West Ada

Don’t float new sections of Boise River without scouting the hazards, officials warn

Trees in the Boise River are a hazard to floaters

Take a trip down the Boise River with the Boise Fire Department's Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team as they assess the hazards that need to be removed to make floating as safe as possible.
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Take a trip down the Boise River with the Boise Fire Department's Swiftwater Dive Rescue Team as they assess the hazards that need to be removed to make floating as safe as possible.

Before raft and tube rentals are available at Barber Park each summer, Boise firefighters clear the river of downed trees and other debris that could be a danger to floaters.

Thousands float the 6-mile stretch between Barber Park and Ann Morrison Park each year, but more people also are now floating other stretches downstream — in sections that have significantly more hazards, according to officials at Boise River Flood Control District 10.

With three recent deaths on local rivers — the Main Payette River in Gem County, the South Fork of the Payette River in Boise County and South Fork of the Boise River in Elmore County — district officials put out a press release Wednesday morning to warn the public that not all stretches of the Boise River in the Treasure Valley are equally safe to float.

“You are floating at your own risk, and you are responsible for your own safety,” Flood Control District 10 Project Manager Mike Dimmick said in the release. He noted that boating safety experts recommend wearing a personal flotation device when floating the river.

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Piles of trees, branches and debris are a hazard to floaters on the Boise River. Flood Control District 10

Dimmick said most of the river has not been scouted for hazards such as downed trees and sharp objects, so it is up to floaters to protect themselves by getting familiar with the area.

“Pay attention to where you’re going,” he said in the release. “If you can’t see what’s coming ahead, get out of the river and take a look from the shore, and if necessary, portage around the hazards with your float craft.”

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Downed trees in the Boise River present a serious hazard to floaters. Flood Control District 10

Newcomers to the Treasure Valley also might not be aware how cold the water coming out of the bottom of Lucky Peak Reservoir is. Those who get stuck or trapped in the water can suffer life-threatening hypothermia or drown.

Officials say the safest stretch to float remains Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park. There are lots of services around the floating area, including shuttle rides back to your vehicle at Barber.

Looking for more info? Check out the Ada County Parks and Waterways 2019 Floater Guide.

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