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Foothills get bigger

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A patch of sand regularly used for parking at the foot of Hulls Gulch is about to become public land.

The parking area at the north end of Ninth Street has been donated to the city. The Boise City Council was expected to accept the three-quarter-acre parcel this week.

"People assume a lot of places in the Foothills are public land that aren't," said Julia Grant, Foothills open space manager for the city.

Jane Block grew up on the last block of Ninth Street, Grant said. Her parents bought the lot on the Camel's Back side of the street so that houses would not be built and block their view of the hill.

The space has been used for parking and as a meeting spot for Foothills users for years. Block grew up hiking in the Foothills and has fond memories of the area.

Now a resident of Riverside, Calif., Block decided to hand the land over to the city to be used as an official public parking area and trailhead. She hopes that her donation will encourage other owners of Foothills land to consider making similar donations—no matter the size.

Block has been involved in the Riverside Land Conservancy in California and has been honored for her efforts there. The group Inland Empire Waterkeeper and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently commended Block's preservation efforts.

To donate the Camel's Back lot, she worked with the Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee, a group that helps administer Foothills levy funds.

The Foothills Committee still has about $4 million from a 2001 tax levy to purchase land for preservation, Grant said.