New Trail Easement Opens Recreation, Conservation Opportunities in Boise Foothills

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Mayor Dave Bieter announces the new easement given to the city by Grossman Company Properties, for free and forever. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • Mayor Dave Bieter announces the new easement given to the city by Grossman Company Properties, for free and forever.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has had a good year: his fire bond passed in November, his city is getting an upgraded skatepark next summer thanks to the Albertson Foundation, and now the Grossman Company has agreed to a 3,300-acre easement in the Boise Foothills that include miles of hiking trails.

"This is the kind of gift that will last forever," he said. "Because of it, our children and their children will inherit the place that we love."

The announcement came this morning in front of the city council chambers, where Bieter and Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway gave details about the new easement—encompassing many miles of trails in the Upper Dry Creek watershed already popular by thousands of hikers. 

Upper Dry Creek is a popular area for hikers and mountain bikers, just a few miles up Bogus Basin Road. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • Upper Dry Creek is a popular area for hikers and mountain bikers, just a few miles up Bogus Basin Road.
The idea for this easement came up earlier this summer, according to Holloway, when Grossman Company Properties agreed to give a 12.6-mile trail easement linking Polecat Gulch Reserve to the Boise Front—called the Daniel's Creek Easement. Shortly thereafter, the company approached the city again, this time offering the Upper Dry Creek area a few miles up Bogus Basin Road. 

Tim Breuer, executive director of the nonprofit Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, told Boise Weekly that the group of trails in this newest easement are even more popular than the Daniel's Creek easement given back in July.

But there's more to the area than popular hiking trails. The Land Trust made its own easement agreement with the company for habitat management. Part of the Dry Creek watershed harbors the foothills' only trout: the native Redband. Having such an agreement allows for research and conservation projects to protect and improve the trout habitat.

"This fits right into my stocking hanging over the fireplace," Breuer said.

Holloway pointed out in the press conference that there can't be a stocking stuffer like this without a Santa Claus. That's when Tom Bobo, representing the Grossman Company, took to the podium. 

Bobo said he looks forward to the easement agreement opening up more trails—nearly 11 miles worth—promoting conservation while preserving private owners' land rights. 

"I hope this will be used as a case study for other cities in the future, as an example of a city that works with a nonprofit and private land owners," he said. 

The Boise City Council was expected to approve the easement agreement in its December 16th session as a walk-on item. Then, Boise Parks and Recreation will take over the improvement of the trails, expected to cost around $50,000. Prior to the easement, thousands of hikers used the trails with little done to maintain the trails. 

Boise Parks and Recreation is also seeking input from open space users for the development of the Open Space Matters Reserve Management Plan. The survey will help influence management strategies for open spaces like Camel's Back, Hulls Gulch, Stack Rock and Military Reserve. Click here to take the survey until Jan. 10, 2015.