City Government

Inflation Is Issue At Barber Park

Officials at Boise and Ada County are at odds over inflation at Barber Park. Not financial or taxes, but air pressure.

Several Boise Councilors have had informal meets with Ada Commishes and County Park board members regarding the plug being pulled on free compressors three years ago at Barber Park.

Boise contends tubers and rafters unwilling to use “arm strong” hand pumps to inflate their water craft are trespassing in nearby Harris Ranch subdivision and poaching power from unsuspecting resident’s electrical outlets.

Ada justified cutting the air flow as a COVID-19 precaution, citing crowding at the “pressure point.”

Back when there were gas stations selling tires, folks would pay $1 or two and get an old inner tube to float the river. At least one tube was often reserved for beer and sodas. Parking was free in the grass and brush under the cottonwood trees and folks helped each other navigate the float to Ann Morrison Park. There was no Barber Park in those days.

Then along came well-intended Ada Commishes. They developed the park and not missing the chance to expand THEIR reach, Boise Councilors annexed all around the County Park, encouraging development and increased population.

Boise coppers lobbied the legislature to obtain jurisdiction over the beer and river. Prior to the adoption of city jurisdiction, waterways–even within a city–were governed by the local county sheriff and the state.

The county has joined the cash flow created by the river current, licensing vendors for rafts, tubes, buses, and snacks, BUT no air.


Boise coppers are faced with citizen complaints of power poachers, illegal parking, and other annoyances. The Boise Fire Department saves lives almost daily using expensive jet boats and water skis.

The GUARDIAN has talked with officials of both the city and the county. The county says they have no plans to pressurize the air compressors. They say the park use is enhanced without the pressure of air. The city says free air would eliminate the parking and residential trespassing, even encourage safer water craft instead of flimsy plastic inflatables. Plenty of hot air!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Let there be air!

    I went past the park take-out last night. I could not believe the trash! The volume and it had not been cleared by 9pm. A good summer wind storm will prove the point!

    A civic organization could make a nice budget collecting cans at the take out on Friday/Saturday/ Sunday.

    Add to that, the trash people leave after concerts. Yesterday was another Botanical Garden Concert- trash left everywhere!
    Saturday at the Idaho Center was another concert- Trash just left on the ground for other people to pick up.

    Trashy people live in Boise!

  2. Seems some enterprising kid could commandeer Dad’s compressor and make a few bucks while little Sis sells lemonade. Wonder how long the HOA and the City Fathers and Mothers would let that continue?

  3. western guy
    Aug 8, 2022, 6:12 pm

    The He## with kids making $$. This is ripe pickings for a real business guy or gal!

    And the HOA’s have nothing to do with this.

    And who don’t the floaters with electric pumps just ‘borrow’ ‘lectricity from the County by plugging into an outlet on the outside of the buildings?


    EDITOR NOTE–We were told they unplug one of the concession stand freezer units to get power for compressors. Those little units. that run off cigarette lighter outlet in cars take forever to fill a raft or boat. Built for pressure, not volume.

  4. Jet boats wouldn’t be so expensive if they used some sense when purchasing and didn’t smack ’em into bridges while practicing.

  5. Down stream from Barber Park one will find a million $ White water park with Wave maker at NO COST TO USE? Are Boise city golf courses at no cost to use?

  6. western guy
    Aug 9, 2022, 5:33 pm

    Hey, Enrico49, stop hitting on the professional boat drivers at Boise Fire/rescue/rafter patrol guys. They just wanna have fun like other jet boaters.

  7. western guy
    Aug 10, 2022, 4:08 pm

    Another suggestion: have the county use COVID/economic dev $$ to install a bank of outside power ports so the rafters could use them to inflate their boats.

    Or, redirect the recreationalists to the Barber Park event center where there must (by code) be outside power jacks everywhere. Also, if you have a Leatherman tool, most light poles have a plate at the bottom where inside there is power. Free power!

    At night, the ‘unhoused’ could use the electricity to power their cell phones, portable heaters, etc. Why can’t Barber Park be a multi-use facility?

    And Boise PD shouldn’t be policing this place; it’s a COUNTY facility.

  8. LOL @ trespassing in Harris Ranch. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of folks. Harris Ranch would also be a great location for the Interfaith Sanctuary.

  9. Let’s face it the reason the county is doing this is to rent more rafts…. No air for customer…… rent a raft

  10. Chickenhawk
    Aug 14, 2022, 8:31 am

    Porcupine is correct. What started off as a “super spreader” prevention measure has become an avenue for the raft rental company to cash in big. In the end, it’s all about the $$$

  11. Huh. I would have thought with the change in the composition of the Ada County Commissioners that any concerns about COVID and distancing would have disappeared. I can’t imagine that running the compressors was anything other than a negligible expense, and it provided a true community amenity.

    That said, the whole mess of Barber Park and the “ownership” of it reminds me of the situation that existed over at Veterans Park. Seems at this point the most reasonable way to solve a lot of the problems would be either to transfer the land to the city, or work out a lease agreement similar to what the state and city did for Veterans Park. I don’t see any upside for the county to keep running it…

  12. Porcupine is right, it’s all about the dollars they are not getting. Let’s see $7 for parking, $3 pp for a bus ride, $27-$85 to rent a tube/raft. So they make it inconvenient to bring your own.

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