Had a chance to hit the Boise River Park yet? The star of the show is two state of the art waveshapers – pneumatically operated air bladders that inflate to elevate stainless steel flash-boards. By raising and lowering the flash-boards, upstream water levels are controlled. During normal river flows, these wave-shapers create one roughly 20 foot wide wave and a longer 25 foot wave suitable for “green wave” surfing. The technology behind the wave-shaping allows for adjustability in both wave and hole surfing features regardless of the water level and time of year. So, if you're into kayaking or boating or simply basking in the sun and watching – the Boise River Park has caused an unexpected buzz throughout the city of Boise.
The Boise River Park is situated between the Fairview Avenue Bridge and Veteran's Memorial Parkway Bridge on the Boise River, and was once home to an unfriendly display of tossed concrete, bricks, and debris from an old irrigation diversion. It wasn't the place to be for anyone looking for a good place to sit, float, or swim – but after exhaustive efforts on the parts of many, including the Boise River Recreation Park, it is now one of the most new and exciting places to be this season.
With the 3.9 million dollar Phase I having been completed last spring, kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, tubers and canoes can be seen dominating the makeshift waves with shouting enthusiasm. The days of straggling anglers and the occasional bike commuter are long gone. It's all done in part to improve not just the Boise River, but the parks and lands that lie beyond. Over the course of completing the first stage, the area received quite the face-lift; including an improved Greenbelt path, fresh beach sand, smooth rock jetties, and of course – the wave-shaping diversion. Boise Parks and Recreation had been looking at completely overhauling the management plan, and according to Tom Governale, Boise's Superintendent of Parks – the plan called for improving a variety of features that included the whitewater park – and we say they certainly delivered.
Bernardine Quinn Park
The adjacent Quinn's Pond is one of the crowning jewels of Boise's park system, large enough to aptly accommodate paddling while providing a home to wildlife. There, you'll find two docks, boating facilities, and rental equipment. It's one of the best places to be in Boise this summer as you look for places to soak up the sun or cool off in the natural, refreshing waters. It's a little warmer than the river, and the pier on the north side of the pond offers easy access in and out of the water. It serves Boise well as an urban fishing hole with aquatic life that includes rainbow trout, bluegill, large mouth bass and channel catfish. The pond also boasts some of the easiest access if you're looking to fish from a fishing kayak, canoe or boat – and it's a quick walk from parking.
But it is the man made waves at the park that continue to steal the show. If you missed it, just last weekend world class kayakers worked their magic on the waves – the current kayak World Champion and Meridian's own current U.S. National Champion. Wave technicians adjusted the waves to create access for the kayakers to perform their various tricks. For everyone else, compromise has to be made – some days you may find a nice green face, and on others the wave isn't unlike a hole, depending on how the wave technicians are tweaking it and as flow rates and water levels vary.
On the round pavilion that overlooks the diversion dam, you might even spot a dance class, a paddle board yoga class, or a boot camp fitness session. It's a great place to sit on the rocks and watch the wave riders, sunbathe, or stop for a break during a long Greenbelt stroll. This and more has come to the unexpected surprise from city officials. During the planning stages, the park came under criticism that it was being built for a few kayakers, but it's turned into a hot spot for all types of people. It's urged officials to get hustling on phases II and III of the park, particularly to add more water recreation access.
Phase II and Phase III
The future of the Boise River Park is exciting, and includes a dramatic increase of recreation development along the river. Phase II consists of the 55 acre Esther Simplot Park, which currently encompasses 17 acres of ponds and 8.9 acres of riparian natural areas. The development of the park will include a large pond networked into Quinn's Pond by a stream with beaches along the way. They plan to include an amphitheater, an off leash dog area and grassy areas open for play. Natural and paved pathways will meander through these grassy areas, across bridges and around islands and picnic areas. The project will cost roughly $10 million.
Phase III of the project will feature further in river improvements for boaters going downstream from the existing diversion with a projected cost between $3 and $5 million.
Phase II and phase III will ensure that the Boise River Park will gain more and more attention and users. The new footbridge downstream and the new 30th Street extension makes access easier and the area more user friendly.
Convinced this is what you need to do next weekend? You can always access the Boise River Park on foot or by bicycle using the Greenbelt from the Main Street Bridge or Veterans Parkway. If you're coming in with all the gear and need nearby parking, there are two temporary parking lots set up – one is located on the north side of the river just behind Idaho River Sports on Pleasanton Ave, the other on the south side of the river off Chinden Boulevard at the end of 35th Street.
Contact Hughes Real Estate Group anytime to talk more about Boise, Idaho living at (208) 571-7145.