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4 new trail strategies to go into effect in the Boise Foothills later this month

The Ridge to Rivers partnership has come up with four changes to the trail system on a trial basis that starts on April 28.

BOISE, Idaho — The Ridge to Rivers partnership announced that four new changes to the trail system around Boise will go into effect later this month.

This follows feedback from thousands of hikers, bikers and runners who use the trails. More than 4,400 people responded to a survey asking how to make the trails better and reduce overuse and conflicts. 

Based on the survey responses, Ridge to Rivers plans to test several new management strategies on trails in the Boise Foothills. The pilot program will start on April 28 and run through Nov. 1, 2021.

Here are the 4 trails where those strategies will be implemented:

  • Lower Hulls Gulch Trail #29 – On even numbered days of the month, the trail is closed to all downhill bike travel (open to hikers and equestrians to travel in both directions and open to uphill mountain bikers) for the duration of the pilot. On odd numbered days of the month, the trail is only open to downhill bike traffic (closed to all other users) for the duration of the pilot.
  • Polecat Loop Trail #81 – All trail users are required to travel one direction (counter-clockwise) throughout the duration of the pilot. The first half-mile of the trail from the Polecat Trailhead on Collister Drive will remain multi-directional to provide an out-and-back experience at Polecat Reserve.
  • Around the Mountain Trail #98 – All trail users are required to travel one direction (counter-clockwise) throughout the duration of the pilot. This trail is jointly managed by Ridge to Rivers and Bogus Basin.
  • Bucktail Trail #20A – A new pedestrian-only trail will be constructed between Central Ridge and Bucktail Trail. The existing Bucktail Trail will be modified and open to downhill mountain bike travel only. Uphill mountain bike access will be via Central Ridge Trail. 

Officials say the new management strategies received support from a majority of users who participated in the Ridge to Rivers 2021 trail user surveys.

“Use has tripled on Ridge to Rivers trails since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we are interested to see how these management strategies provide the experience in the foothills users of all kinds want to see,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we test these new strategies, and we will continue to listen to users as we work to meet the needs of our growing recreation community.”

New signage will be added to the trail system before the program gets underway. Trail rangers and Ridge to Rivers team members will be visiting the four trails included in the pilot program to educate users about changes, and to answer any questions. 

Trail managers plan to use information collected during the pilot program and a subsequent user survey to determine if these strategies will be made permanent on any existing or future trails. 

The City of Boise leads the Ridge to Rivers partnership that also includes Ada County, the Bureau of Land Management Four Rivers Field Office, the Boise National Forest and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Trails throughout the Boise Foothills often cross land managed by a combination of these agencies.