The spring sky over Boise is full of fluffy clouds, and the Foothills will get some fluff this week too.
Thousands of domestic sheep will be grazing in the hills, eating heartily on their way up to the high country, according to the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission.
Those who recreate in the Foothills will need to take precautions to ensure their own safety and that of their pets, the commission said in a press release Tuesday.
Dog owners are advised to leash dogs when encountering sheep to prevent them from chasing lambs — or upsetting the Great Pyrenees guard dogs.
Bikers are asked to dismount when they pass through a group of sheep to prevent conflict with guard dogs. Guard dogs may charge mountain bikers or chase them if riders pass through at a fast pace.
On Wednesday, about 2,700 sheep will be in the Eighth Street area near Hulls Gulch, Red Cliffs and Crestline trails. They’ll be grazing to the area near Table Rock for the next 10 days.
If you miss that group, there will be a second group, also about 2,700 sheep, in mid-April that will be trailed across Idaho 55 near Beacon Light Road.
Wilder rancher Frank Shirts owns the sheep. He has permits with the Idaho Department of Lands and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to graze the sheep in the Foothills.
New signs have been posted by the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission at the four Ridge to Rivers trailheads to provide tips for recreationists on how to interact with the sheep.
Want to avoid the sheep entirely? These Foothills trails are recommended, as there’s less chance of an encounter: Polecat Gulch, Hillside to the Hollow, Seaman’s Gulch, Table Rock, the Eagle Cycle Park and Oregon Trail Reserve near Columbia Village and Surprise Valley.
Watch video of the sheep grazing Wednesday: