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Floaters flock to Barber Park for start of 2022 Boise River float season

Ada County Parks and Waterways offers raft rentals and a shuttle service throughout the official raft season.

BOISE, Idaho — Ada County Parks and Waterways (ACPW) officially opened the 2022 Boise River float season Monday, June 27th as water levels and tree debris have dropped to safe levels, according to ACPW Program and Education Specialist Robbie Sosin.

Traditionally, floaters start upstream at Barber Park and float 6 miles down the Boise River to Ann Morrison Park.

The start to float season also means the Barber Park fee parking kiosk, equipment rentals, shuttle service, and snack shack will all be up and running.

This comes as good news for longtime Boise River floater Tyler Walters. On a 100-degree day, there's no where he would rather be than sailing his 15-foot inflatable pink flamingo 6 miles downstream from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.

"Deloris [the flamingo] is often patched, never sunken. So we went home and found where the tree's got her. Usually the neck, it's a little high up there," Walters said. "[There's some] predator trees on the Boise River."

Floating on the flamingo is a family tradition for Walters and his family. They've been at it for 5 years and counting. But they also understand inflatable flamingos are not the only ones at risk on the river.

While the water levels are considered safe by ACPW, the water is still fast. Anywhere between 700 cubic feet-per-second (CFS) and 1,500 CFS is considered desirable, and safe, through float season. On opening day, the Boise River is flowing at around 1,400 CFS, according to Sosin.

With these water levels, floaters are finishing the float in about 2.5 hours.

"There's no lifeguards or anything. You need to protect yourself the best you can," Sosin said.

Alcohol is prohibited on the river according to Boise City Code; this is enforced by the Boise Police Department. ACPW recommends all floaters bring life jackets, water, sunscreen, and remain aware of their surroundings throughout the float.

"If you're gonna bring something [like a large raft] or even smaller things, a paddle can help you a lot," Walters said.

Barber Park does not have air pumps on-site. Floaters are welcome to bring their own gear, but they also must bring their own air compressor or pump to inflate their rafts and tubes.

ACPW is encouraging floaters to park at Ann Morrison Park and take a shuttle service up to Barber Park. Much of the parking around Barber Park is now zoned for residential use, parking in those neighborhoods could result in a parking ticket or getting towed.

The shuttle costs 3 dollars. Floaters can also choose to park at Barber Park for a 7-dollar fee.

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