Restoration in semiarid systems such as the lower Boise Foothills is difficult, and success often depends on factors outside of a land manager's control. Newly planted restoration seedlings, like sagebrush, are often stressed by invasive weeds like cheatgrass, water limitation, competition with other plants, and trampling or herbivory– whether by dogs, off-trail user traffic, livestock, or wildlife. Hulls Gulch and Hillside to Hollow are two of the City’s most highly utilized reserves by people and dogs alike and revegetation efforts adjacent to trails has had limited success in both locations.
Research shows that restoration seedlings will do better if provided shelter and structure during their first critical year of establishment (Hoffman et al. 2021). To demonstrate the impacts of heavy trail use on seedling plantings, two fenced “enclosures” were placed in Hulls Gulch and Hillside to Hollow where previous rehabilitation efforts had failed.