50 Years of the Boise River Greenbelt

This video that was shot from a helicopter and used by Boise City Council member Bill Onweiler (who also narrates the video) to promote the idea of a Greenbelt in Boise in 1970.

Poster print of woman riding bike, people running in background, family playing, text on bottom reads "Boise River Greenbelt 50 years"
Ward Hooper Greenbelt Print

Greenbelt Stories

The Boise River Greenbelt is 50 years old this year. To celebrate, the Parks and Recreation Department and Boise City Department of Arts & History hosted series of events to honor this beloved pathway that connects our community.

What continues our community connection to this unique resource are the stories behind it. From weddings to walking groups, people across Boise and the Treasure Valley have created memories along this pathway that will last a lifetime.

For the past several months we have been asking users to submit their Greenbelt stories and photos. As we continue to collect these stories and memories we will share some with you here.

TELL YOUR STORY

Training for My Future

Submission by Brad Bolen

Countless physical training hours hours for my chosen profession. Years ago I applied to be a Smokejumper for the Boise BLM Smokejumpers. Part of the initial rookie training required me to be able to run approximately the distance of a marathon. Well as many people know the the safety and easiest way to train for any distance running in Boise is to utilize the miles of continuous greenbelt to train. I mapped out a course and went to work training for that distance. When I was finally ready to run the full distance I had my wife drop me off at Sandy Point below Lucky Peak Dam with the intent of running to Merrill Park in Eagle. Luckily I planned this run on a Saturday in the Spring, as I found myself inadvertently a participant in the many fun runs scheduled that day along my course. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I came across many aid stations along the way and was able to sustain myself for the distance. What seemed like a daunting task turned out to be fun adventure as I traveled through Boise, Garden City and Eagle. I chatted with countless people recreating and simply having a wonderful day along the many miles of the Greenbelt. As employee now for City of Boise and a member of the Boise Fire Department I have great pride in seeing our recruits train on this same greenbelt and the Fallen Firefighter memorial park along side it's path.

Our Future Started Here

Submission by Kelsie Carnosso

"Looking back, my now husband and I can say that the first three hours of the rest of our lives together was spent walking the greenbelt. We found ourselves sitting on a bench tucked behind some trees near the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial learning about who we had become as individuals until that moment and the dreams of our future selves. That very same bench was where he proposed a year later. Biking and walking the greenbelt, visiting historical sites, viewing art, and dining at nearby restaurants has become our favorite way to pass time. I think it's safe to say that most of our major memories will revolve around the greenbelt. Thank you City of Boise for doing all you can to care for something that is an integral part of our city."

Daily Dog Walks

Submission by: Laurie Barrera

“Daily dog walks [along the Greenbelt] provide the perfect setting for stunning photography opportunities.”

Youth Conservation Corp

Submission by: Shirley McMasters

“Back in 1978, when I was still in high school, I worked one summer for the Youth Conservation Corp., Y.C.C. Our home base was Boise's Veterans Memorial State Park. That was such a great summer job in many ways, but one of my favorite memories was helping clear the path for what would soon be another section of our beautiful Greenbelt. Using pics and shovels, our Park Leaders showed a young group of Treasure Valley teenagers how to clear a long, wide, level and wheelchair accessible path on the North side of the Boise River which would later to be paved. Looking back, this is something I am still quite proud of 40 years later! I have often said working for the parks that summer was one of my favorite jobs and certainly shaped my Conservationist values to this day.”

A Winter Wedding

Submission by: Holly Asmussen

“On January 7th, 2017, during Snowpocalypse 2017, my wife and I got married on the Greenbelt along the Boise river bank. Over half of the guests never made it, but the small ceremony was serenely beautiful.”

The Joy of a Long Run

Submission by: Katie Lamansky

“Boise’s Greenbelt was the gateway to my passion for long-distance running. Upon my first marathon training program in 2002, I was introduced to the wonders of the Greenbelt and the friendliness of the people in Boise. Years of training and running along the Greenbelt have given me the opportunity to watch the system expand, stand resilient through flooding, and host millions of runners, walkers, bikers, and nature lovers explore the gem of our city.”

Left to Right: Patsy with son Chris, Gwen, Mary Jo, Carol, parents Marge and Bill, Karen, and Peggy

Early Beginnings

Submission by Shirley Ewing: A photo of her family with a caption from an interview with her mother, Marge Ewing, who served on the Boise City Council in the 1970s:

“For years the former city council had discussed the idea of a greenbelt. By the time Marge got on the council, they started discussing a greenbelt in earnest that would connect major city parks along the Boise River. Early on, Marge thought it would be great if anyone, regardless of income, could go to the river for relaxation and peace of mind. With public support for a greenbelt and grant money from the US government, the city began purchasing parcels of land along the river. The first parcel purchased was on Americana Blvd. by the adjacent bridge. The photo shown here, taken in the early 70s, depicts Marge and Bill Ewing with 6 of their seven daughters. They were just leaving their home on 36th Street for a bicycle excursion on the new Greenbelt.”

The Greenbelt Partnership

The Boise River Greenbelt is now a multi-jurisdiction managed pathway that runs on the north and south sides of the Boise River from Lucky Peak all the way to Eagle. The Greenbelt’s now seamless connectivity is a testament to the partnership of the City of Boise, Ada County, Garden City, the City of Eagle and the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands – each organization manages the pathways within their jurisdiction.

Logos

The Boise River Greenbelt is a community treasure. The tree-lined pathway parallels the river and provides scenic views, wildlife habitat and pedestrian and cyclist access to popular parks and open spaces from Lucky Peak in Ada County through the City of Boise, Garden City and the City of Eagle.

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