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Table Rock parking area to close for the rest of the year

The Idaho State Historical Society cited ongoing safety issues, vandalism and other concerns at the historical site.
Credit: Jay Tust/KTVB
File image of Table Rock as seen from below the iconic landmark.

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Historical Society announced Friday that it is closing the parking area atop Table Rock Mesa for the remainder of the 2020 season.

Officials say there has been ongoing safety issues, vandalism, illegal parking, trespassing and others concerns at the site such as drug use, setting fires, violence and littering.

ISHS manages the historic site. Their board of trustees approved the closure at its June 9 meeting.

The parking area, Table Rock Mesa and the hiking trail that begins near the Old Idaho Penitentiary are managed by ISHS under an agreement with the Idaho Department of Lands.

There have large and sometimes disruptive social gatherings at or near Table Rock Mesa in the last several months, said Janet Gallimore, executive director of ISHS. She said ISHS has a duty to protect public safety and preserve the cultural and historic landmark.

"This was not an easy decision because we understand how important Table Rock is to all of us who live here in the Treasure Valley," said Gallimore. "At the same time, it is our responsibility as caretakers to take appropriate steps to protect public safety and preserve the natural beauty and historical and cultural significance of the site."

The closure extends through October, when the parking area is closed for winter. The parking area has been closed since May due to public health restrictions during COVID-19.

Table Rock Mesa remains accessible to the public from sunrise to sunset daily via designated walking trails starting near the Old Idaho Pen and other trails within the Ridge to Rivers system.

"In light of the continuing criminal and traffic issues at Table Rock, we support the closure of the upper parking for public safety while we work toward finding a long-term solution for this important Boise landmark," said Boise Police Captain Paul Burch.

The board is forming an advisory committee to study and recommend long-term solutions to protect and enhance Table Rock Mesa while accommodating different forms of public access.

The public is invited to share its thoughts on future planning for Table Rock Mesa by participating in an online survey

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