Hiking and biking connections aren’t the only reason the city of Boise plans to buy an undeveloped 160-acre swath of land in the Boise Foothills west of Bogus Basin Road, Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said.
Besides trail opportunities between the Daniel’s Creek drainage, Stack Rock Reserve and other recreation hot spots, Holloway said, the city has a chance to preserve more Foothills land.
“One hundred sixty acres is a pretty good-size piece of property, so to add that, from a conservation perspective, is really just as valuable to the mayor and council as adding the trail connectivity,” Holloway said.
The Boise City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to approve the $650,000 purchase-and-sale agreement of what’s known as Hawkins Ranch. The transaction would take about half the money left in an account established when Boise voters approved a two-year levy in 2001 to raise $10 million for protection of Foothills land.
When we’re looking at land purchases, we’re not only looking at what’s the recreation value of trail connectivity, but we’re also looking at what’s the conservation value of having that property in our inventory.
Boise parks Director Doug Holloway
Assuming the council approves the purchase, the city still has months of work to do — such as surveying, determining whether any easements are in place and an environmental assessment to ensure there’s no major contamination — before the sale is final.
The Hawkins Ranch property is owned by three daughters of Earl Hawkins, a Boise businessman who founded the Hawkins Pac-Out restaurant on Bogus Basin Road. Hawkins died in October 1984 while hunting in the Foothills.
Hawkins Ranch was used as grazing ground for cattle and horses, said Alicia Ralston, the real estate broker who’s handling the sale.
The city’s purchase of the property continues a focus on that section of the Foothills. In April 2014, Boise bought 40 acres with frontage on Bogus Basin Road. It was a small piece of land, but it provided a crucial connection to the land west of the road.
Last summer, Boise bought 200 acres of land that touches the southern boundary of the Hawkins Ranch property. Before that, the city bought 40 acres with frontage on Bogus Basin Road — a small piece of land but a crucial connection.
The linchpin that makes it all work is a free, permanent easement the Grossman family granted Boise in 2014, Holloway said. The easement gave the city authority to build official trails across 3,300 acres of land the family plans to develop someday. A few months later, the same family granted the city another easement, this one to trails in the Dry Creek drainage on the east side of Bogus Basin Road.
The Daniel’s Creek easement was especially important, Holloway said. Besides the trails it opened up, he said, the easement “allowed us to look at the bigger picture and see what other properties make sense in adding to that area.”
the new levy?
As the amount of money left from Boise’s 2001 Foothills levy dwindles, the city will begin to rely on money coming in from a similar $10 million levy that voters approved in November.
Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said the city will receive the first $5 million in January 2017 and the remaining $5 million a year later.