Ag Student Groups Operate Corn Maze at Lewiston Roundup

Friday, October 8 2010

Written by Bill Loftus

LEWISTON, Idaho – The Clearwater Corn Maze in Lewiston opens Friday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m., but it has already exceeded expectations.

The nearly 11-acre cornfield next to the Lewiston Roundup Grounds at 2100 Tammany Creek Road stands 10 to 12 feet tall. "We thought this variety would grow 8 or 9 feet," said Lewiston farmer Phil Kaufman, who grew the corn.

The maze will operate Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. through the rest of October. A special Halloween haunted maze will operate from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31. Admission is $5 per person. Children 3 and younger will be admitted free.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences students will operate the maze with Kaufman, a 2006 graduate of the college. The Lewiston Roundup Association joined the effort and provided the field adjacent to the Roundup's Ketch Pen.

Part of the maze proceeds will help fund activities by clubs in the college's student affairs council.
The maze is both a commercial venture and a student exercise in precision agriculture and agritourism.
Dev Shrestha, an agricultural engineering professor, helped guide students who designed the maze and cut the paths in June that created it. "We asked students to design it, so there's a lot of student involvement in the maze," he said.

As a precision agriculture exercise, Shrestha said, the maze offers students the chance to compare "what they see in the computer and how it looks in the real world. They did the preplanning in the computer and took that information to the field, and now they can see how it translates in the field."

As an agritourism exercise, the students will organize teams to staff parking, maze guides and concession and ticketing sales, said John Foltz, the college's associate dean for academics.
As an agricultural economist, Foltz signed on as one of the idea's earliest backers after Phil Kaufman first began working on the idea as a freshman in 2002.