Agreement will give Boise access to 3,300 acres in Foothills for new trails

The city of Boise plans to create paths across private land between Hidden Springs and Bogus Basin Road.

sberg@idahostatesman.comJuly 14, 2014 

A map of the Foothills trails the city of Boise is planning.

Connections are the key to Boise's newest acquisition in the Foothills, said Justin Maines, who lives in the East End and rides in the Foothills hundreds of times each year.

More than 12 miles of new trails across the Daniel's Creek area would be nice, Maines said, but the chance to link existing trail systems in popular recreation areas such as Polecat Gulch and Stack Rock Reserve is special. In fact, he considers those connections more significant than the city's 2013 purchase of the 260-acre Hillside-to-the-Hollow land.

"That'd be so cool if could stay on dirt and ride all the way out to Avimor," Maines said. "That would be ideal."

Connecting to trails in Avimor, north of Eagle and east of Idaho 55, will have to come later. But on Friday the city of Boise received permission to build trails across some 3,300 acres in the Daniel's Creek area of the Foothills above Boise. The city won't pay the owner, Grossman Co. Properties, any money for the easement, Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said. That means the city won't have to dip into an account established by a 2001 tax levy that raised $10 million for Foothills land acquisition. About $1.8 million is left in that account.

The Grossman family wants to develop the Daniel's Creek land some day, Holloway said, and likes the idea of incorporating a well-regulated trail system into that development.

The agreement is permanent, unlike most major Foothills easements the city has, Holloway said. Grossman will still own the land surrounding the agreed-upon trail system, but no development could move the trails more than a few feet.

"I know it doesn't seem as sexy as buying 3,300 acres, but we get 3,300 acres of recreation opportunities for nothing," Holloway said.

For years, cyclists, hikers, joggers and horseback riders have used "rogue" trails across the Daniel's Creek land owned by Grossman, Holloway said. There are problems with those trail systems, though.

First, trespassing on private land without permission is a crime. Rogue trails are poorly maintained and often cause erosion problems, Holloway said. They also don't take into account threatened plant species and wildlife habitat.

Maines said he knows people who regularly use the rogue Daniel's Creek trails. He said he doesn't because trespassing just spreads bad blood.

Holloway said the Grossman family wants better control of recreational use on their land without shutting it down. He said the city talked about buying the Grossman property years ago. The conversation stopped when an appraisal came back at roughly $5 million.

The city expects construction of the new trails to cost between $40,000 and $60,000, Holloway said. That's a cost he believes the Parks & Recreation Department can fit into its regular budget without asking for more money from the City Council. There's no estimate yet of what maintenance will cost, he said.

The City Council must approve the Daniel's Creek easement to make it official. Holloway wants to build the new trails over the next two years. The mayor and council members will explain the plan at a Daniels' Creek overlook off Bogus Basin Road at 11 a.m. Monday.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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