A 10-year-old master plan finally began to take shape Monday with the opening of a new entrance to Eagle Island State Park.
The entrance off State Street/Highway 44 in Eagle (west of Eagle Road) will increase the park’s visibility and should bring more visitors to the park, said David Langhorst, the director of Idaho State Parks and Recreation.
The entrance was envisioned as part of a master plan approved in 2006. The $24 million plan (in 2006 prices) stalled when the economy sank.
“Today is important because it represents a restart of that momentum and that exuberance,” Langhorst said.
Only 11 of the 546 acres between the north and south channels of the Boise River have been developed. The master plan calls for significant development on the north side, including an RV park that Langhorst hopes to open by 2019 at the latest, and preserved open space on the south side.
The first of three additional ponds — the park has one now — could be dug soon. The state hopes to mine gravel from the park to create the ponds and fund some of the development, which could include a dog park, primitive camping for youth groups and enhanced opportunities for water sports. A zip-line attraction is set to open this spring and Gateway Parks operates a snow park in the winter.
The idea is to have an urban park on the north side and a natural park on the south side.
“So you’ve got two kinds of park in one,” Langhorst said.
Fully realizing the master plan could take a decade or two, Langhorst said. The new entrance was the first step. The old entrance off Linder Road closes this coming Monday.
“Sometimes in government we get all caught up in knowing the cost of everything and then we are not appreciating the value,” Gov. Butch Otter said. “The concept that is drawn up for this, the plan they put together for this, does have an awful lot of value.”