It's unsightly, unsanitary and, with fire season ramping up, the problem is a major hazard to land and life. Dumping and vandalism in the Boise Foothills is now a full-blown dilemma.
"The most recent dump was about 1,000 cubic yards of tree clippings and mulch right in the middle of ephemeral drainage in the east reserves," said city of Boise Open Space Senior Manager Sara Arkle. "Yes, it's something we have always dealt with but, with fire season coming up, we've got to start talking more about respectful use of the foothills."
The most recent dumping triggered neighbor complaints, which resulted in an official investigation by the Boise Police Department.
"It is against city code. It's a crime, regardless of what is being dumped: debris, waste or hazardous materials," said Arkle.
Section 6-16-02 of the Boise Municipal Code makes it illegal to dump debris, garbage, litter rubbish and refuse on public property—a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.
Unfortunately, dumping has not been the worst of it. Obscene graffiti was discovered on sandstone cliffs near the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center, a regular gathering spot for school children.
Sandstone cliffs throughout the foothills are habitat for wildlife and any carving into the cliffs is also considered a violation of city code. Such vandalism is also punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
While city crews and volunteers are doing their best to remove the graffiti, the city needed to bring in a backhoe this week to begin removing debris.
"Ultimately, this is all about respect," said Arkle.