150 Boise icons: Castle Rock Reserve

June 2, 2013 

Castle Rock, a dramatic outcropping that's part of a 48-acre reserve in the hills above Boise, served as a gathering place for Native Americans from the Shoshone, Bannock and Paiute tribes in the late 19th century.

At that time and before, geothermal springs in the area formed bathing ponds. Historians and tribal members from the Duck Valley and Fort Hall reservations say that Castle Rock (then known as Eagle Rock) was a sacred place used for healing rituals and burials.

In 1990, the East End Neighborhood Association and tribal members started a grass-roots campaign to protect it. The neighborhood association, tribes and the city raised the money in 1995 to buy the Castle Rock land from a developer.

The city named the site Castle Rock Reserve. Officials consulted with tribal members to relocate trails in the area away from possible burial sites. The city worked with neighborhood volunteers and BLM experts to replant native plant species in the reserve.

Longtime East End resident Betty Foster nominated Castle Rock as a Boise icon. Foster, a former school librarian, led the effort to raise money for a tribute stone to mark the area. The stone stands today near the Bacon Drive entrance to Quarry View Park. It's etched with a reminder that this is sacred ground and the image of two Eagle feathers, in homage to the area's original name.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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