The City of Boise has two new projects to open up foothills recreation to more users.
Boise City Council gave the go-ahead for the Parks and Recreation Department to start work on two relatively small trail projects in Hulls Gulch and Camel’s Back Reserve that will open up more of the area to visitors who use wheelchairs or have other mobility limitations. The new trails will be usable by themselves, but they will also connect into a larger loop for users to have a longer outing than was previously possible.
The first project is a new .4 mile-long accessible Grove Trail in Hulls Gulch, which will be located north of the existing Grove Trail. The second project is a minor reroute of 100 feet of Red Fox Trail in neighboring Camel’s Back Reserve, which will move the trail away from an area that accumulates deep sand and make the length of the trail accessible.
From Red Fox, a visitor could connect to the Gold Finch trail and back to the Grove Trail, making a full circle.
“There will now be more creative opportunities to enjoy as much or as little as our users would like to take advantage of,” Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway told City Council.
The project will cost roughly $51,000 and be paid for out of the city’s Open Space and Clean Water Levy funds. Two new ADA-compliant parking spaces will be added as part of the project, one at each reserve. The improvements are expected to be completed next spring.
The recommendations were part of a set of proposals from Boise’s Cross Disability Taskforce, which convened last year. This will add to the 12 accessible trails Boise already has in the foothills, which are paved with “all-weather” material to make them accessible for wheelchair users, have flatter grades and are wider than typical footpaths.
‘Best $51,000 we could spend’
City Council members were pleased with the project during a work session this week.
Council Member Jimmy Hallyburton was impressed with how much of an impact such a small cost would have on people in the disability community who are unable to visit most of the trails in the open space reserves in the Ridge to Rivers trail system.
“I’ve been on council for two years and this is the best $51,000 we could spend for the return of investment you’re going to get,” he said.
City Council President Elaine Clegg inquired if the city could look into adding a structure or some sort of pathway to allow wheelchair users to get closer to a pond near one of the trails.
“In terms of accessibility, I think that’s something a lot of folks miss, getting closer to the water,” she said.