property owners and all citizens to respect one another. Boundary County encourages those planning development within the county to consider the concerns of adjacent property owners, and that they address those concerns, where possible, cooperatively and early in their planning process. Likewise, Boundary County encourages the owners of properties adjacent to a proposed development to refrain from opposing merely because of proximity, but that they give fair hearing to proposals, realistically assess potential adverse impacts they might face, offer ideas that might sufficiently mitigate those concerns and, when no remedy is available, that they avail themselves of their right to be heard through the public hearing process, that their interests may be fairly weighed.

14.2.3. Boundary County policy is to establish fair and equitable land use ordinances, laws and regulations such that each property owner within the jurisdiction of Boundary County may lawfully enjoy the widest use of land with assurance that surrounding land uses, lawfully established, will not unduly infringe upon their enjoyment of property.

14.2.4. Boundary County will purposely enact no land use law, nor render any land use decision, which constitutes a taking of private property, as enunciated at Title 67, Chapter 80, Idaho Code.

14.3. NATURAL RESOURCES: State and federal agencies provide extensive regulation sufficient to protect Boundary County’s natural resources. Developments impacting these resources are subject to requirements of state and federal agencies. Boundary County land use regulations should not duplicate these requirements or enforce them on behalf of other agencies. Nor should Boundary County attempt to represent or interpret the changing regulatory landscape on behalf of developers.

14.3.1. SURFACE WATER: Boundary County recognizes the value of its surface water resources and their aesthetic appeal and importance to local ecosystems, as well as their desirability for recreational use and residential development. State and federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Idaho Department of Environmental Quality provide sufficient protection for these resources. Boundary County encourages the voluntary use of best management practices as established by the agency regulating the specific type use in the development of sites adjacent to surface water features so as to protect both those waters and riparian areas. Natural vegetative buffers surrounding surface waters are important to the health of surface waters. Boundary County can assure these buffers by encouraging voluntary development practices that promote the retention of natural vegetation and the least ground disturbance necessary to accommodate development needs.

14.3.2. BEACHES AND SHORELINES: Boundary County recognizes that those lands immediately surrounding surface water, to include beaches, shorelines and alluvial fans, are integral to the health of the water body itself and add to the scenic beauty of Boundary County. It is also recognized that these areas are, by their nature, desirable for development.

14.3.3. WETLANDS: Boundary County recognizes the ecological significance of wetlands.

The Idaho Department of Lands, the Idaho Department of Water Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulate development proposed within wetlands as identified on Boundary County GIS maps using data provided by those agencies. All matters pertaining to wetland designation and management should be directed to the Walla Walla District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, which coordinates with the Idaho Departments of Land and Water Resources. Wetlands may be afforded protection by notifying development permit applicants of the presence of wetlands and providing them contact information for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Consideration of uses requiring a public hearing within a wetland may include information solicited from the US Army Corps of Engineers gathered through the public hearing process. Wetlands may be further protected by prohibiting establishment of the residential portion of clustered subdivisions within them.

14.3.4. SUBSURFACE WATERS: Boundary County recognizes the importance of aquifers and groundwater to its citizens, as well as that limited information available on the abundance, distribution and quality of such water sources. Boundary County recognizes that future planning decisions as regard subsurface waters are likely to be based on insufficient data. The State of Idaho Water Resources Board is currently in a long-term program to identify, map and assess groundwater basins throughout the state. Boundary County policy should encourage the development of a groundwater basin plan for the Kootenai River Basin.

Upon completion, the results of this study should be incorporated into the Boundary County Comprehensive Plan so as to identify the extent of subsurface water resources, both to identify aquifers that currently supply water or could supply water in the future and those aquifers that are insufficient to accommodate development or that could be degraded by development activity.

14.3.5. FISHERIES: Boundary County recognizes the value of its fisheries and promotes measures to enhance both the health and quality of these resources.

14.3.6. WILDLIFE: Boundary County recognizes the importance of its wildlife as well as the vast public lands already managed for habitat conservation.

14.3.7. SOILS: Boundary County possesses a variety of soil types which directly support other attributes described herein as well as affect development. A study titled “Soil Survey of Boundary County Area, Idaho,” was developed in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, providing a thorough study of soil types throughout Boundary County, including development considerations unique to each. A copy of this study is maintained in the Planning and Zoning office as a reference resource to be used in the evaluation of development proposals. Boundary County encourages development practices designed to protect against soil erosion and slide potential, such as re-vegetation of exposed areas and slope stabilization measures. The suitability of soils to support septic disposal should be considered on all platted subdivisions. Boundary County possesses many soil types which support agriculture, including lands lying along the Kootenai River identified on the accompanying Boundary County Comprehensive Land Use Map as Prime Agriculture. Boundary County policy should encourage preservation of these arable soils by reducing development density and encouraging clustered development in those areas more marginally suited for agriculture production.

14.3.8. VEGETATION: Boundary County possesses a wide variety of vegetation, including native, cultivated and invasive. Boundary County land use policy should encourage the retention of native and cultivated plant species while reducing or eliminating invasive species. Boundary County land use policy should encourage the retention of those areas identified on the Comprehensive Land Use Map as prime forestry, as well as promote multiple uses of forests and stewardship of the renewable resources they provide by reducing development density. Boundary County land use policy may encourage the retention of those areas identified on the Comprehensive Land Use Map as Prime Agriculture by reducing development density Boundary County recognizes the need to control and eradicate noxious weeds, and progress in this effort can be improved by ensuring that the Boundary County Weed Control Superintendent is notified of proposed development and by encouraging those proposing development to participate in noxious weed control programs offered.

14.3.9. MINERALS: Boundary County recognizes the need for the extraction of mineral resources as well as the fact that these resources must be extracted where they exist. In addition, it is recognized that mining and mineral extraction can be a long term and intensive use that can adversely affect surrounding land uses. Boundary County policy is to reasonably balance the need for mineral extraction while providing protection to existing land uses. Idaho State Land Commission, the Bureau of Mines, the Idaho Department of Lands, the Department of Environmental Quality and other state and federal agencies establish regulation requirements regarding surface and subsurface mining and mineral extraction. Boundary County should not duplicate these regulatory requirements, but require proof of compliance prior to final approval of any proposed mining development. Boundary County can balance the need for mineral extraction and provide protection to surrounding property owners by identifying those usage zones, such as high-density residential zones, which are incompatible with mineral extraction and restrict or prohibit mineral extraction in these zones. Boundary County can mitigate the potential adverse impacts of mineral extraction by establishing setback requirements of pits or mines from property boundaries and by requiring the retention of buffer areas.


14.4.1. STATE HIGHWAYS: Boundary County recognizes that highways maintained by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) comprise the primary arteries for the county ground transportation system and are essential to the transport of people and goods into, out of and within Boundary County. Boundary County land use policy is to maintain and improve the safety and efficiency of state highways within Boundary County through cooperation with ITD. Off-premise billboard signage may be prohibited throughout the non-commercial areas of Boundary County. The Idaho Transportation Department establishes approach, ingress and egress requirements on all new commercial and residential accesses to state highways within Boundary County.

14.4.2. COUNTY ROADS: Boundary County Road and Bridge is responsible for maintaining a county ground transportation network. Boundary County land use policy is to protect the county taxpayer from the cost of building roads necessary to accommodate new development and to project future transportation needs in cooperation with Boundary County Road and Bridge Department. Increased residential and commercial density should be situated in those areas of the county served by existing roads sufficient to accommodate such density. Conversely, development densities should be reduced where roads, by reason of inadequate rights of way or restrictive terrain, cannot be adequately upgraded to safely accommodate increases in growth. Planning decisions should take into account the ability of the combined system of state, county and private roads to provide access for adequate emergency services, particularly fire. Wildfire can spread rapidly and threaten large areas. In the event of evacuation, care must be given to ensure sufficient egress even as emergency service personnel, including those operating large fire apparatus, are making ingress to confront the fire. Boundary County Road and Bridge establishes approach, ingress and egress placement and construction standards on all drives and approaches connecting to the county road system. Boundary County Planning may incorporate these requirements as part of the development approval process by notifying Road and Bridge of land use proposals and by requiring a permit for new driveway access to county roads.

14.4.3. BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ROUTES: Boundary County recognizes the value of non-motorized, multi-use paths and trails both in providing for safe pedestrian traffic and for the recreational opportunities such equestrian, hiking and bicycling trails afford. Boundary County encourages the development of such paths and trails, as well as provisions for their inner-connectivity. Many light use rural county roads serve this function, especially in the valley Prime Ag lands. The bike path designation of Riverside Street between Bonners Ferry and the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge is an example. In coordination with the Idaho Transportation Department and County Road and Bridge, Boundary County planners should encourage and assist in the development, in transportation plans, of a system of non-motorized, multi-use paths and trails, focusing initially on community centers and expanding along transportation corridors as opportunities arise so as to eventually develop a connected pedestrian transportation system.

14.4.4. RAILROADS: Boundary County recognizes the role railroads play in serving the local economy as well as their potential to foster and support centralized industrial and commercial growth. Additionally, it is recognized that increased growth in those areas served by roads crossed by railroad tracks increase the safety risks associated with these crossings. Boundary County should use to its advantage the former, while working to reduce the latter risk. lines are strategically positioned to support industrial and commercial growth in and near Bonners Ferry, and could play a crucial role in transporting solid waste out of the county should the local landfill be forced to close. In addition, rail lines can and do play a major role in transporting locally abundant commodities, including wood material and vegetable matter which could be used for ethanol production, to both foreign and domestic markets. Railroads and rail access should be considered when planning suitable sites for commercial and industrial zoning. Railroad crossings should be carefully considered in planning for increased residential and commercial growth so as to provide for the safety of motorists and for the efficient flow of traffic, both road and rail. New crossings should be avoided and, where feasible, existing crossings should be eliminated. In those cases where railroad crossings cannot be avoided, those crossing should be monitored so as to determine if and when installation of crossing safety devices is necessary.

14.4.5. AIRPORTS: Boundary County concurs with and ratifies the policy of the State of Idaho in declaring that any hazard to the safety of air flight may cause disastrous and needless loss of life and property, that safety of air flight is of paramount importance for the protection and well-being of its citizens, and that air traffic and the use of airspace is constantly increasing and is vital to continued economic growth, development and enjoyment of the resources of Boundary County. Boundary County land use policy supports the growth and development of the Boundary County Airport so as to both avail itself the benefits the airport provides while ensuring the safety of people, both on the ground and in the air. The Boundary County Airport is owned and operated by Boundary County and managed by an appointed airport board overseen by Boundary County Commissioners, subject to federal and state aviation requirements. Establishing a separate zone district specific to the airport proper and ceding land use jurisdiction directly to the Board of County Commissioners would facilitate the growth and development of the Boundary County Airport. Conflicts with residential development around airports have historically been a major factor in the forced closure of airports nationwide. The Boundary County Airport is ideally situated to serve the community as well as to expand to meet future air transportation needs. Boundary County planning can further this potential by establishing low density commercial zoning around the airport and restricting uses incompatible with airport operations and safety, such as residential use and uses which congregate large numbers of people beneath those areas used by aircraft utilizing airport facilities, particularly for takeoff and approach. The safety of both aviators and those on the ground, as well as the operability of the airport, can be enhanced by the establishment and enforcement of height restriction overlays as mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, and by informing the airport manager of development proposals within those overlay zones. Those seeking to establish residential use within one mile of the Boundary County airport should be made aware, in writing, that they will live near an active airport and be subject to occasional high noise levels both day and night.

14.5. PUBLIC SERVICES, FACILITIES AND UTILITIES: Boundary County recognizes that public services, facilities and utilities are essential to public health and safety, but that the level of services desired varies among individual property owners and residents. Public services, facilities and utilities should be considered in rendering land use decisions specific to the use proposed so as to ascertain their suitability to accommodate the proposed use. Where utilities and services are limited or not provided, that disclosure is made so as to protect potential purchasers of property.

14.5.1. Sewage Disposal: In high-density zones, minimum parcel sizes for proposed developments should vary based on the availability of services. Where both community water and sewer is available, density can be increased; where community water service but not sewer service is available, a minimum parcel size should be established to reasonably accommodate a septic system; and where neither community water or sewer service are available, a larger minimum parcel should be established to accommodate both a well and a septic system.

14.5.3. Water Supplies: Developers proposing residential subdivisions on lots, parcels or tracts of land should be required to provide a plan for the availability of water or written disclosure to potential buyers that water availability is not assured.

14.5.4. Fire Stations and Fire Fighting Equipment: Boundary County should always consider the inherent danger of wildfire in Boundary County and the contributions made by local volunteer fire departments, associations and districts. Fire mitigation plans should be included in all proposals for the establishment of commercial or industrial use and for the development of subdivisions. Those proposing development within Boundary County should be made aware, in writing, of the fire association or district providing coverage.

14.5.5. Solid Waste Disposal: The Boundary County Landfill operates under Subtitle D restrictions and is facing closure within the next several years at considerable expense to county taxpayers. The flow of solid waste into the Boundary County Landfill should be considered when evaluating land use proposals and alternative disposal methods encouraged in the interest of retaining an open landfill for the longest possible time.

14.6. SCHOOL FACILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION: Boundary County appreciates the role the county’s public school system plays in the economic infrastructure, and will continue to provide School District 101 information and data on land use proposals, particularly subdivisions, and trends that the district may accommodate and plan for future facility and transportation needs, without burdening future development with added cost or regulation.

14.6.1. Boundary County encourages and promotes the inclusion of features designed to assure student safety to and from school in residential subdivision proposals, including but not limited to pedestrian paths, student shelters and bus pull-off or turnout areas.

14.6.2. Boundary County recognizes the benefit of private schools and alternatives to the public school system and encourages such schools to provide students diverse educational opportunities.

14.7. HAZARDOUS AREAS: The Boundary County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan ( first developed in 2005 and to be updated regularly, offers the clearest assessment of naturally-occurring hazards in Boundary County, and forms the primary plan for responding to most natural disasters within Boundary County. The Boundary County All-Hazard Plan is a prime reference for Planning & Zoning considerations; one of the principle roles of county government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens, and county land use policy should establish development standards and restrictions to protect against potential hazards, particularly threats from wildfire, flood and ground failure.

14.7.1. Boundary County supports and encourages participation in fire mitigation programs to reduce wild fire on both public and private lands, particularly in those drainage areas that provide water to Boundary County residents. Boundary County should encourage road building on public lands so firefighters can significantly combat wildfire and have better escape routes.

14.7.2. Boundary County participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood insurance program, and all development within flood plains as identified on FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps shall meet FEMA requirements prior to county approval.

14.7.3. Boundary County can minimize the threat of damage from ground failure by establishing clustered development standards so that development can be consolidated into areas not at risk from such damage and that areas may be set aside for uses not endangered should ground failure occur.

14.7.4. Railroads move vast quantities of hazardous materials through the county every day. Boundary County may reduce the life safety threat from a train derailment by reducing subdivision density immediately adjacent to rail lines.


14.8.1. Areas of Historical Significance: Boundary County recognizes those sites and areas identified by the Idaho National Historical Society as being of historical significance.

Boundary County has a collection of architecturally and historically significant structures, including barns, agricultural structures, cabins, schools and community halls which contribute to the heritage and rural characteristics treasured by county residents. Boundary County land use policy should promote the preservation of these structures through its support of the Boundary County Historical Society, but not through coercive means.

14.8.2. Exempt Jurisdictions: Kootenai Tribe: It is recognized that lands comprising Kootenai Tribal Headquarters are sovereign to the Kootenai Tribe, and they are hereby exempt from the provisions herein as well as Boundary County land use and subdivision ordinances to be enacted. Government Forest Lands: Forest lands owned or managed by agencies of state or federal government, may be designated Prime Forestry to indicate their separate management and low residential density.

14.9. RECREATION: Boundary County recognizes the importance of recreation to citizens and visitors and encourages the highest level of access to public areas in which recreational activities have traditionally been enjoyed. Boundary County should continue to be responsive to the citizens of the community to ensure a variety of recreational opportunities appealing to people of all ages.

14.9.1. Parks, Public Lands and Campgrounds: Boundary County land use policy promotes the retention of access to federal and state land for community recreation of all kinds, including hiking, backpacking and camping, bicycling, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, snowmobiling and off-road vehicle riding.

14.9.2. Boundary County Parks and Recreation: Boundary County has in place a system of parks, playing fields, trails and playgrounds managed by an appointed Parks and Recreation Board. Boundary County land use policy will be to encourage compatible development around existing parks.

14.9.3. Non-Motorized Trails: Boundary County encourages open areas and interconnected access to existing paths and recreational areas in future developments.

14.9.4. Water-Related Recreation: Boundary County encourages the preservation of access to those surface waters traditionally enjoyed for recreation.

14.9.5. Events: Recreational and entertainment events have the potential to draw large numbers of people to Boundary County. While such events are a benefit to the community, they can place temporary burdens on local transportation, law enforcement and other infrastructure. Boundary County should set reasonable standards on such events to ensure that adequate health and safety services are provided for those attending as well as to mitigate potential adverse impacts to the general public.

14.10. POPULATION: Boundary County land use regulations should be designed to accommodate a growing population while protecting the rural character and quality of life values most responsible for the attractiveness of our community. Boundary County should continue to monitor the latest and best available demographic data.

14.11. COMMUNITY DESIGN: Boundary County encourages that development be designed to conform to the objectives established by this comprehensive plan, but sees no need to specifically establish regulation governing landscaping, tree plantings, or standards for community design, development and beautification, trusting instead that those who propose development will have their own vision of how their projects should look, and that their vision will be developed in the interest of being a good neighbor and in compliance with established law.

14.11.1. To encourage the best use of land in a manner that will allow preservation of those values this community desires to retain while affording property owners the ability to maximize value, Boundary County should establish provisions for clustered development. Such development would not increase overall density, other than possibly through appropriate use of Transfer of Development Rights but allow residential development to be condensed into a smaller portion of the subdivision. It would also set aside areas restricted to development so as to preserve productive agriculture and timber lands, and to avoid development in areas with surface water, alluvial fans, riparian areas, wetlands, sensitive wildlife habitat, excessive slopes, and those at risk from natural hazards, including areas subject to ground failure, fire and flood.

14.11.2. Boundary County encourages design practices that retain natural vegetation and that blend with the land so as to retain scenic beauty.

14.12. HOUSING: Boundary County recognizes the need for safe and affordable housing, and also recognizes that people have the right to build or buy the home that best serves their individual needs, desires and circumstance.

14.12.1. Boundary County can promote affordable housing by imposing no county building codes. Freedom from a county building code is both a valued asset and a means to home ownership for many in the county.

14.12.2. As land is a major factor in the price of a home, Boundary County can promote affordable housing by establishing higher density zones, where infrastructure permits, and by establishing provisions for the development of multi-family housing and clustered development.

14.12.3. Boundary County may further provide for affordable housing by allowing conveyance of residential development rights. Transferring a development right from Prime Agriculture lands adds an extra parcel as an increased density bonus to a subdivision located in a suitable, less agriculturally productive area in another zone.

14.13. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The desire of this plan is to enhance the economic condition of Boundary County by influencing the development of policies that encourage enterprise, agricultural and forestry job development, industrial growth and commercial development in a way that will maintain the county’s rural qualities by ensuring compatibility within land use classifications. Small and home-based businesses found throughout the county form the foundation of economic growth and development in Boundary County, and land use policies can continue to encourage their establishment and retention by minimizing regulation.

14.13.1. Use of public lands has a great impact on the prosperity of Boundary County. Timber Harvest from private and especially public lands provide critical jobs for the community and needed funding for public schools. Boundary County should engage in talks with public lands administrators to encourage timber harvest matching replacement growth rates and increased public road access for timber harvest, recreation and fire protection.

14.13.2. Valley Farm Land provides stable long term jobs for the community. Farmers often find themselves at odds with nearby neighbors over the normal dust, noise, chemicals, and smoke inherent to farming. Boundary County affirms the State of Idaho “Right to Farm Act.” Conventional impacts from farming should be considered a normal and acceptable land use.

14.14. LAND USE: The purpose of this Comprehensive Plan and accompanying Comprehensive Land Use Map has been to gauge the will of the citizens of Boundary County so that land use and subdivision ordinances and a land use zoning map can be developed in accord with the goals established herein, bringing into balance the diverse views expressed.

14.14.1. Zone district designations should be established recognizing the value of the county’s agricultural and timber land, centering areas for residential and commercial growth in those areas where adequate infrastructure exists.

14.14.2. The compatibility of a land use is often a function of the scale of the use and its proximity to neighbors. Therefore, larger uses will fit better in lower density zones. Uses which could not be made compatible should be prohibited, so property owners within those zones have clear knowledge of what they can do on their property as well as what neighbors may do on theirs. Boundary County has a history of enterprise located throughout the rural lands, not just concentrated in the towns. This ability to earn a living on the land should be retained and delineated in the zone description.

14.14.3. While uses currently in place at the time of adoption of the new ordinance will be able to continue, Boundary County should recognize that uses established which constitute public nuisance or blight, including but not limited to un-regulated junk yards, and establish a mechanism by which such uses, when not brought into compliance with standards drafted, may be abated.

Appendix I


The following is an inventory of Boundary County creeks, giving the name, source and where they flow:

          1. West of the Kootenai River from the Canadian Border south to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge:

            1. Ball Creek, Selkirks, flows south into the Kootenai River.

        1. Boundary Creek, Selkirks, flows through the northwest tip of the county into British Columbia.

        2. Burton Creek, Selkirks, flows east into the Kootenai River.

        3. Cascade Creek, Selkirks, flows east into Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge wetlands.

        4. Clark Creek, Selkirks, flows east into Kootenai River wetlands.

        5. Farnham Creek, Selkirks, flows east into Kootenai River wetlands.

        6. Fisher Creek, Selkirks, flows east into the Kootenai River.

        7. Long Canyon Creek, Selkirks, flows northeast into the Kootenai River.

        8. Lost Creek, Selkirks, flows east into the Kootenai River.

        9. Myrtle Creek, Selkirks, flows east into Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge and to the Kootenai River, serves a main water shed for City of Bonners Ferry.

        10. Parker Creek, Selkirks, flows northeast into the Kootenai River.

        11. Smith Creek, Selkirks, flows over Smith Falls northeast into the Kootenai River.

        12. Trout Creek, Selkirks, flows north into the Kootenai River.

      1. Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge west of U.S. 95 south to Bonner County Line:

        1.  Caribou Creek, Selkirks, flows into lower Snow Creek.

        2.  Deep Creek, Selkirks, flows into McArthur Lake then north into the Kootenai River.

        3.  Dodge Creek, Selkirks, flows into McArthur Lake.

        4.  Gold Creek, Highland Flats, flows into Ruby Creek.

        5.  Highland Creek, Selkirks, flows into Fall Creek.

        6.  Ruby Creek, Selkirks, flows into Deep Creek.

        7.  Snow Creek, Selkirks, flows into Deep Creek, with Snow Creek Falls a tourist viewpoint.

        8.  South Fork of Dodge, Selkirks, flows into Dodge Creek.

      2. East of the Kootenai River from the Canadian border south to Moyie Springs:

        1. Bane Creek, Kootenai Valley drainage, flows northwest into Fleming Creek.

        2. Brush Lake, Purcells, flows west into the Kootenai River wetlands south of Copeland.

        3. Cedar Creek, Purcells, flow west into an isolated small lake.

        4. Fleming Creek, Kootenai Valley drainage, flows northwest into the Kootenai River.

        5. Fry Creek, Dawson Lake, landlocked west of Moyie Springs.

        6. Hall Creek, Purcells, flows southwest into the Kootenai River wetlands at Camp 8.

        7. Lucas Creek, Kootenai Valley drainage, flows west into the Kootenai River.

        8. Mission Creek, Purcells, flows southwest through Copeland into the Kootenai River.

        9. Olds Creek, Stein Mountain south of Porthill, landlocked.

        10. Rock Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Kootenai River.

      3. East through Round Prairie within the Purcell Mountains from Mt. Hall to Eastport:

        1.  Gillon Creek, Purcells, flows into Robinson Lake.

        2.  Harvey Creek, Purcells, flows into Gillon Creek.

        3.  Hellroaring Creek, Purcells, flows north into Round Prairie Creek.

        4.  Miller Creek, Purcells, flows south into Round Prairie Creek.

        5.  Mission Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Kootenai River.

        6.  Round Prairie Creek, originates in the Purcell Range and flows east into the Moyie River.

      4. South from the Canadian border at Eastport through the Purcell Mountains along the Moyie River to the Montana state line on the north side of the Kootenai River:

        1. Brass Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River.

        2. Bussard Creek, Purcells, flows east into Bussard Lake.

        3. Copper Creek, Purcells, flows into the Moyie River, Copper Creek Falls a tourist attraction.

        4. Curley Creek, Purcells, flows north into Perkins Lake.

        5. Deer Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River.

        6. Feist Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River.

        7. Kingsley Creek, Purcells, flows west into Curley Creek.

        8. Kriest Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River.

        9. Lime Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Kootenai River north of Leonia.

    1. Line Creek, Purcells, flows southwest into the Moyie River.

    2. McDougal Creek, Purcells, flows east into the Moyie River.

    3. Meadow Creek, Fern Creek/Purcells, flows east into the Moyie River.

    4. Orser Creek, Purcells, flows southwest into the Meadow Creek wetlands.

    5. Placer Creek, Purcells, flows south into the Moyie River.

    6. Red Top Creek, Purcells, flows west into Curley Creek.

    7. Rutledge Creek, Purcells, flows east into the Moyie River.

    8. Skin Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River at Eileen.

    9. Snyder Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River.

    10. Spruce Creek, Purcells, flows west into the Moyie River at Addie.

  1. South from Bonners Ferry east of Highway 95 to the Bonner County line, extending east into the Cabinet Mountains.

    1.  Brown Creek, Paradise Valley, flows into Deep Creek at the Deep Creek Resort.

    2.  Brush Creek, Cabinets, flows north into the Kootenai River.

    3.  Cabin Creek, Cabinets, flows north into Brush Creek.

    4.  Cow Creek, Paradise Valley, flows north into Brush Creek.

    5.  Dobson Creek, Cabinets, flows north into the Kootenai River at Crossport.

    6.  Trail Creek, Cabinets, flows into Deep Creek at Naples.

    7.  Twentymile Creek, Cabinets, flows into Brown Creek.

    8.  Wishbone Creek, Cabinets, flows into Twentymile Creek.

  2. East from Moyie Springs to the Montana State line south of the Kootenai River:

    1.  Boulder Creek, Cabinets, flows east into the Kootenai River.

    2.  Caboose Creek, Cabinets, flows east into the Kootenai River.

    3.  Crown Creek, Cabinets, flows east into the Kootenai River.

  3. Named Lakes:

    1. Bass Lake, near Porthill, fed by unnamed minor tributaries and landlocked.

    2. Bloom Lake, southwest of Naples, unknown feed, landlocked.

    3. Blue Lake, southwest of Naples, spring fed.

    4. Bonner Lake, northeast of Moyie Springs, fed by surrounding wetlands and draining into Sand Creek.

    5. Bussard Lake, south of Good Grief, fed by Bussard Creek, landlocked.

    6. Dawson Lake, northwest of Moyie Springs on Meadow Creek Road, fed by unnamed surrounding tributaries and draining into Fry Creek.

    7. Geisalman Lake, south of Eastport, fed by area wetlands, draining into area wetlands.

    8. Herman Lake: northeast of Moyie Springs, fed by unnamed small tributaries, draining into unnamed small creeks.

    9. Kerr Lake, near Copeland, fed by unnamed minor tributaries and landlocked.

    10. McArthur Lake, southwest of Naples, fed by Dodge Creek and the South Fork of Deep Creek, draining into Deep Creek.

    11. Perkins Lake, northeast of Moyie Springs, fed by unnamed small tributaries, draining into Curley Creek.

    12. Robinson Lake: southwest of Eastport, fed by Gillion Creek, draining into Round Prairie Creek.

    13. Smith Lake, northeast of Three Mile Junction, fed by and draining to unnamed minor tributaries in the Moyie River system, primarily used for outdoor recreation.

    14. Templeman Lake, near Camp Nine Road, fed by Templeman Creek and landlocked.


Appendix II



  1.  Black Bullhead, introduced.

  2.  Bluegill, introduced.

  3.  Brook Trout, introduced.

  4.  Brook X Bull Trout, hybrid.

  5.  Brown Trout, introduced.

  6.  Bull Trout, native, endangered.

  7.  Burbot, native, endangered.

  8. Columbia Basin Redband Trout, native.

  9. Golden Trout, introduced.

  10. Kokanee, native.

  11. Largemouth Bass, introduced.

  12. Largescale Sucker, native.

  13. Longnose Sucker, native.

  14. Mountain Whitefish, native.

  15. Northern Pike, introduced.

  16. Northern Pikeminnow, native.

  17. Peamouth, native.

  18. Pumpkinseed, introduced.

  19. Rainbow Trout, introduced.

  20. Rainbow X Cutthroat Trout, hybrid.

  21. Redband X Rainbow, hybrid.

  22. Redband X Westslope Cutthroat, hybrid.

  23. Redside Shiner, native.

  24. Slimy Sculpin, native.

  25. Smallmouth Bass, introduced.

  26. Sunfish, introduced.

  27. Torrent Sculpin, native.

  28. Westslope Cutthroat Trout, native.

  29. White Sturgeon, native, endangered.

  30. Yellow Perch, introduced.

  31. Yellowstone X Westslope Cutthroat, hybrid.

Appendix III


(Sources: Kent, 1987; Miller & Burmester, 2003)



Mineral Types

Geologic Setting

American Girl



PF near fault and diabase



Not found

PF diabase




PF argillite




PF argillite




Continental Mtn. Pluton (tonalite)

Copper Creek

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Golden Scepter



PF diabase/agillite




PF diabase/agillite

Hoosier Bay



PF argillite

Idaho Gold & Ruby



Not found




PF diabase/argillite




PF argillite

Last Chance



PF argillite

Lucky Three



PF argillite



Not found

PF metamorphic argillite

Miller Brothers



PF argillite




PF diabase



Not found

Lookout Mtn. Granite/PF




PF diabase on Little Hellroaring Creek Fault




Copeland Pluton (granodiorite)


Not found

Not Found

Not Found




PF argillite

Silver Crescent

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found

Silver Spoon

Not Found

Not Found

Not Found




PF diabase on Little Hellroaring Creek fault

Tungsten Hill



PF diabase on fault

Wee Fraction



PF argillite

PF: Pritchard Formation of Belt Supergroup

Appendix IV


Data Sources:

Groundwater is widespread in Boundary County, but has received very little study, and information about its quality or distribution is very limited. Neither the Idaho Department of Water Resources nor the Idaho State Geological Survey have published any reports on groundwater in the county. Neither these agencies nor the Panhandle Health District have organized the information in their files regarding groundwater quality throughout the county in a way that is accessible to their staff or the general public. However, the DEQ maintains a website that includes some of the water quality and other data on all public water supply systems in the county. The data are contained in “Source Water Assessment Reports” that were completed between 2000 and 2003 and can be viewed online. The Idaho Department of Water Resources maintains a website that includes a database of well driller’s logs that can be accessed for information on the depth to groundwater in individual wells. Due to the limited availability of official groundwater reports for Boundary County, these two databases were used to perform a cursory analysis of the occurrence of groundwater in the county and develop the following discussion of groundwater basins and aquifers. The analysis included the construction of well-log cross sections in various parts of the county. These sections can be viewed at the Boundary County Planning Department.

Although the DEQ map identifies watershed sub-basins (hydrologic units) and separate aquifers, the DEQ has not officially identified any distinct groundwater basins within Boundary County. However, examination of surface geological and topographic maps and subsurface well logs indicates that separate or partially separate groundwater basins probably exist.

Purcell Trench Groundwater Basin:

One of the main geographic features of Boundary County is the large valley that trends north-south through the center of the county from the Canadian border into Bonner County. This valley, commonly referred to as the Purcell Trench, is a deep, fault-bounded basin that lies between the Selkirk Range on the west and the Purcell Range on the east. Several hundred feet of glacial and an unknown thickness of pre-glacial sediment were deposited in this basin, and this sediment comprises the main aquifers in Boundary County. These aquifers receive their water from precipitation that falls in the mountains and on the valley floor and then percolates downward and flows slowly toward the basin. Regionally, groundwater flows eastward from the Selkirk Range and mostly westward from the Cabinet and Purcell Ranges. In the east-central portion of the county where the Kootenai River has eroded its valley through the Cabinet-Purcell Range, groundwater probably flows southward from the Purcell Range and northward from the Cabinet Range. The DEQ identifies the Purcell Trench as IDAQUIFER #3 and shows it as part of watershed sub-basin 17010104.

Various geologic features of the Purcell Trench interrupt this regional groundwater flow and separate the basin into smaller sub-basins that have locally different groundwater flow patterns. These sub-basins may have slightly different aquifers, water tables and water chemistry. A few of these are discussed below; others may exist that were not identified during this preliminary examination of groundwater resources in Boundary County.

Highland Flats Sub-Basin:

The southern portion of Boundary County is more mountainous than the rest of the county. The Selkirk Range occupies the west half of the county and the Cabinet Range encompasses the east half. The Selkirk Range consists primarily of very hard, crystalline granitic rock that is non-water bearing except very locally in fracture zones (the IDAQUIFER #2 portion of watershed sub-basin 17010104). The Cabinet Mountains are underlain by hard, well-cemented, fine-grained sedimentary rocks that have been slightly metamorphosed and recrystallized. These rocks also have little or no pore space, but like the granitic rocks of the Selkirk Range are locally water-bearing where fractured (IDAQUIFER #10 and #11). Because both ranges are elevated and contain few, poor-quality aquifers, they are not considered to be groundwater basins.

In the southern part of the county, the Purcell Trench groundwater basin is less than a mile wide. The western half of the basin in this area is known as the Highland Flats, which is a relatively flat plateau at a surface elevation of between 2,200 and 2,300 feet. Well-log data suggest that Highland Flats forms a small groundwater sub-basin that is partially separated from the main portion of the groundwater basin by a topographic ridge of granitic bedrock that is partly buried and partly exposed. This ridge is bounded on the west, and probably on the east, by faults (Miller and Burmester, 2003). The highest point on this ridge is Round Mountain at an elevation of 2,851 feet. The western margin of the sub-basin is the Selkirk Range.

Highland Flats is underlain by between 20 and 30 feet of fine-grained brown sediment that is generally non-water bearing. Beneath this is a zone of at least 200 feet of blue clay that was deposited in an ancient lake during glacial times more than 10,000 years ago. This clay is also non-water bearing. Hence, there are no aquifers in Highland Flats that are shallower than about 200 feet.

The lake deposit forms a confining layer for an aquifer that underlies it. This means that groundwater beneath the confining layer is under upward pressure, and when a well is drilled through the confining layer into the underlying aquifer, groundwater will rise in the well above the level of the aquifer. Therefore, the depth to water in the well is less than the depth of the water-producing zone. In Highland Flats, the aquifer that underlies the lake clay is a zone of sand and gravel. In the wells that have been studied, this zone occurs at a depth ranging from 250 to 400 feet and is 20 feet thick or less. Due to variations in pressure and aquifer characteristics, the depth to groundwater in these wells is highly variable. The aquifer produces groundwater at rates ranging from approximately 10 to 60 gallons per minute (gpm). Underlying it is a thin zone of weathered granitic bedrock, which also produces limited quantities of groundwater in some wells.

This zone is as much as 50 feet thick, but produces at a rate of only 1-2 gpm. None of the public water systems listed in the Public Services, Facilities and Utilities section are located within Highland Flats, and therefore the DEQ database provides no information about the chemistry of this groundwater.

Paradise Valley Sub-Basin:

North of Highland Flats, the Purcell Trench widens eastward and the western margin of the Cabinet Range has been eroded and partially buried by lake and other deposits that occur in Highland Flats. This broad plateau, sometimes referred to as a “bench,” is slightly lower in elevation than Highland Flats and is known as Paradise Valley. Deep Creek is the main surface stream in this portion of the trench. It flows northward near the western margin of the basin to its confluence with the Kootenai River west of Bonners Ferry.

In Paradise Valley, both the surficial brown sediment and the underlying blue lake clay are thicker than in Highland Flats. The brown sediment is 30-50 feet thick and the blue clay is more than 500 feet thick in the central portion of the Purcell Trench. Because the Purcell Trench is deep in this area, it is possible that multiple aquifers are present at depths that could exceed 1,000 feet in the center of Paradise Valley. However, none of the wells that have been examined are deep enough to have completely penetrated the lake clay, and therefore neither its total thickness nor the depth to an underlying aquifer or granitic bedrock are known at this time. Because these wells were not drilled through the clay, they were dry holes and they produce no water. As a result, many residents in this area utilize surface water provided by the Paradise Valley Water Association.

The DEQ map is generalized and does not identify any distinct or separate aquifers within the Paradise Valley Sub-basin. Paradise Valley is shown as part of the “Kootenai Valley Flow System.” However, wells along the eastern margin of Paradise Valley indicate that several small, partially separate aquifers are present. These wells penetrate little or no lake clay. Instead, this area is underlain by multiple zones of sand and gravel that have limited lateral extent and are probably lake margin stream deposits and/or beach deposits. Some wells produce water at low rates (2-5 gpm) from zones as shallow as 25 feet, while others produce water at rates of more than 10 gpm from zones deeper than 100 feet. The Cabinet Mountains Water Association produces groundwater from two very productive shallow wells in the Crossport area just south of the Kootenai River. These wells appear to be capable of producing more than 500 gpm from a gravel aquifer that was deposited by the river. Due to these variations, the depth to groundwater is highly variable in the eastern Paradise Valley.

 Kootenai Valley Sub-Basin:

West of the City of Bonners Ferry, the Kootenai River turns northward to parallel the Purcell Trench and forms the broad Kootenai River Valley. The western margin of this valley is the steep eastern flank of the Selkirk Range. The eastern margin is a topographically high terrace that is locally referred to as the North Bench. It is the equivalent to the flat plateau that forms Paradise Valley, although it is crossed by more numerous creeks and streams that have eroded channels into its surface, making it more undulating and not as flat-lying as the surface of Paradise Valley. The Purcell Range lies east of the North Bench, and forms the eastern limit of the Kootenai Valley groundwater sub-basin. The DEQ map identifies this sub-basin as the “Kootenai Valley Flow System” and maps it as IDAQUIFER #3.

The Kootenai Valley occupies the central part of the Purcell Trench, which is probably more than 1,000 feet deep. The Purcell Trench Fault is a major fault that separates the Selkirk Range from the trench, and movement on this fault elevated the Selkirk Range and depressed the Purcell Trench (Doughty and Price, 2000). There are relatively few wells within the Kootenai Valley, especially on the floodplain of the Kootenai River, and most of these are shallow wells that were drilled only deep enough to reach the first groundwater zone. In 1971, the United States Geological Survey drilled 84 observation wells in the floodplain and monitored the depth to groundwater in these wells over a period of several months (Dian and Whitehead, 1973). Most of these wells were drilled to depths of 30 feet or less, and encountered groundwater at depths ranging from five feet to about 20 feet. Logs of these wells indicate that the water-bearing zones ranged mostly from clay to medium-grained sand, although two wells produced from coarse-grained sand and one well produced from gravel. These water-bearing zones could not be traced from well to well over even short distances, indicating that aquifers are probably local in extent near the valley’s surface.

Water quality in these near-surface aquifers is likely influenced by intense agricultural activity, but little information is available to quantify this effect. The DEQ Source Water Assessment Reports for some water systems in the Kootenai Valley do indicate that some of these wells are at moderate risk of organic contamination from drainage ditches and agricultural operations. During the spring season, when water levels in the Kootenai River are highest, surface water percolates through the river levees into the surrounding floodplain, which raises the water table. Farmers must pump this excess water into drainage ditches to lower the water table, and this drainage may carry agricultural wastes and various organic chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, downward to groundwater. These chemicals may then migrate in the subsurface toward the Kootenai River (Dion and Whitehead, 1973). A subsequent study performed by Extension professor David Wattenbarger in 1990 and 1991 indicate that while some infiltration occurred, pollutant levels did not exceed clean water standards. In his study, Wattenbarger took water samples from the outlets of ditches in five drainages; District 12, Ball Creek, District 1, Deep Creek, District 6, Houcks, District 4, county road, and District 10, mouth of Long Canyon Creek. The ditches were sampled every two weeks from mid-April through early October, and the samples analyzed by the University of Idaho Analytical Laboratory. In 1990, samples were evaluated for nitrates. In 1991, samples were analyzed for both nitrates and phosphates. Nitrate levels were highest in April and decreased with each sample thereafter. The highest sample in April met clean water standards and by September nitrates fell below detectable levels. The phosphate level was also highest in April, yet also fell within clean water standards. Phosphorous fell below detectable level by mid-August.A number of wells have been drilled along the western margin of the floodplain, where homes have been built along the West Side Road. In this area, the granitic bedrock of the Selkirk Range is present at shallow depths (50 feet or less), and most wells produce either from the granite or from coarse gravel or sand that overlies the bedrock. Rainfall and snowmelt that falls in the Selkirk Range probably percolates downward and flows into fractures in the bedrock toward the Kootenai Valley and either emerges at the surface as springs or accumulates in the bedrock or in the gravel that overlies it. Some residents use these springs as their principal water source. Wells in this area may exhibit large variations in the depth to groundwater from year to year, depending on the amount of precipitation that falls in the mountains.

According to data obtained by the DEQ, water samples obtained from springs and wells near the Selkirk Range front have occasionally tested positive for elevated concentrations of uranium or arsenic. These metals are naturally occurring in the bedrock, and it is likely that they have been leached out of the rock and concentrated in surface and/or groundwater. They are the only known contaminants affecting the groundwater quality in the Kootenai River sub-basin, but in most cases concentrations have not exceeded the maximum contaminant limit allowed by law.

Round Prairie Groundwater Basin:

In the northern part of the county is the Round Prairie groundwater basin. The DEQ map shows Round Prairie as part of the Kootenai Valley aquifer system (IDAQUIFER #3) and watershed sub-basin 17010105, but examination of water well logs in Round Prairie indicates that it is probably separate from the Kootenai Valley sub-basin. Round Prairie Creek flows eastward through a narrow gap in the Purcell Range and joins the Moyie River in the northeastern part of the county, and it appears that groundwater in the aquifer also flows eastward rather than westward toward the Kootenai Valley Flow System.

Within the gap in the Purcell Range, Round Prairie Creek or a predecessor stream has built a floodplain and deposited sand and gravel that form the principal aquifer supplying residents in this part of the county. This gravel aquifer is generally about 50-feet thick or less, but is up to about 100 feet thick in some wells. Due to high runoff from the range, most of the aquifer is saturated and the water table in the Round Prairie Valley is very shallow (10 feet or less), or is even above the land surface in some areas, creating marshy wetlands that remain saturated much of the year. Private wells that tap the gravel aquifer yield good quality water at rates of five to 50 gpm. There are no public water systems that draw groundwater from this aquifer in the Round Prairie Basin.

In some parts of Round Prairie, especially near its north and south borders, the gravel aquifer is thin or absent. Wells in these areas tap very old metamorphosed sandstone, shale and igneous rock called the Pritchard Formation of the Belt Supergroup that underlies the gravel deposit and forms the bedrock in the Purcell Range. Obtaining usable quantities of groundwater from the Pritchard Formation requires intersecting a fracture zone with sufficient permeability, and finding a suitable drilling location is difficult. Fortunately, there are numerous faults in this portion of the Purcell Range, and it appears that these fault zones create sub-surface aquifers in local areas. The DEQ map identifies these aquifers as #4, #5, #7 and #8. These fractured-rock aquifers occur at different depths, so some wells produce groundwater at relatively shallow depths (200 feet or less), while others encounter water-bearing zones at depths that exceed 300 feet. Flow rates are also highly variable, with some wells tested at nearly 100 gpm.

Because there are no public water supplies in the Round Prairie basin, the DEQ has no information about differences in water quality between the shallow gravel aquifer and the deeper Pritchard Formation aquifers in this groundwater basin.

Moyie River Groundwater Basin:

Residents living north of the City of Moyie Springs rely primarily on groundwater along the course of the Moyie River, which flows southward out of Canada to its confluence with the Kootenai River near Moyie Springs. The Moyie River occupies a narrow canyon formed by the Moyie Fault, which has fractured the Pritchard Formation and made the rock more susceptible to erosion. This river follows this belt of fractured rock and has built a narrow floodplain that consists primarily of coarse gravel and boulders. The gravel yields groundwater at flow rates of 35 or more gpm at very shallow depths (50 feet or less). The aquifer is recharged by runoff from the mountains that border the valley, as well as by infiltration from the river itself. A few wells obtain their water from the Pritchard Formation at depths of more than 100 feet, such as the public water systems of Eastport, Good Grief, and Feist Creek Resort. The DEQ does not differentiate the Moyie River underground water basin from the Kootenai Valley Flow System.

Appendix V



The following is a list of each road currently in the county road inventory, listed by its new road name, the old road name or notes regarding the road, and the type of surface, giving length of roadway in each of three categories, hot mix asphalt (HMA), bituminous surface treatment, or chipseal (BST), and gravel (GVL):

Road Name

Notes/Old Name




Alpine Court

Winjum Cul-de-sac




Amoth Road





Avonlea Farm Rd





Baldy Mountain Rd





Ball Park Road





Beaver Tail Road





Big Bend Road

Mortors (From junction by Mortor’s Bridge north to Westside Rd. at Canyon Creek)




Bilderback Rd





Bison Road





Black Mountain

Jo Pete’s




Blue Sky Road

Substation Road




Bordeaux Court

South McNally




Bridle Path Rd.

Merrifield Hill Rd




Bristle Cone Road

Dale Olson




Brown Creek Rd.

(95 to Ghigleri Rd)




Buckskin Road

West Road




Bussard Lake Rd.

(To the right off Earl Lane Road)




Cabinet Mountains Road

Ed Atkins




Camp Nine Road





Canterbury Court

Kootenai Rim Estates




Chisholm Hill Rd.





Chokecherry Drive





Chute Canyon Way

Chute Canyon Country Estates




Clifty View Road





Colts Road





Copeland Road

(From Hwy 1 to Westside Road)




Cotton Wood Way

Browns at Deep Creek




Country Estates Dr

As above




Cow Creek Road

(From Ash St. to Y, up Keller Canyon to 90-degree corner)




Crescent Road





Crossport Road

(From Y to Joe Worley’s corner)




Curless Road





Curley Creek Road





Dallas Lane





David Thompson Drive

Meads Shop Road




Day Break Road

(From Hwy 2 around 90-degree corner to the left to end of road) Eby




Dayton Way





Deep Creek Loop

Old High Way




Deer Creek Road





Deer Park Road

From 95 to Krause Rd




Depot Road





District Five Road

Dist. 5 Road & Dist. 11 Rd




District Two Road

(Hwy 95 to McNally’s) District Two/Blume Hill




Eagle Crest Road





Earl Lane Road

(From Road 34 to junction)




East Mountain View





Eileen Road





Evergreen St.





Fairfield Road

Lamar Olson




Fall Creek Rd





Falling Leaf Circle

As above




Farm to Market Rd





Fawn Lane





Firehouse Road





Fitzpatrick Road

Pit Road




Flatt House Road

(Junction Farm to Market Rd., past junction of Furrow Rd. to end of road)




Fleming Creek Rd.

(From Mendenhall Road to Hwy 95) District Five Hill Road




Foust Rd.





Foxglove Road

Reed Road




French Point Drive





Fry Creek Road





Funkhouser St.





Furrow Road

Cliff Ellenson (from junction Copeland Rd. to junction Flatt House Rd.)




Gandhi Way

Eddy (from Y left)




Giles Connection Road





Gold Road





Great Northern Rd





Green Pasture Rd.





Hagen Road





Harvest Road

Old Huff Road




Haystack Road

Ted Lindstrom




Heideman Road





Herman Lake Rd

Hasper Cut Off




Hewett Road





Holms road

Leach Road (Hwy 95 to T)




Homestead Loop

Toby Plato




Homestead Loop

Old Hull Road




Honeysuckle Road

Wold Road




Hoot Owl Road

Joe Worley’s




Hubbard Road





Huckleberry Road





Huff Road





Idaho Road





Industrial Way





Iron Horse Drive

(cross railroad tracks at Eastport)




Julian Road





Kaniksu Street

District 11 road




Katka Road





Kent’s Gulch Rd





Kerr Lake Road

(Junction of Copeland Rd. to junction Westside Rd.)




Krause Road

(from junction Furrow Rd. to junction Deer Park and Turner Hill Rd.)




Krogseth Way





Kucera Road





Labrosse Hill Rd

State Shop Road




Lannigan Road





Lilac Place





Limber Road

Dale Nieman




Lions Den Road

(Moravia to Dist. 7)




Log Cabin Road

Ten Child




Lookout View Rd

Bert East Hill




Lost Mile Road





Lupine Road

Leach Road (lft and rt at T)




Lynx Road

Connection Road




Maas Loop





Madson Road





Mallard Road





Marcy Road





McArthur Lake Rd





McCall Street

Ladely/Back Half




McClintock Road





Meadow Creek Rd

(From 2 to bottom of Meadow Creek Hill)




Mica Road

Judy Buruth




Mirror Lake Rd

T. Copeland/Dist. 1




Mission Road





Moon Shadow Rd.

(west of Three Mile)




Morning Glory Rd.

(After 90 straight to end of county road)




Morris Rd.

Pat Morris




Mountain Meadows Rd.





Moyie River Road

(Bottom Meadow Creek Hill to Addie)




Naples Road

(behind Naples store)




Nugget Rd.





Old Addie Road





Old Highway Loop Road

(From west end to Montana)




Old Relic Road

Volkswagen Road




Osprey Road

Wall Road




Pack River Rd





Painted Horse Rd





Paradise Valley Rd

(Bottom of Paradise Valley Hill to end of Ghibleri Road)




Paradise Valley Rd

Ghigleri Road




Parker Canyon Rd

(From top of Parker to corner by Worley’s)




Parson Road

Hidden Valley Ranch




Peaceful Way

Moravia Cemetery




Pheasant Run Rd

Old Wilson place




Pine Creek Road





Pine Island Rd





Pinkerton Road





Pioneer Road





Placer Creek Rd.





Plantation Road





Plato Drive

Plato Subdivision




Pleasant Valley Loop





Ponderosa Way

Selkirk Vista




Porthill Loop

Old Hwy 1 to Porthill




Portside Road

Customs Buildings




Prospector Rd.





Pywell Road





Raven Wood Court

Selkirk Vista




Red Cloud Road

Hensley Road




Remington Road

Ron Johnson




Ridgewood Rd.

Old Mulvaney




Rim Drive

Kootenai Rim Estates




Rocking Tree Rd

Emperor’s Road




Roosevelt Road

Old Hwy 2 to Moyie Springs




Ruby Creek Rd.





Sandy Ridge Rd

Madsen Platt




Schoolhouse Rd

(west of 95 to old Hwy 2)




Shamrock Rd.

John Jeffries




Shiloh Loop





Shingle Mill Loop

McGlocklin Pit




Silver Springs Rd





Skyline Road





Smith Lake Road

(To lake)




Smith Lake Road





Solomon Lake Rd





Split Rock Road





Spring Hill Road





Spruce Road

Parker Cemetery




Stagecoach Rd.





Star Road





Stellar Jay Rd.





Sunrise Road

County Shop Road




Sweetwater Rd.

Noland/Chute Canyon




Syringa Drive

Selkirk Vista




Tall Timber Road





Templeman Lake Road

(from junction to left)




Three Mile Road

Walker Lane (South of Three Mile junction, east side of US 95)




Thunder View Rd

Old Bert Eberly




Timberlane Road

Fox Platt




Tobe Way

Log Inn




Trading Post Road

(Hwy 1 past store to Farm to Market Rd.)




Trail Creek Rd

Same (east of US 95)




Tunnel Road

Eddy (from Y right)




Twenty Mile Rd





Twin Rivers Road





Two Tail Road

Beaver Slide




Walker Lane





Wendell St.

Elmer Smith




Westside Road

(from junction to Boundary Creek at river)




Wheatland Road

Cecil Morris




Wheeler Road





Whip Saw Road

Cedar Mill




Winchester Road





Winesap Road

Swede’s Road




Winter Road

Square Dance




Woodside Rd.





Yukon Road





Zimmerman Road






Appendix VI


System Name

Water Source

Hookups Avail

Restricted Use


Service Area

Residents Served








Bee Line Water Assn.

Meadow Creek and 2 wells





440 (2003)

Cabinet Mountains Water District

Two wells





810 (2003)

Cow Creek Water Assn.






27 (2002)

Curley Creek Water Assn.

Two wells and spring





36 (2003)

Deep Creek Water Company

One well




Deep Creek Resort

30 (year-around; 2002

Eastport Water System

One well





50 (2002)

Elk Mountain Farms Backwoods

One well





5 year around, 200 seasonal (2002)

Elk Mountain Farms Tavern Farm

One well






Feist Creek Resort

One well





3 + customers (2002)

Good Grief Tavern

One well





1 + customers (2006)

Mission Creek Water Assn.

One well





125 (2003)

Moravia Water Assn.

One well





80 (2002)

Northwest Boulder Creek Academy

Two springs





150 (2001)

Skin Creek Water Assn.

Skin Creek





200 (2000)

Three Mile Water District

Six wells




Three Mile

1,300-1,500 (2003)

Trow Creek Water Assn.






46 (2003)

Twin Rivers Canyon Resort

One well





132 seasonal (2002)

USFW Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge

One well





NA (2000)

Source: Idaho Department of Environmental Quality/Contact with System Officials

Appendix VII



As of August 9, 2007, the following are subdivisions existing or proposed in Boundary County






Yr Created


2 & HWY 95