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We Wish, Part II

A look back at BW's recreation wish list


Ladies and gentleman, in this week's Rec section we'd like to present a blast from the past.

For absolutely no reason at all, I took a digital romp through the old BW archives, and I came across something that made me laugh out loud. And it wasn't meant to be a humorous piece.

In the final issue of 2007, I wrote a story called "We Wish," a short list of things we hoped to see accomplished/averted/started in the ensuing 12 months of 2008. At the time of its publication, the list seemed like good, sound and logical recreational goals set for the greater good of Boise's rec-minded folk. And a couple of those wishes were actually granted.

For example, after more than 2 million acres of Idaho burned to a crisp in 2007, we asked that in 2008, there'd be "no fire in them thar hills." Wish granted. After a brutal 2007 fire season, fewer than 100,000 acres in Idaho succumbed to fire in 2008. Another bulleted item on our wish list was that the rampant renegade attacks on the Foothills trails cease and desist. We asked that those responsible for the unauthorized, citizen-instigated "trail-improvement projects" put down the tools and give peace a chance, instead seeking out the tao of the trail as established by those with know-how and the official nod.

The most laughable list item, however, was called "Dump Truck Wrap Up." Here it is in its entirety:

"After almost three years of moving dirt, pouring concrete and shoring up retailers, there is an end in sight for construction at the Village Plaza at Tamarack. One movie theater, 129 condos, 23 boutiques, shops and restaurants. But really, it's not a total elimination of construction at the mountain's base, just a relocation of it as ground breaks this spring for the infamous Agassi/Graf resort adjacent to the Village Plaza.

The Wish: While we'd like the whole shebang to be up and running posthaste, we'll settle for the Village Plaza this year. And knowing the folks at Tamarack, things will open up right on time."

Go ahead, laugh. I'll wait.

As I read that now and reconstruct the timeline of the complete and utter collapse of Tamarack in my mind, I can't help but wonder if, when those words were published, the upper management at Tamarack was having a side-splitting laugh at my expense, knowing that indeed Boise Weekly would get its wish. Construction would indeed stop at Tamarack, but it wouldn't be because the world-class resort was finally coming together. Three weeks after that wee little blurb published, the unraveling began when the resort was fined $185,000 for construction permit violations. The rest, as they say, is history. Want to get some good mountain biking in at Tamarack this summer? You'll have the place to yourself, but you'd better be prepared to do the uphill without the assist of a lift.

The remaining three items on our list in 2007, I'm happy to say now, were bang on and completely relevant to today.

We crossed our fingers for Bogus Basin, hoping the resort would get the Special Olympics dress rehearsal right. It did. And then Boise did a fine job with the Special Olympics proper one year later in early 2009.

The Idaho Velodrome and Cycling Park, which had yet to break ground when "We Wish" published, is up and running. Since 2007, the Velodrome has put in 10 miles of cross-country trails of three different difficulty levels for riders of varying skill sets.

Chris Cook serves on the Velodrome's Dirt Board, which acts as the facility's trail-building team, working with the City of Eagle and Ada County, as well as a host of volunteers to cut and maintain trails. According to Cook, the goal this year is to finish the intermediate and expert downhill trails, as well as a super G freeride trail. (For the record, Cook adds, that's more than what Tamarack has ... and then of course, there's that lift problem at Tamarack.)

On Saturday, June 6, Idaho Velodrome and REI will partner for the second year to cut a new trail. This year's project is the Nick Raganit trail, a half-mile connecting trail named after REI employee and avid mountain biker Raganit, who died of a heart attack during a mountain bike race in 2007. Getting the job done will require about 100 volunteers. While that may seem like a whole lot of volunteer hard laborers to round up for the day, Cook estimates the Velodrome has already used roughly 6,200 volunteer hours.

The cornerstone outdoor 333-meter concrete-surface cycling track is still on the to-do list, but we're not griping. Given that the Velodrome is an entirely donation- and volunteer-driven effort, we'll have patience. And we'll recommend that you get over there and pitch in a little manpower.

Finally, in 2007's "We Wish," we wished hard for a whitewater park. At the time, the city had pledged $750,000 toward the cost of a new park in the river near the proposed 55-acre Esther Simplot Park. Since then, the Neef family has chipped in $1 million and fortuitously, this very week, there's more big news.

After years of negotiations, the first of several agreements the city needs in order to make the park a reality has been inked. That deal, a spokeswoman said, will hopefully ease further negotiations and spur fund-raising efforts. Sources said it's not unrealistic that the remaining $4.5 million the park needs will be raised in 2010 and the park completed within two to three years. Thursday, June 11, 6 to 8 p.m., at Quinn's Pond is the Rally for River Recreation. Organizers are hoping for a large gathering of kayakers for a photo op and will be bringing river enthusiasts up to speed on the park's developments.

So what do we hope is in store for the remainder of 2009? First and foremost, we're just itching to see more progress on not only the River Recreation Park, but on Esther Simplot Park as well.

Beyond that, we're hoping for something a little juvenile: an indoor roller skating rink in Boise. Kisses to the Rollerdrome in Nampa, but if Nampa can support one, we figure the capital city should be able to as well.

And as usual, there's the standing outdoor film festival request. Preferably adult friendly. Preferably in a park. Preferably free.

Looking forward into 2010, we'd be remiss not to hope that a year from now, we're writing about the first ever Boise Recreation Festival. The two-day festival is a celebration of all things rec-related in the great Potato State and it's shooting for its inaugural year in the summer of 2010.

And just because we do hate to see a world-class four-seasons resort rot away in an epically beautiful setting like a high-end ghost town, we hope to see the Tamarack mess righted.

: To volunteer with REI at Idaho Velodrome this weekend, contact Sylvia Cooper at Lunch provided by Cobby's, register before Friday, June 5, at 10 a.m. For more information on the River Recreation Park, visit For more info on Boise Rec Fest, visit