Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area near Parma is a favorite hunting spot in the fall, but in the spring, the hunters have gone home and it becomes Grand Central Station for migrating birds.
The WMA is managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which keeps some areas closed seasonally and others year-round to protect wildlife. Hundreds of acres remain open for hiking, fishing, nature watching and other activities. There's a good network of dirt and gravel roads that are closed to motorized traffic (except F&G workers), but remain open for hiking and biking. There's also access to the Snake and Boise rivers and a boat launch that provides easy access to the adjacent Snake River islands.
HOW TO GET THERE: Take I-84 west to Exit 26 past Caldwell. Take U.S. 20/26 west to Parma and continue about 2 miles past Parma. Turn left at the Sportsman's Access sign at Milepost 50.
Open to: Hikers, bikers, equestrians.
Ideal for: Nature viewing.
Trailhead elevation: 2,200 feet.
Destination elevation: Same.
Difficulty: Easy. It's all flat terrain.
Out and back or loop: Mostly out and back, but there are some loop opportunities.
Wildlife you might see: Here's what I saw: Swans, pheasants, Canada geese, white-fronted geese, herons, mallards, goldeneyes, quail, pintails, coots, hawks, wood ducks, and lots of song birds I couldn't identify. You also can see deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other mammals.
Notes/bathrooms: There's an outhouse near the boat launch.
Information: Stop at the WMA office and pickup a map in the mailbox marked "Maps."
If you've hiked or biked a trail you'd like to see featured, call Niki Forbing-Orr at (208) 377-6446, or e-mail outdoors@ idahostatesman.com. Articles and photos submitted to The Idaho Statesman may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.