This request was approved by Boise City Council on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
The Ridge to Rivers partnership, led by the City of Boise, is planning to construct a 5.7-mile trail in Hawkins Range Reserve. The non-motorized, single-track trail and corresponding trailhead will be located in a unique area of the Boise Foothills that until now has not been accessible to the public. Hawkins Range Reserve encompasses 393 acres off N. Bogus Basin Road. The property was protected in 2015 with the city’s purchase of land previously owned by the Hawkins family, the Berry family and other properties owned by the Idaho Humane Society.
In alignment with successful special trail management strategies on select Ridge to Rivers trails, the Hawkins Loop Trail will be managed as a one-way directional trail for runners, hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. Dogs will be allowed off-leash but must be under voice control at all times. In addition to the 5.7-mile loop, Ridge to Rivers will also build the .6-mile Harrow Trail. This trail, when combined with both ends of the Hawkins Loop, will provide for a shorter and more accessible 1.5-mile trail opportunity.
Hawkins Range Reserve and all trail access will be closed seasonally from November to March to protect critical habitat and important wildlife corridors for the animals who call the foothills home.
“I’m grateful to see plans moving forward to add more opportunities for responsible recreation in the Boise Foothills,” said Mayor Lauren McLean. “Our open spaces are incredible assets for residents and offer protection for a variety of wildlife year-round.”
The Hawkins Range Reserve Trailhead off Bogus Basin Road will include paved parking, stalls for horse trailer parking, a restroom and landscaping featuring native plants and shrubs. Trees on site will provide shade for visitors and Ridge to Rivers plans to place picnic tables at the trailhead for trail users and families to stop and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings of the reserve in a park-like setting.
“This addition to our incredible Ridge to Rivers Trail System meets the city’s conservation goals of protecting wildlife habitat, providing non-motorized outdoor recreation opportunities and promoting shared responsibility of open space,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “Our trails continue to grow in popularity and this new loop and trailhead provides another option for people looking to get outside for their health, relaxation and recreation.”
The Boise Parks and Recreation Department and Ridge to Rivers partnership recently submitted an improvement project application to the Open Space and Clean Water Advisory Committee to use levy funds to build the new trail and trailhead due to significant increases in construction costs. Members of the committee unanimously recommended approval of the funding request at their April 13, 2022, meeting.
Construction of the trail and trailhead is estimated to cost $1,011,500 with approximately $195,000 from the City of Boise already budgeted for the project. Project managers requested up to $820,000 in Open Space and Clean Water Levy funding to complete the work. There is currently more than $7.8 million available from the 2015 levy to pay for clean water and open space projects and support future land purchases. If the project moves forward, there is also the potential for a private donation that would result in a decrease in levy funds needed to complete construction of the trail and trailhead at Hawkins Range Reserve.
Boise City Council members will consider the levy funding request at their upcoming meeting on May 10. If approved, construction of the new trail and trailhead could start later this year.