City Government

Boise Greenbelt Gets Attaboy

OK. We admit it has been a while since the GUARDIAN has pedaled the greenbelt.
That said, a Sunday meander (for non-library types that’s “wander at random”) along the city’s showplace river trail was very pleasant and rewarding. From our “comfort bike we noticed not only was it packed with all sorts and ages of people, they were all exceedingly POLITE!

People on bikes announced their presence to pedestrians with an audible, but not startling “on your left” as they passed and the walkers invariably said, “thank-you” in response. There were also a fair number of roller bladers , scooters, and assorted bikes with trailers for kids. We even saw a paraplegic hand powered three wheeler.

The homeless crowd was mostly lined up for a free meal from the Christians at Julia Davis Park, but even those who were sleeping in the shade were unobtrusive and bothered no one.

Nearly 40 years ago as a young staffer at the Daily Paper, the GUARDIAN editor flew in a National Guard chopper the full length of the present Greenbelt making photos. We crudely pasted them together to show readers the potential for the route along the river.

That route was packed with gravel pits, a slaughterhouse, a sewer plant belching foaming phosphates into the river, and all manner of junked cars and rubbish. Public awareness, city support, and lots of work brought us to the present.

Now, they just need to OPEN THE DEPOT to the public and life will be complete.
The Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial has a neat new addition in the form of hand crank generators which power recorded messages about the site near the lLibrary between 8th and 9th Streets.
We observed Boise Police lady volunteer Laurie Brede give a ticket to 12-year-old Jake Merrill for the way he was riding his bicycle and wearing a helmet…the ticket included a free lunch at Applebee’s. Laurie is one of about 25 volunteers and a BPD spokesman said they can use more like her to be the “eyes and ears” of the patrol division while offering directions and information to visitors.

Being the GUARDIAN, we are compelled to note one minor fault and demonstrate the “power of the people” to make things better. There is no sign along the bike path to indicate the fantastic M.K. Nature Center location behind Fish and Game headquarters. We directed visitors from Canada to the location and only later realized it is unmarked.

TO ANY GUARDIAN READER–Please make us a router-type sign on a 4 foot piece
of 2×8 suitable for posting on the fence reading: “M.K. NATURE CENTER.”
Finished with either brown outdoor paint with white letters or natural oil finish and 4 holes for mounting would finish the deal. We will feature the presentation on this site.

UPDATE 7/14/08 3 p.m.–
A reader has sent this YOU TUBE link to a HISTORIC FILM.

A Fish & Game staffer has pledged to work on a sign for the Nature Center.

The internet and GUARDIAN continue to bring out the best in our society!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Boise Whiskey Tango
    Jul 14, 2008, 11:16 am

    The Greenbelt / Boise River “Experience” is just about all that sets us apart from every other Suburb of Los Angeles anymore (Oh… Yes I Did!).

    God Bless the Visionaries that made it a reality, the Good People at Boise Parks and Rec who maintain it, and the Gregarious Septogenarians (+ / -) who Volunteer to Patrol it.

  2. I am so glad that you did a posting on the Greenbelt, a proud achievement for Boise, which was way ahead of Minneapolis St Paul due to the fact that Boise had a Greenbelt plan — a vision. The first thing I did almost 40 years ago when I arrived in Minnesota was to attend a conference on the Urban River that included a boat trip along the Miss. What a mess it was then with junk yards.

    It was strictly serendipity in the Twin Cities but at long last we have a green beltway in both cities, but not contiguous. The Guthrie Theater is the crown jewl on the river. I think federal anti-pollution and beautification initiatives uinder Johnson helped spur river front renewal.

    I bore everyone with my recollections of reporting on the Greenbelt plan when I was a local government reporter at The Statesman.

    I sincerely wish that the Republicans were meeting in Boise rather than St. Paul. It will be bedlum here in a month and it will do no one any good.

  3. Thanks Guardian for a nice positive story on just one unique amenity found in this fine town. Despite what many of the whining bloggers on this post (yep talking to you among others Whiskey Tango) might say, we live in an awesome town with more to offer than any other city of a similar size in the entire West…if not the entire U.S. The Shakespeare theatre….Bogus Basin….floating the Boise Rive…white water rafting minutes to the north…..a neat downtown scene full of restaurants and bars….fun minor league sports…the list goes on and on. I challenge anyone to find a better mid size city anywhere. I am employed in a position that puts me face to face on a daily basis with folks from around the U.S. who are dying to relocate to the Treasure Valley. I’m proud to call Boise home and Tango if you aren’t then leave – there are plenty of folks in LA who would love to trade places with you! Since you think that Boise and LA are pretty similar maybe you’d be better off there?

  4. Guardian;

    I never knew about the daily paper photos, do you have any copies you can post here? I found this video at parks and rec, created by former city Councilman Bill Onweiler in 1970. If you haven’t seen this, any of you, it’s worth a look. The quality is not very good but it’s the content that matters.

    EDITOR NOTE–Chances are better than even that I was sitting next to whomever shot the movies. They were probably shot from the same chopper as my stills.

  5. Brent Thomas
    Jul 14, 2008, 3:02 pm

    As an Fish and Game employee I’ll see what can be done about improving signage for the Nature Center. Great idea! I’ll keep you posted.

  6. The Guardian and the Phobe are right on with their assertion of how much the greenbelt means to all of us. Right after we get the sign for the MK Nature Center, maybe someone could convince the mayor and city council of Garden City, that they really don’t have the right to “close off” bike traffic through River Run. Then the greenbelt would be on the way to be even a greater “jewel” in the entire valley’s crown! That was the vision of the people that started the process, and that vision should be realized.

  7. Boise "Whining" Tango
    Jul 14, 2008, 6:21 pm

    Antiphobe, et al-

    “…there are plenty of folks in LA who would love to trade places with you!”

    Well, Duh! I’m sure many Baghdadians and Somalis would also.

    “Welcome to Boise – We’re not as Bad as L.A.” should make a wonderful sign out on the Connector!


    I never drew a comparrison between L.A. Proper (where I lived and worked for 3+ Years, enduring the Rodney King Riots, Northridge Quake, etc…) and Boise. What I’ve said (and will continue to say) is that Boise is increasingly looking like a SUBURB of Los Angeles.

    Not a good thing for anyone, except perhaps cookie-cutter developers and aspiring gang-bangers (Note the exponential increase in Tip-of-the-Iceberg Gang Tags / Graffiti).


    Bogus Basin and the Payette River are indeed beautiful; but NOT part of Boise.

    Many fine restaurants are folding and / or leaving for Eagle, leaving behind chains. And the proliferation of Gin Mills is good for whom, exactly?


    Ah . . . The moldy, oldie “Love It or Leave It” gambit never fails to amuse.

    What you fail to grasp is that I DO love Boise. Dearly. And I refuse to blithely accept it’s continued slide into homogeneous mediocrity.

    Which is why I proudly, enthusiastically, and at every opportunity cry: “The Emperor Wears No Clothes!” when the Emperor is bare ass naked.

  8. Boise "Whining" Tango
    Jul 14, 2008, 7:09 pm

    P.S. Good thing that whole “Love It or Leave It” mentality hadn’t prevailed when the Greenbelt was being considered, or we’d all still be dumping cars, trash and “foaming phosphates” into the water and along the banks.

    I mean, it had been good enough up until then and was better than L.A. (5 years after Watts).


  9. Tango, you make some valid points. I fail to see how anyone with history in the valley could be happy with the current situation. I do believe we will experience a certain level of growth, but at the same time we have done a miserable job of managing that growth. A substantial number of people were very happy with this valley 30 years ago. Those same people were concerned about where the valley was headed 20 years ago. 10 years ago we were upset with what the valley had become. Today we are just plain pissed at what the valley is, and very worried about what it will be like 10 years from now. Maybe that’s a function of aging,of both the valley and us. There just seems to be a better way to run this railroad.

  10. Damn it, Guardian! I can’t find anything to complain about in this post.
    You gonna ruin my reputation!

  11. Good to see the police helping to educate the bike going populace. Now if they could only show their volunteers how to wear a helmet.

  12. Dave, do you know anything about the public easement that runs across all the back yards next to the river in the Plantation subdivision? I just found out this week that all those properties have a “public” easement that is obviously some kind of pathway, yet there is no access and no apparent plans of any kind to use it. Plus, who owns this “public” easement” It just seems very odd. These homeowners have a significant cloud on their titles because of this, and the public has no access whatsoever. It’s crazy.

    Mr. Bond–
    Sounds like some covert operations are in order. Suggest you contact the LAND RECORDS people at the Ada County Assessor office–they are likely to be quite helpful as it is not boring routine. Call them at 287-7200, suffer the recording and go for the LAND RECORDS people. Then, report back to the GUARDIAN, it sounds like potential fun for the Greenbelt biker crew of which I assume you are one.

  13. Good piece on the Greenbelt in Boise. Unfortunately Garden City elected officials, unlike Boise, has thumbed their collective noses at the public and banned bike riding on the Greenbelt in Riverside Village. Go to the Citizens for an Open Greenbelt website ( and you’ll learn much more. Please join us on our fight.

    As to the public access in Plantation – that is a rather convoluted issue but again, has to do with Garden City’s attempt to keep the public away from those pricey riverfront properties and golf course only to serve their political interests. The public access that James Bond is referring to is likely to be State land below the high water mark. That is public land but land above the high water mark can be private and must be planned by the controlling jurisdiction – in this case Garden City. From our research Garden City ignored what was being done in the rest of the TV Greenbelt and elected to not develop a greenbelt through Plantation and the golf course – just like in Riverside Village. Why? It’s all politics.

    Regarding the Youtube video. Did you notice that there was a caution about developers trying to restrict the public use of the greenbelt? Unfortunately John Evans and the Idaho Forest Industries got away with this in Garden City.

    BTW, we really appreciate the BG’s past coverage of COG’s campaign to open the Garden City greenbelt to all users. Thanks for the support Dave!

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