Hiking & Trails

Boise Greenbelt’s ‘most inconvenient’ closure finally reopens. And it is ‘glorious.’

Dust off your jogging shoes. Pump up those bike tires.

After being closed on and off again since 2015, a milelong section of Boise Greenbelt on the north side of the Boise River has been reopened.

The stretch, between Veterans Memorial Park and Esther Simplot Park, has been entirely replaced.

“It’s back open. Enjoy!” Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said Tuesday. “It’s all concrete where you had all asphalt before.”

After the city posted the news Tuesday afternoon on social media, citizen response was as swift as the river’s current, which started carrying summer rafters and tubers on Tuesday.

“I rode this section this morning on my commute to work,” a commenter wrote on the Greenbelt Facebook page. “It was glorious.”

Perhaps nobody is happier than Holloway.

“I would characterize it as the most inconvenient of closures of any stretch of the Greenbelt we’ve had, primarily because of the number of closures that we’ve had to enact there,” he said.

“It’s the one I hear most about. And that makes sense, because that’s a key commute for commuters coming from the west.”

Starting in 2015, the path was closed for Esther Simplot Park construction, and then reopened for a short period of time. It was closed again for riverbank restoration after flooding, and then reopened. Most recently, it closed in 2018 for phase two of Boise Whitewater Park construction, Holloway said.

The old Greenbelt next to the river, which Holloway says was “not in real good shape,” will continue to be a path for kayakers or other water-recreation enthusiasts. “But the actual recreation/commuter part of the Greenbelt,” he said, “is a new concrete path that will go on the north side of Veterans Park Pond.”

Eventually, the city’s goal is to replace all asphalt on the 25-mile Greenbelt with concrete. It holds up better to tree roots and lasts 30 years, Holloway says, rather than asphalt’s eight- to 10-year longevity.

It’s a lofty goal. West of Veterans Memorial Parkway, the Greenbelt was closed this week on the north side of the river through Willow Lane Athletic Complex for flooding repair.

Holloway said he thinks it will be reopened within two weeks.

Boiseans can find updates on what sections are open and closed using the city’s interactive Greenbelt map.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.