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Ada County Commissioners set the stage for open space preservation

Ada County could soon set aside more land for conservation.

At the end of October, the Ada County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new ordinance allowing the county to designate property it owns as open space. This allows the commissioners to bring forward resolutions in the future to protect properties and designate them for wildlife habitat preservation and other low-impact recreation, like hiking and bird watching.

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Ada County spokeswoman Elizabeth Duncan said the commissioners will hold a public hearing and vote on a resolution to protect two pieces of county property on December 1, but she did not disclose the locations Thursday.

“It is a pleasure to have bipartisan support for the Open Space and Conservation Ordinance,” Ada County Commission Board Chair Kendra Kenyon said in a statement. “Twenty years from now we will look back and be so grateful we preserved areas that defined who we are as a community.”

Protect it before its gone

This move follows in the City of Boise’s footsteps. Since 2000, Boise officials have used open space and clean water levy funds approved by voters to purchase and preserve open space in the Boise foothills. This includes the purchase of 325 acres in July 2020 north of Pierce Park Lane.

Ada County’s Director of Parks and Waterways Scott Koberg did not know how many acres the county-owned eligible for this type of protection. But, he said the county owns a range of properties in a variety of areas and there are several “good candidates” for future preservation. 

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“Because of the uniqueness of Ada County in terms of the setting with the river and the foothills I think it’s important the county recognizes there are some unique, special properties that are worth setting aside for future generations of Ada County residents so they’re not disturbed beyond repair if they’re just open to the public for anything and everything,” he said. “If you don’t identify these areas before they’re gone, it can be too late and there’s no going back.”

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev senior reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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