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Community Development

UI Extension is dedicated to community development in Valley County. We lead and assist residents of the West Central Mountains (Cascade, Donnelly, McCall and New Meadows) in planning processes including the development and implementation of community visioning. We assist and facilitate strategic planning, coaching, steering committee development, idea generation, leadership development, research, education, asset development and project evaluation.

Valley County has helped many projects that are independently lead today, including the Horizons' Leadership and Planning Teams (Cascade), Valley County Economic Development Council (2012) and the Valley/Adams Planning Partnership (2004). UI Extension mentor’s citizen leaders and assists with the implementation and volunteer development to aid community initiatives and cultivate the power of collaboration.

Browse UI Extension Community Development programs and publications and explore local committee involvement on projects.

Remote Learning Initiative at the University of Idaho
UI Extension, Valley County now promotes learning initiatives through the Digital Economy Program to enhance opportunities for individuals and businesses. The west central mountains can use the internet as an important tool to meet their needs and goals. Opportunities for learning include obtaining a Remote Work Professional Certificate at a discounted rate (free for veterans) and gaining valuable digital skills through and Northstar Digital Literacy. Additionally, resources for small businesses are available from Idaho’s Rural Business Center. To receive direct assistance from a local digital navigator contact James Elmore at or 986-400-9440 and schedule an appointment.

Current Committee Involvement

We currently serve on multiple community partnership projects including:

Past Committee Contributions

The city of Cascade won a multi-mobility transportation planning grant in 2014 to focus on bikes and pedestrians downtown. This New Mobility West grant was given by the Sonoran Institute and managed by the organization Community Builders. In spring 2015 the Cascade Mobility Team brought volunteers together to create The City of Cascade, Idaho Bike and Pedestrian Plan (PDF). Since this planning process, the Cascade Mobility Team have found success in grants to make improvements to the identified corridors. The University of Idaho Extension educator continues to serve on this community led team and we are currently recruiting volunteers to help continue a pedestrian and bike count throughout 2022-2023. I you are interested in learning more you can read about the efforts of this study completed in 2016 and volunteer by contacting Melissa Hamilton at Cascade Mobility Team: Bicycle and pedestrian counts (PDF).

Counting Bicyclists and Walkers

The Cascade Mobility Team counted bikes and pedestrians several times in 2016. This study collected information to help the Cascade Mobility Team get a baseline of data to help with decision-making related to multi-modal transportation. The study is currently being completed again in 2022 to help address the following questions:

  • Determine the bike and pedestrian use of city streets and sidewalks.
  • Secure funding to create Safe Routes to Schools or increase pedestrian/bike-friendly infrastructure to connect community locations.
  • Increase public awareness of efforts to understand how motorized and non-motorized transportation interact in the city of Cascade.
  • Estimate return on investment for new infrastructure.
  • Gather data to understand user behavior now and in the future.

The Pride of the Pantry Plots supports the Cascade Food Pantry’s efforts to provide healthful food to local residents.

Garden plots are open for rental to all county residents. Membership is not income-based. Food grown is for personal consumption.

How to Join

The Cascade Food Pantry can be reached any time on Facebook or in person on distribution days (first and third Thursdays of the month).


Cascade Food Pantry
1470 S. Main Street
PO Box 799
Cascade, ID 83611


The program is led by volunteers. The Cascade Food Pantry executive director and board of directors back the program with guidance from the Pride of the Pantry Plots Steering Committee. The UI Extension educator served on the steering committee from 2014-2016 and members of the Idaho Master Gardener Program serve on this board for their volunteer service. The steering committee formed in fall 2014 and helped start the garden's first growing season. The garden reached the Phase 1 goals described in its 2015 bylaws (PDF). Please reach out to the pantry directly for their most current garden application and bylaws.

The city formed several community action teams during the Horizons’ Community Leadership program in 2008 including: Lifestyle and Education, Curb Appeal and Tourism, Armstrong Park and Whitewater Park Teams. Many of these teams remain active today and other community efforts have been and are currently hosted under the umbrella of the Lifestyle and Education Team. This team is the backbone of Cascade’s social and human capital development and they currently manage and run the Cascade Cultural Arts Center in downtown Cascade.

The Horizons’ Lifestyle and Education Team was one of the home team participants in the Cascade Community Review completed in 2016 by Idaho Rural Partnership. The Cascade Community Review (PDF) can be reviewed online and other fantastic resources including a ripple map of Cascade’s accomplishments.

The Cascade Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) address alternative educational needs, poverty issues, community projects that promote healthy lifestyles and affordable activities to enhance living experiences in Cascade. This committee runs several projects in Cascade. Please visit the webpage to learn more or sign up for their monthly What’s Happening Cascade newsletter by contacting Shauna Arnold at

The Ice House, Cascade Cultural Arts Center

Cascade Community Garden. The garden is cooperatively managed with a shared bounty. Participants in the garden are welcome to harvest produce from this garden to share at the Tuesday evening potlucks held throughout the summer at Fisher Pond. These vegetarian potlucks are held every Tuesday throughout the summer and the first Tuesday of the month throughout the winter at The Ice House. Visit The Ice House's webpage for more information.

Join the conversation about economic development in the West Central Mountains and get involved with the WCM Economic Development Council. This committee was originally formed in 2012 under the leadership of Wim Brack, Extension educator as the Valley County Economic Development Council (VCEDC) and advisory board to the office. The VCEDC transitioned to the WCMEDC under the efforts of the America’s Best Communities project and their first hired executive director in 2017. As part of the ABC efforts, the Area Sector Development Process (ASAP) was completed and used to inform the updates of their strategic plan.

Download ASAP Audio (MP3)


University of Idaho Extension, Valley County

Mailing Address:
PO Box 510
110 West Pine Street
Cascade, ID 83611

Phone: 208-382-7190



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UI Extension, Valley County