- Harrison Berry
- Left to right: Boise City Councilwoman Elaine Clegg, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Boise Parks and Recreation Department Director Doug Holloway.
The clearing in what will one day be part of the Golda Harris Nature Preserve looks like prime Boise River wetland, bordered by a marshy stream and lined with cottonwood trees. That's where Boise city leaders, including Mayor Dave Bieter and City Council members Scot Ludwig and Elaine Clegg, gathered on a damp Monday morning Oct. 19 to officially announce the city had accepted the parcel of land from the Thelma B. Lee Trust and the Harris Family Limited Partnership.
"It could be raining cats and dogs out here, and it would still be a great day," said Boise Parks and Recreation Department Director Doug Holloway.
The Golda Harris Nature Preserve will be tucked between the Boise Greenbelt, Parkcenter Bridge and Boise River on more than three acres of land. The area has a history of wildlife, including elk, beavers and bald eagles, as well as industry, including timber processing at the former Harris Brothers Lumber Company.
The Harris family also raised Hereford cattle in the area, giving nearby Harris Ranch its name, as well as owned hundreds of land parcels throughout what is now known as east Boise. Golda's late-sister-in-law, Alta Harris, is the namesake of another Boise park, which is located on 20 acres of undeveloped land along the Boise River north of Barber Park.
Golda Harris died in 1989 at the age of 83, but several of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were in attendance at the announcement of the preserve. Development of the land, including installation of walking paths and signage, is expected to be complete within the next five years.
Advance press materials for the event described the preserve as "the newest jewel in the necklace of public parks along the Boise Greenbelt." Bieter lauded the timing of the property transfer to the city, citing an upcoming vote on the latest foothills levy. He pointed to acquisitions like the Golda Harris Nature Preserve as "examples of what we can do going forward."
"We have great expectations this time around," Bieter said.
Bieter, Ludwig and Clegg are all up for reelection in November.