Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the latest updates on the Boise Whitewater Park and Phase 2?

Work has been compelted on modifications to Phase 2, Drop Structure 1 at the Boise Whitewater Park. Team members from McMillen Jacobs Associates were on site from March 7 through March 11, 2022. The project required the use of a crane, so the path adjacent to the wave feature will be closed as work is completed.

The scope of work included removing modifications previously installed at Drop Structure 1. The wave feature will be put back to the original configuration from the Phase 2 opening back in 2019. This change will allow for the temporary use of the wave for monitored sessions in 2022. Schedule information will be announced at a later date.

Engineers at McMillen Jacobs Associates are working with McLaughlin White Water Design Group on alternatives for permanent modifications to the Phase 2, Drop Structure 1 wave feature. The goal is for these permanent modifications to be installed during the 2022-2023 winter season.

The city’s partnership with Farmer’s Union Ditch Company (FUDC) is an important priority with the management of the adjustable feature in Phase 2 – The configuration of the wave feature needs to provide a constant upstream pool elevation for FUDC water delivery needs during the irrigation season. This is a legal obligation that must be met and can impact the activation or deactivation of the wave feature. Above all else, we must meet irrigation demands at the Boise Whitewater Park in order to operate.

As was the case when the Phase 1 adjustable wave opened in 2012, this is a learning process for our wave tech and team that will continue throughout the season, especially as river flows fluctuate. For that reason, there is no set schedule for when the Phase 2 adjustable wave will be operational at this time. You can follow the Boise Whitewater Park Facebook page and official City of Boise whitewater park website for updates and information related to the park. We appreciate your patience as this new amenity is dialed in. The Boise Parks and Recreation team is also working to update signage at the whitewater park to keep users informed.

2. When will Phase 2 drop structure 1 be a "kayak wave" feature?

As the project team learns more, further evaluations will be made to determine how best to accommodate all users. Work on the feature remains ongoing (the wave techs are out at the park for 8+ hours a day) and our team is in constant contact with Phase 2 designers and engineers. We appreciate your patience.

3. What are the latest updates to drop structure 2?
We have had requests from kayakers specifically related to drop structure 2 to make it deeper. Over the winter, the contractor did shave down a few of the rocks but our team has found that the modifications did not make any significant changes to the feature. Unfortunately, our permit requirements prevent us from making an additional modifications. We are required to meet no net rise in flows and we have already maximized the height of the structure as much as our permit allows. Any additional deepening of the area will have flooding impacts and would cause a revocation of the permit for phase 2. There is also a requirement for fish passage that impacts the flow/shape of the water over the structure and we are not allowed to change that configuration without jeopardizing fish passage. After the minor modifications made over the winter, drop structure 2 is complete and can’t be adjusted further.

4. Why can’t we wear leashes when the Phase 2 adjustable wave feature is operational?

Safety at the Boise Whitewater Park is always our top priority. Due to several catch hazards around the Phase 2 adjustable wave, leashes should not be used for your own safety. Any type of rope, string, or tethering device should not be used in the river. At this wave, there are undercut rocks that will anchor a person to the bottom of the river when caught, forcing them underwater, which is a dangerous scenario.

5. Why is wave shaper 3 (part of Phase 1 of the park) inoperable?

Wave shaper 3 has not operated like it did in the past since multiple flood stage years have added a 6+ ft cobble rock pile in the eddy and the rest of the riverbed on the Boise side of the river. Also, the flow range for it to work is limited to 1200-2000 CFS at the Glenwood gauge. Any flow below 1200 CFS will not meet irrigation demand as the flow is too far away from the Thurman Mill canal head gate.

6. Why is wave shaper 2 (part of Phase 1 of the park) creating a flatter wave that looks different than in years past?

Wave shaper 2 is directly upstream from the deepest channel in the riverbed behind the phase 1 system, therefore the water moves through it at its highest velocity. This channel continues to get deeper and faster every year due to erosion, especially with flood stage years like Boise has recently experienced. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department and project managers are assessing this situation to determine the best steps to address this.

7. What can be done to improve the first phase wave feature?

This will be discussed with the engineers of the park on how to slow the water down behind the wave, potentially fix the riverbed and return retention to the feature. It is important for users to understand that irrigation demands impact the wave our techs can create at different flows. This is a legal obligation that must be met and can impact the activation or deactivation of the wave feature.

8. Who can I contact if I have questions about the Boise Whitewater Park or current features?

You can email the Boise Parks and Recreation Department with questions or concerns at any time. Our staff will work to address your message and respond promptly.

Boise Whitewater Park staff can be also reached at 208-608-7192.

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