Black Canyon Reservoir and Hunter’s Cove
Driving down State Highway 52 from Emmett to Horseshoe Bend, there is a surprising lack of development along Black Canyon Reservoir. The concrete remnants of the old irrigation canal follow alongside the highway to the left but other than the three parks and the dam itself, there are no houses anywhere. There are a few up on the hills to the west but none anywhere near the water.
In the mid-2000s, much of the land on the south side of the reservoir was approved for a planned community development that included two 18-hole golf courses, restaurants, and high-density housing. It was right in the great recession era and the deal apparently fell apart. It’s easy to imagine a golf course on the gently rolling hills as they ease down to the water’s edge, but we think it looks way better with a few cows instead of all those houses.
Heading north, the reservoir turns into the Payette River and you eventually travel alongside of Squaw Creek. One of the first signs of humanity is Roystone Hot Springs. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. They are great people and it’s a classic natural hot spring with an interesting history.
At the junction of Highway 52 and the Sweet/Ola Highway is a local gathering place, The Triangle Restaurant. There were often horses tied up in front and a couple flatbed pickup trucks parked, giving the feeling you were a little closer to the old west. Sweet, Idaho is right out of that era. Most of the families around here are, or have been, involved in ranching, logging, or some other off-the-land lifestyle.
In the early 80s, Bob Hunter, a general contractor from Alaska, purchased a sizeable portion of the land to the southwest of The Triangle. He knew when he first saw the place that this would be his and his wife, Mae’s, forever home. Over the years, he would raise as many 100 head of cattle at a time but it remained mostly a hobby, knowing how tough it was to make a living raising beef. As Bob and Mae grew older, he put in roads and driveways and sold off a little bit of his land at a time. He once sold most of the west ridge to a group of developers that had great ideas but it was bad timing, again, as it was in 2006. At that time, the golf courses were proposed just down the Payette River and waterfront property prices were sky high. Bob ended up buying most of it back at quite a bit less than they paid and never sold such a large chunk again. He worked this land until he was in his mid-90s. He always had a project going and loved to get his son, Scott, down for the dirty jobs.
Since Bob’s passing in April 2017, Scott has spent the summer and fall preparing the Westridge Ranch portion for sale. These include extremely rare waterfront properties on Black Canyon Reservoir. Although Gem county allows for 5-acre minimums, the parcels here are between 10 and 20 acres. Bob always wanted to have people feel a sense of privacy living here.
Regan’s Bend, also known locally as Hunter’s Cove, is an incredibly hidden inlet of the Payette River that cannot be seen from the highway. It is accessed from the river by a narrow channel, which is an entrance that opens up into a hidden body of water. Surprisingly few people even know it exists. There are currently four waterfront parcels available and two water view parcels each with stunning sights of Regan Butte, an extinct volcano that stands majestically to the south.
For more information on Westridge Ranch and their available plots, visit the website at http://westridgeranch.com/.