This recommendation was approved by Boise City Council on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
The Ridge to Rivers partnership and the Boise Parks and Recreation Department are committed to increasing trail access for all members of the community no matter their age or ability. Following feedback and conversations with members of the City of Boise’s Cross Disability Task Force, the partnership is proposing two projects in the Boise Foothills to enhance accessibility and remove barriers for those with disabilities.
There are currently 12 trails within the Ridge to Rivers system that are considered accessible, meaning they have wider widths that can accommodate mobility devices, flatter grades, minimal obstacles and accessible parking. The two new projects identified to increase accessible options for users in the foothills include:
- A new, fully accessible pedestrian-only trail that will connect with and parallel the current Grove Trail in Hulls Gulch Reserve. The approximately .4 mile section will turn the trail into a loop creating a longer trail experience for users.
- The relocation of a portion of Red Fox Trail in Camel’s Back Reserve to mitigate the build-up of deep sand that can inhibit use for those in wheelchairs or who use other devices to improve mobility. The 100 foot long reroute will also improve safety and connect users with other accessible trails nearby.
Both projects follow the recommendations of the city’s six-member Cross Disability Task Force and align with current Ridge to Rivers management strategies.
“Enjoying the foothills is one of the things that makes Boise such a great place to live,” said Jeremy Maxand, a member of the City of Boise’s Cross Disability Task Force. “It’s incredible to see our city making equitable investments in trail access, which will improve outdoor and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities.”
Staff will present the two proposed projects to Mayor Lauren McLean and the Boise City Council during a work session scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20. You can watch the meeting live via the city’s Public Meetings Youtube Channel.
“This is an important step toward making the Boise Foothills a more inclusive place for everyone,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Department Director Doug Holloway. “We are grateful for the input of the task force members who in some cases, cannot recreate in Boise’s most beautiful outdoor spaces due to obstacles along the trail. We want to create opportunities for all people, no matter their circumstances, to enjoy the benefits of nature.”
In August, the Ridge to Rivers team presented the two projects to the Open Space and Clean Water Advisory Committee and received support to use up to $52,000 in Open Space and Clean Water Levy funding to complete the trail accessibility improvements and create designated ADA accessible parking at both project locations. If the use of levy funds is approved by the Boise City Council at their September 20 evening meeting, Ridge to Rivers will also contribute $5,000 of in-kind funds toward construction that could start as early as spring 2023.
The Ridge to Rivers partnership includes the City of Boise, Ada County, the Bureau of Land Management Four Rivers Field Office, the Boise National Forest and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Together, these partner agencies manage more than 200 miles of trails located throughout the Boise Foothills.