Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Library Friends Bring Ernie Lombard to Garden Valley

   Idaho visionary, Ernie Lombard, has been at the forefront of preserving and recording Idaho's great past, and the Friends of the Garden Valley Library are privileged to welcome a slide presentation by him on Friday, April 19, at 7:00 p.m.
  Lombard has probably visited more ghost towns and mining areas than anyone else in Idaho. As a Boise architect (now retired), Ernie has had a hand in designing several of Idaho's most significant buildings. His talents and passion for architecture and history, along with a strong interest in photography and art, have preserved Idaho's rugged and unique past. 

Photo: Idaho Public Television
   Some years back, Lombard decided he'd like to record as many of Idaho's ghost towns and mining artifacts as he could. During the last thirty-five years, he has logged thousands of miles on his dirt bike, traveling to every corner of the state on his photographic mission.
  Ernie has a collection of historic images of Idaho buildings, numbering to more than 3,000. Some of the buildings you can no longer see, because they've since fallen down or have been destroyed by fire.
   His presentation, "Ghost Towns of Idaho'', has been presented hundreds of times. Every school district in the State has the video created from this presentation, to use in teaching Idaho history. Ernie also conducts historical "safaris'' to ghost towns and teaches about Idaho ghost towns and photography in the Boise Community Education Program. He is the longest continuing education instructor in the history of the program.
   In 2009, Senator Jim Risch said in a tribute to Lombard, “It is indeed an honor for me to give recognition to Ernie Lombard for his vision and many years of work to preserve Idaho's significant history and his passion and willingness to educate Idahoans and others about our wonderful State. Future generations of Idahoans have received a great gift from Ernie Lombard, and we are very grateful.”
  For more than twenty years, Ernie had a vision of a State park that would showcase Idaho's mining history and allow for motorized recreation. In 2009, the vision was realized when, thanks to his leadership, the Bayhorse ghost town, in Custer County, became an addition to Idaho's State Park system. The ghost town is historically significant and many buildings are still standing. The site is extremely well marked, with interpretive signs and kiosks, making self-guided tours fun and interesting.
   This project also provided great trail opportunities for a variety of users. The Lombard Trail, named for Ernie Lombard, is a 14-mile multiple-use trail, open to motorcycles, ATVs, and non-motorized trail users, that links the town of Challis to the Bayhorse OHV trail system. The trail crosses county-owned land, BLM, and US Forest Service lands. Several other mine sites in the area are on the trails system and are equally well signed.
  In Risch’s tribute, sent to President Obama, he remarks on the task involved: “Many parcels in the park needed to have century-old toxic mine waste removed. Bayhorse was one of the first sites in the country to use brownfields grant funds to accomplish that feat.” The work was such a success, the Bayhorse project was awarded the Partners in Conservation Award by the U.S. Department of the Interior, for outstanding conservation results among many partners.
  The National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Society said, “One trail may be named for Ernie; the entire trail system exists because of Ernie’s vision, persistence, and dedication.” 
  Lombard’s work on a county historical advisory board led to the preservation of the historic Guffey railroad bridge across the Snake River, between Canyon and Owyhee Counties. This bridge is a centerpiece for Celebration Park.
   Idaho State Historical Society awarded Ernie Lombard with their “Esto Perpetua'' award for significant contributions to the preservation of Idaho history.
   Lombard’s presentation promises to be more than just great photos. He will be bringing a lifetime of intense passion to Garden Valley’s library. To quote him: “So I combine my love of photography, combine my love of history, and combine my love of riding trail bikes to get there, which really works out very well."
  The April 19 presentation is free to the public. Plan to join Ernie Lombard and the Friends of the Library for refreshments after the program.

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