Bald Eagles fly overhead. Owls observe from nearby trees. Raccoons, deer and untold insects nestle near the Boise River.
An area rife with wildlife and natural habitat will be preserved along the Boise River Greenbelt near Idaho Highway 21. And, organizers hope, the area will see enhancements in years to come.
Boise State University’s Intermountain Bird Observatory acquired two parcels of land where Warm Springs Ave ends and meets up with Highway 21 in far east Boise.
Now, the project has a name and plans for the future.
Growing Boise River presence for IBO
IBO and the Idaho Transportation Department worked out a deal in 2012 to allow for the management of about 20 acres of property below the tall bridge connecting Highway 21 as it heads toward Lucky Peak over the Boise River.
Then, IBO purchased a second parcel from a private owner bringing the total land in its control to more than 30 acres.
The parcels are bordered on one site by the Boise River, and on the other by the Greenbelt. A secondary stream channel runs through the site.
Immediately across the Greenbelt is the site of the proposed Sue Howell Park. IBO said it hopes to find ways to link the two sites on either side of the Greenbelt path.
The site already hosts field trips and bird banding activities, but IBO hopes to do even more in the future.
Diane Moore Nature Center
The IBO recently gave the area a name – the Diane Moore Nature Center. Moore died in 2010, and with her husband, Winston founded the WH Moore Company in Boise in 1957.
The Moores started an endowment on behalf of IBO in 2008. Interest from the fund helped make the land purchase possible.
While the habitat area isn’t a City of Boise Park, the Diane Moore Nature Center joins a tradition of parks named for prominent women in the area, including Julia Davis, Ann Morrison, Kristin Armstrong, Kathryn Albertson and half a dozen others.
The master plan for the new nature center includes wildlife viewing structures, boardwalks, pollinator gardens, a covered amphitheater and more.
Ther area is already open to recreationists and includes access from the Greenbelt. IBO is collaborating with Golden Eagle Autobahn Society, the City of Boise, Idaho Fish and Game and ITD on the project.