Friday, February 6, 2015

Travelers Should Watch for Floods in the Boise National Forest

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 3:45 PM

  • Boise National Forest
With the forecast of heavy rainfall in the mountains—which leads to quick snow melting—officials with the Boise National Forest want to warn travelers of potential mudslides, flash floods and road washouts. Most at risk are the recently burned areas near Atlanta, Pine, Featherville and along the South Fork Boise River.

Forest visitors are warned not to park or camp next to creeks or rivers because of potential flooding or slides. As heavy rain falls, rocks and trees can fall without warning onto roads and trails. Drivers are cautioned to proceed carefully on muddy roads, especially as visibility along the becomes limited.

In August 2014, 700 feet of the Middle Fork Boise River Road near Atlanta was washed away after heavy rains. Repairing the road took two months and cost the Idaho Department of Transportation $500,000. 

Closer to home, in the Boise National Forest, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area's forecast shows a 100 percent chance of rain tonight, with mixed rain and snow over the weekend and a 90 percent chance of rain Sunday night.

Temperatures on the mountain should hover around 50 through the weekend.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Brundage to Host Cancer Research Fundraiser Saturday

Posted By on Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 3:58 PM

Brundage Mountain Resort is using its slopes for a higher purpose on Saturday, Jan. 24, when it hosts its first-ever Hope on the Slopes event in conjunction with the nonprofit Ski and Ride for a Cure. The event invites individuals and teams of four to 10 participants to compete for the most vertical feet skied in a day and the most donations received. 

Proceeds support research for improved treatments, patient care and services, and education for the American Cancer Society. Anyone is welcome to participate and prizes include K2 skis and snowboards, Warren Miller DVDs, and swag from local shops and vendors.

"We're very excited to work with Hope on the Slops, Ski and Ride for a Cure and the American Cancer Society," said the resort's spokeswoman, April Whitney in a news release. "The vertical-challenge format is a blast and doing it all for such a worthy cause makes it even more appealing."

Registration costs $40 for individuals and $150 for a team. Participants can purchase their lift tickets that day for half-off the regular price.

Rock band Lucky Tongue will also play at Smoky's Bar and Grill throughout the afternoon.
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Avalanche Dangers Present in Boise National Forest

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 3:30 PM

This avalanche was skier-triggered on Dec. 21, 2014 near Mores Creek Summit. - BOISE NATIONAL FOREST
  • Boise National Forest
  • This avalanche was skier-triggered on Dec. 21, 2014 near Mores Creek Summit.
The mountains of the Boise National Forest are not so stable today as snow falls and weather warms. According representatives of the Boise National Forest, backcountry skiers and snowmobilers are warned to use caution over the next few days and carry avalanche rescue gear when traveling on or near steep slopes.

The warning comes after remote SNOTEL weather stations across the forest report heavy, wet snow with up to two inches of water equivalent in over a foot of snow from Sunday night's storm.

The Payette Avalanche Center is calling the the avalanche hazard considerable today on all slopes over 30 degrees. 

"Heavy snowfall, winds gusting over 25 mph and warming temperatures added a lot of new weight on top of a variety of old snow surfaces including ice crusts and surface hoar," wrote a representative of the Payette Avalanche Center advisory for Jan. 5. "Ski and ride low angle slopes today or utilize inbounds terrain at local ski resorts to get your fresh snow fix."

David Olson, of the Boise National Forest, said in a news release that it takes several days for the avalanche risk to dissipate as new snow settles and bonds with existing snowpack.

"Although the Payette Avalanche Center does not forecast specifically for the Boise National Forest, their updates relate to snow conditions within the forest," he added.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center is also reporting considerable avalanche danger for the Sawtooth National Forest. The rating scale goes from low to moderate to considerable to high to extreme.
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Southwest Idaho's Snowpack is Above Average

Posted By on Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 11:57 AM

When hydrologists from the National Resources Conservation Service measured snow pack on Dec. 30, 2014 at Mores Creek near Idaho City, they found the pack was at 53 inches, according to Boise State Public Radio

BSPR reported than Idaho NRCS Water Supply Specialist Ron Abramovich said the snowpack contains 14 inches of water.

"Normally at this time of year, we'd have 12 inches of water in the snowpack," he told BSPR. "So we're a little above average, which is good."

In order to continue the trend, April 1 would see snowpack containing 30 inches of water, but Abramovich said he doesn't expect to see much more snow for the winter—although he didn't expect to see as much snow as we have so far, either. Forecasts earlier this fall called for a dry winter because of the El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean. Unexpected storms have brought a healthy amount of precipitation to this part of the state.

According to the snow report, Bogus Basin currently has a base of 35 inches of snow, and a total season snowfall of 64 inches. NOAA forecasts the possibility of 15 inches of snow accumulation through Sunday and Monday, before precipitation turns to rain.
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Boise Foothills Naming Process Put on Hold

Posted By on Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 10:02 AM

In December, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department decided to do something different when it comes to foothills trail development: It opened up the naming process of trails to the public.

"Rather than us just coming up with names for the trails, why not stay in the collaborative spirit of the whole thing," David Gordon of Ridge to Rivers told Boise Weekly on Dec. 22.

Gordon was referring to Boise's newly acquired trails from the Quail Ridge Golf Course to Bogus Basin Road, called Hillside to Hollow.

From the get-go, the Hillside to Hollow project was heavy on public input. Boise Parks and Rec laid out the maps and handed trail users the markers to decide which trails should stay, which should go and which should be added. 

Gordon thought, "Why not let the public help name those trails as well?" So the city created a webpage that let anyone submit a name for nine of the popular trails off Hill Road. Then, on Dec. 29, the trail names were displayed for the public to vote on.

Users came up with names like "2 Turkeys," "36th Street Express," "Catalpa View," "Gut Buster," "Hayduke," "Hillside Hike," "Quail Trail" and "Wildside." The plan was to keep voting open through Jan. 4. 

That is, until Parks and Rec changed its mind.

According to a Dec. 31 news release, the trail-naming process has been postponed while the city creates a "broad-based public policy for how public trails, parks and recreation areas are named." It first has to be adopted by Parks and Rec and the Boise City Council before any trails are officially labeled.

"Clearly, our citizens love their parks and trails," Parks and Rec Director Doug Holloway stated in the release. “We have received fantastic response from trail users who submitted hundreds of suggestions for Hillside to Hollow pathways. Trail-naming ideas submitted to date will be considered during the development of the new policy.”

Parks and Rec hopes the new naming policy process will be effective sometime this month.
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Monday, December 29, 2014

Greenbelt Near Boise River Park Rerouted for Much of 2015

Posted By on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 3:37 PM

The Greenbelt will be closed from Veteran's Memorial Park to the 36th Street pedestrian bridge for most of 2015. - BOISE PARKS AND RECREATION
  • Boise Parks and Recreation
  • The Greenbelt will be closed from Veteran's Memorial Park to the 36th Street pedestrian bridge for most of 2015.

Right now, Esther Simplot Park isn't much more than some mounds of gravel, shabby overgrowth and a couple of puddle-filled parking lots. By this time next year, the city hopes it will be a vibrant extension of the Boise River Park—where the popular kayak and surf wave is located by Quinn's Pond—with a meandering stream, paved pathways, bridges, stretches of grass and picnic shelters.

The first phase of construction, according to Boise Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Amy Stahl, is slated to begin Jan. 12. In order for that to happen though, a section of the Greenbelt from Veteran's Memorial Park to the 36th Street pedestrian bridge overlooking the whitewater park, will close until late 2015. Along with that, the dirt parking lots allowing access to Quinn's Pond and the Boise River Park will also close. 

"It's not the world's most convenient [option] and we recognize that," Stahl said. "But this will be a significant development for the future of the river park. It will provide a large space so we can reroute the Greenbelt and create vantage points of the river, and improve access for the public. It's an inconvenience for this year, but the benefits in the long term are tremendous."

The construction will include covering the Farmers Union Ditch Company's culvert and headgate, as well as the ditch itself. While breaking ground for the Esther Simplot Park, the construction will also begin developments on Phase II of the Boise River Park. 

As far as detours go, pedestrians will be instructed to cross the river and continue on the Garden City Greenbelt. A temporary parking lot for the river park and Quinn's Pond has opened at the former Bob Rice Ford car lot on Main Street.

This portion of the construction costs the city $850,000, with Boise-based contractor McMillen LLC at the helm. 
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Boise Parks and Rec Wants Help Naming Foothills Trails

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 5:01 PM

When you click on this link, you're fronted with a map of trails in the city's newly acquired Hillside to Hollow open space in the Boise foothills. Then the question is posed: "Do you have a better name than Trail 9?" 

Boise Parks and Recreation is asking the public and the users of Hillside to Hollow to help rename nine trails that wind from Quail Hollow Golf Course to Bogus Basin Road. Folks have from Dec. 22 to Dec. 28 to nominate trail names via the interactive map, then from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, the submitted names will be visible. Users can vote on one name per trail.

The trails will then be officially named and be printed on signs and appear on the Ridge to Rivers Trail System Map.

This isn't the first time the public gets a fair amount of input on this 319-acre area. After the city and the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley purchased the land to save it from development in 2013, they laid out the maps and handed the markers to the public to mark which trails should stay, which should go, and which should be added.

David Gordon of Ridge to Rivers, said this is a much more creative approach to naming trails than usual.

"Usually we name trails based on geographic reasons, like at Watchmen's Trail, there was an old mine called Watchmen there," Gordon said, "or the name of the drainage, or the formation it goes across. Rather than us just coming up with names for the trails, why not stay in the collaborative spirit of the whole thing."

He said if there's a common name that people use for these trails that Boise Parks and Rec doesn't know about, now's the time to bring it forward. For Gordon, it's a different way of thinking of the land.

"I use those trails a lot, but I never think of them in terms of names," he said.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UPDATE: Bogus Basin and Brundage Mountain Open Dec. 19

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

Bogus Basin will also open on Friday. According to the ski resort's Facebook page, Deer Point quad, the Showcase lift and the Coach chair will be open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Holiday hours begin Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through Friday, Jan 4. Lift tickets will be discounted to $35.

As of this afternoon, Bogus Basin has a 13-inch base with more snow in the forecast.

Last year, the resort opened  Dec. 9.
Bogus Basin will open the front side on Friday. - BOGUS BASIN WEBCAM
  • Bogus Basin Webcam
  • Bogus Basin will open the front side on Friday.

ORIGINAL POST: 11:45 a.m.

The long wait for the ski season to begin is coming to an end, as Brundage Mountain Resort announced it will turn on the chairlifts for Friday, Dec. 19. The resort will open its Blue Bird quad, the Lakeview lift and the Easy Street chairlift from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily.

Brundage opened almost exactly one year ago from this weekend (Dec. 20, 2013). With three inches of snow in the last 48 hours and 36 inches built up on the summit, they're ready to start the season again. There are only 10 inches at the base of the mountain, though, so early season conditions exist.

"Terrain for beginners will, unfortunately, be limited," said resort spokesperson April Whitney in a news release. "We have some snow in the forecast and will open more terrain as soon as it's safe and feasible to do so."

Lift tickets will be discounted for the opening weekend.

As of today, Tamarack Resort is still operating only the Discovery chairlift, which services the beginner run and a terrain park.

To read more about recent improvements to Brundage Mountain, including a lodge expansion, a few brand new snow groomers, and new AT ski rentals, click here for our full report. 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Trail Easement Opens Recreation, Conservation Opportunities in Boise Foothills

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

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.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tamarack Set to Open Beginner's Slope This Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Snowmakers are making the Dec. 13 opening a reality. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Snowmakers are making the Dec. 13 opening a reality.

While the Treasure Valley experiences a warm and mild winter, with temperatures in the 50s, Tamarack Resort just southwest of Donnelly, will turn on the chairlifts this weekend. Well, one chairlift anyway. The Discovery beginner area will open on Dec. 13, with lift tickets costing $15. 

The area will include a few freestyle terrain features as well. More terrain will open as conditions permit. Right now, the NOAA forecast for the Donnelly area calls for a mix of rain and snow all week, with highs in the 40s. The resort has 21 inches mid-mountain as of Dec. 9. 

Tamarack's revamped use of snowmaking equipment this season is largely what's making the Dec. 13 opening possible. The snowmakers turned on in mid-November and will pour 25 to 35 million gallons of water in the form of snow onto the resort all season long. 

“Thanks to our snowmaking system, we’ve been able to make snow despite challenging weather conditions allowing Tamarack to start new daily lift operations,” Tamarack spokesman David Papiez in a news release.

Once Dec. 13 hits, the resort will be open for seven-day-a-week operations for the first time since 2008. Read Boise Weekly's full report on Tamarack's new management plan and challenges facing other southwestern Idaho ski resorts here.

Skiing will be free at Tamarack on Dec. 19 in exchange of non-perishable food items or gently-used winter clothing. 

As for Bogus Basin, rain and warm temperatures continue to eat at the base left by an impressive snow storm in November. 

Bogus Basin as of Dec. 9. - BOGUS BASIN WEBCAM
  • Bogus Basin Webcam
  • Bogus Basin as of Dec. 9.

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