Local wildlife and wildland activist offers alternative to bike park.
“The Fate of Boise’s Military Reserve: A Valued Natural Area, or Bike Mecca?”
Guest Opinion By
A year’s worth of secretive, closed door meetings between Boise City and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertsons’ Family Foundation hatched a plan to construct an “All Skills” BMX style Bike Park in Boise’s Military Reserve. The City solicited no public comment or input before approving the foot hills Bike Park at a March 13 City Council Meeting with RES 105-18, effective that same night.
Neighbors living immediately adjacent to the Reserve first heard about the scheme through a news article following the Council decision. They received no advance notice, and no opportunity to express concerns.
A destination Bike Park and spillover effects would spawn increased disturbance to wildlife and rare plants in the Reserve. It would intensify conflicts between walkers/runners, people with dogs, bikes and wildlife that would extend over the entire Reserve, and impact safety on the much-used trails, and increase human-caused fire risk. It would mar the Core Reserve values of historical, natural area and open space for which the Reserve was established and for which Land and Water Conservation funds have been used to acquire land for inclusion in the Reserve. It would degrade the undeveloped and serene setting of the Cemetery, pioneering new development on the west side of Mountain Cove Road.
On April 4th, The City finally held a pubic meeting. But it was not about the Reserve’s suitability for a Bike Park, or the impacts that inundation of the Reserve with increased use would have on core historical, natural and Open Space values. Instead, the focus was on what “amenities” should be built in the shrunken Dog Park. Folks attending the meeting were handed blue sticky dots to put on displays of plastic dog hoops. There was no display that said: “Keep the Dog Park and Archery Range in the Flood Control Basins at their Current Locations – Find a Different Place for a Bike Park”. In years past, dog advocates had asked the City about upgrading the Dog Park and were told emphatically No. We can’t put structures in Flood Basins. The Basins were built at taxpayer expense following fires or runoff events – a 1950s mudflow and the 1996 Foothills/Tracer Bullet Fire. Scientists say such events are likely in the future. Federal funds have also been used for habitat work and other projects in Military Reserve aimed at conservation.
Traffic in the area is already snarled following St. Luke’s City takeover of Jefferson Street. Increased human-caused fire risk is a major concern. Houses surround eastern and western areas of Military Reserve.
An All Ages Bike Park should be situated in an appropriate area surrounded by irrigated or hardened surfaces. The Council Decision must be set aside, and the City embark on a full and transparent process to determine appropriate siting for a Bike Park. Boise Parks and Rec is now saying that the City will accept suggestions for alternative Bike Park sites (who knows how sincere this is – or if its just window dressing). Address for comments: firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com . Albertson’s contact: https://www.jkaf.org/contact-us/
HERE is a link to my detailed screed.
HERE is a link to the City Resolution.
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