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City to preserve 80-acres of Boise foothills land in the Barber Valley

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Posted at 10:21 AM, May 17, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — At last night's State of the City address, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean announced plans for the city to purchase 80 acres of foothills land in the Barber Valley.

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The purchase is set to utilize $365,000 of Clean Water and Open Space Levy funds if approved at the upcoming May 21 Boise City Council meeting. The preservation aims to lead to additional recreational opportunities within the Ridge to Rivers system.

“This purchase allows for the realization of our vision to bike or hike into the Boise Foothills at the mouth of the Barber Valley, with options to connect from one reserve or trail to another, finishing at Boise’s edge near Highway 55,” said Mayor McLean. “How incredible that this land that once provided apples, cattle, and other goods to the community will now further interconnectedness and community access across the entire Boise Front.”

The land is adjacent to the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and opens up possibilities for tail connections with the nearby Mesa Reserve and other reserves managed by Ridge to Rivers. Designs and trail proposals will be developed in the coming months.

“We are grateful to Susan Miller and Charlotte Biyas, the granddaughter and great-grandniece of the original owner, Alvin William Seelye, for their willingness to work with the City of Boise to preserve this unique piece of open space for generations to come,” added Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “This announcement is the result of hard work, trust, and relationship building with the family, and we’re grateful to our Ridge to Rivers team for being such good stewards of these important community treasures.”

The levy funds are sourced from a $10 million levy from 2015. As of May 2024, the levy funding has helped to preserve over 12,500 acres of land in the Boise Foothills, supported trail and pathway additions, and aided in community-led science projects in the area. More information on the city's Clean Water and Open Space Levy is available here.