Native Americans once inhabited the Boise Valley and are said to have gathered at a remote site in the foothills where an outcropping of rocks dramatically jets out and touches the sky. At that time nearby geothermal hot springs fed into small creeks and formed bathing ponds frequented by the Shoshone, Bannock, and Paiute Tribes.
The Boise Valley was a peaceful gathering place and other traveling tribal nations were welcomed at the hot water springs which were used for healing and spiritual reasons. The tribes of Duck Valley and Fort Hall Indian Reservations tribes report that the Castle/Eagle Rock area near the hot springs were once a healing, ritual and burial site for their ancestors.
In 1990 the East End Neighborhood Association in conjunction with the Native American Tribes began a campaign to protect Castle/Eagle Rock from development. In a City Council meeting Benson Gibson, former tribal council member of Duck Valley Reservation, described Castle Rock as a "puha point" - a power point - a source of rejuvenation and spiritual healing.
Hobby Hevewah of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation further commented, "Castle Rock is a special place for us to worship. We want to protect our grave sites and our sacred area." Corbin Harney expressed a similar sentiment about the Castle/ Eagle Rock area when he wrote "Without respect and without our culture we have nothing. One of our responsibilities is to protect our ancestors…"
The campaign to protect Castle/Eagle Rock area was successful. The property was purchased from the developer with funds raised by EENA, the Shoshone - Bannock tribes, and the City of Boise. The site was officially named Castle Rock Reserve. Boise City Parks and Recreation, following consultation with the tribes, relocated the trails in the reserve in order to promote the conscientious and respectful use of the land and to avoid interference with possible burial locations. With the assistance of BLM and EENA volunteers, Boise City reintroduced 3000 native plants to the area to signify a healing of this important site.
Betty Foster approached Boise's Parks and Recreation Department in 2006 with a project to raise the awareness of Castle Rock's historical significance. She raised funds and helped design tribute stone near the Bacon Drive entrance. Betty is a dedicated wife, mother, former school librarian, active volunteer, and continues to share her knowledge with our community.
The tribute stone is a poignant reminder that the rocks jetting out of the hillside that touch the sky are an important part of Idaho's Native American history. Visitors will appreciate the peaceful surroundings, expanse of open sky, views of the Boise Valley area, and the river that lies below. Let them also be filled with a sense of the past, present and future converging in a moment of time. Listen closely and you may hear a faint whisper on the breeze saying… tread gently for you are on sacred ground.
In 2019, Boise approved the renaming of the city park and foothills reserve in honor of the area's indigenous people. Quarry View Park is renamed to Eagle Rock Park in recognition of the tribes’ historical name for the balancing rock above the park. Also, Castle Rock Reserve will become Chief Eagle Eye Reserve in honor of the leader of a peaceful band of 70 Weiser Shoshone, who in 1878 refused to relocate to reservations and instead lived quietly in the mountains of Idaho for two decades. He died in 1896 and is buried at the top of Timber Butte, overlooking his homeland.
- "Eagle Rock" is sacred to all-letter from the tribes and Land Use Policy Commissioner, Hobby Hevewah
- Letter to Governor Cecil Andrus from Merle Wells re: burial site at Castle Rock
- Letter to Lee Dillion, Boise Planning and Zoning Commission member from Thomas Green, State Archaeologist
- Idaho Statesman Article 1/22/1893 stating that human bones were found in Castle Rock area