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With problems increasing, portion of Boise’s Table Rock will close

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Vandalism and graffiti at Boise’s Table Rock forced managers to close the parking area.

The Idaho State Historical Society, which owns and manages the Table Rock area, will close the ‘small parking area’ at the mesa.

ISHS said the lot can hold about 30 cars – but on recent days as many as 250 cars per night crowded into the area. The mesa itself will remain open from sunrise to sunset for access from the trail system. Parking will not be allowed in the small lot, along the access road connecting the area to the public road system or ‘wherever posted.’ However, cars can still park along Table Rock Road on right-of-way owned by the Ada County Highway District.

The closures will run through October 1, 2020.

“Two-hundred-fifty cars a night getting up a road that was not built for that is really a concern,” ISHS Executive Director Janet Gallimore said.

Increasing problems

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ISHS said a rise in incidents prompted the closure.

“ISHS contract security and local law enforcement have documented and reported to us vandalism, drug use, violence, discharge of firearms, stolen vehicles, fighting, fire setting and fireworks,” Gallimore said. “All of this damages the Boise Foothills and puts the lives and property of nearby residents in peril.”

A large fire in the Boise foothills in 2016 was set near Table Rock.

Gallimore said they hope this closure will help aid police, who often can’t respond quickly to the area due to its distance from the core of the city. ISHS contracts a private security firm to patrol its property at Table Rock.

ISHS said it will work toward a solution for users who have mobility issues and may not be able to hike into the area.

A new group will help advise ISHS on the future of the area, and will bring together neighborhood associations, public safety, biking advocates and others to advise on any future changes. The agency posted a public feedback survey.

Popular overlook

The area is accessed primarily on foot via the Ridge to Rivers trail system, with access points near the Old Penitentiary and along Warm Springs Ave.

A road to Table Rock through the Northridge neighborhood in the Boise foothills provides vehicle access. Several pieces of infrastructure sit on the mesa including radio transmission facilities.

Sitting about 900 feet above the Boise valley floor, the mesa provides panoramic views of the capital city and beyond.

Table Rock is home to two prominent landmarks – the large concrete “B” which often changes colors from white to red to green as folks climb up and cover it with paint. It also includes the Table Rock cross, a six-story illuminated religious symbol that sits on a small piece of private land at the edge of the bluff.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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