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June 8, 2009

Wilson Cemetery Fence is Finally Complete

On June 1, an Idaho Power crew donated labor to install the final section of fence in the vicinity of the historic Wilson Cemetery.   The crew, in partnership with the Owyhee Pioneer Cemetery District (OPCD), constructed 468 feet of barbed wire fence.

“We’ve been working toward this goal for about five years, but there have been various delays having to do with adjacent private property and road alignment,” said Nick Ihli, chairman of the OPCD.  “We had the materials and were looking for someone to build the fence, and Idaho Power stepped up and offered their crew.”

The OPCD has a three-person board that manages 13 pioneer cemeteries in the Owyhee County area, three of which – including Wilson Cemetery – are still active.  Most date back to the mid-1800s.

“In part, we have them fenced to keep the cattle out,” said Ihli.  “We want to protect those   headstones and if the cows get access they like to rub up against them and knock them over.”

Ihli said the cemetery district has a budget of $1,500 per year to maintain the cemeteries.

“We’re glad to engage in these kinds of partnership opportunities,” said Blake Watson, community relations rep with Idaho Power.  “We see it as a complementary effort in conjunction with our new Hemingway Substation project that’s underway, and if we have a crew available to donate some labor, it will only help the cemetery district stretch their dollars.”

When Idaho Power bought the land for the Hemingway Substation there were some conditions on the purchase, including improving the road past the cemetery.  “It’s a natural fit for us to partner with this local group and support their cause,” Watson said.

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