Winter trail etiquette in Boise Foothills
A year of change in one of Boise’s most popular Foothills locales has created better parking options, new trails, a bus stop trailhead and connectivity from 36th Street to Bogus Basin Road across Hillside to Hollow Reserve.
One of the critical pieces, Full Sail trail, was completed this fall. That allows users to park at Hillside Park on 36th — the first large, public parking lot with access to the reserve.
Mark Boerner lives in the neighborhood and uses Full Sail as his primary access. Before, he had to climb some steep, eroding, unofficial trails. Several old trails have been closed and will be rehabbed to blend back into the hillsides.
“I’m really happy with the final product,” Boerner said. “... People are accessing (the reserve) from all different sides. It’s bringing the community together. There are a lot of meeting points for people walking dogs or riding bikes. People are starting to park who don’t live in the immediate neighborhood. It’s a super addition for the neighborhood.”
The reserve is a partnership between the city of Boise, which purchased 258 acres on the west side in 2013, and Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, which purchased 58 acres on the east side in 2011. The trails are managed by Ridge to Rivers and the Land Trust.
Because of the area’s popularity and the need to close some of the worst trails on the property, the city and Land Trust went through a master-planning process with community input before implementing changes.
“I didn’t worry about them taking anything away so much as being overly involved,” said neighbor Jessica Streib, who uses the trails almost every day. “I liked that it was kind of wild and free. Suddenly having some management was a little bit awkward, but I think it’s worked out well.”
A third partner, the Boise School District, helped get Full Sail built. The district owns land behind Hillside Junior High that nearly was sold as surplus. Neighbors intervened and the city reached an agreement with the district. Full Sail crosses Hillside property, so the city helped pay for a fence around the school’s grassy areas to keep dogs out, said Sara Arkle, the Foothills manager for the city.
The trail also briefly parallels the right side of the 16th hole at city-owned Quail Hollow Golf Course. A net was built there to protect trail users.
“It’s a good example of the puzzle pieces that all need to fit together to do something as conceptually simple as building a trail,” Arkle said.
Full Sail begins at Hillside Park, which has about 50 parking spaces — by far the best parking access to the reserve.
However, last week the city completed a deal with Healthwise to create 18 temporary, public spots in the company’s parking lot (2601 N. Bogus Basin Road) for access to the east side of the reserve. Healthwise previously provided five parking spots but that wasn’t enough to handle the interest. The spots are temporary because the lot was built to accommodate future Healthwise expansion. The Hillside to Hollow spots will be marked and users are reminded that they are required to keep their dogs on leash in parking lots (the lot also is non-smoking).
Also on Bogus Basin Road, stone steps were installed running from the sidewalk up to the reserve. A bus stop is across the street.
“That’s part of making the trails more accessible,” said Tim Breuer, executive director of the Land Trust.
Breuer also lives in the area and is a Hillside to Hollow user. The reserve now has about 10 official trails, including Who Now Loop, Hippie Shake and Buena Vista.
“I like (Full Sail) itself, but what it also has done is it’s created a lot more variable loop opportunities,” Breuer said. “You can go to the same place time and time again but you can travel it in a different way and have a different view. While some trails were closed for erosion control, the new routes that have been put in made it more functional.”