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Ada County adds 250 acres of open space in the Foothills for hiking, mountain biking

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Posted at 1:18 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 15:18:30-05

This article was written by Nicole Blanchard of the Idaho Statesman.

The Ada County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to dedicate nearly 250 acres of county property near the Hidden Springs neighborhood as open space for recreation.

According to the board’s resolution, the 246 acres of land is known as the Red Hawk property and was acquired by the county in 2012 in a foreclosure sale. It contains eight parcels, six of which were dedicated as open space and conservation land.

The area will be open to “passive recreation,” including hiking, trail running, mountain biking and horseback riding. Currently, there is one trail in the area: Landslide Loop. Motorized vehicles are not permitted, and dogs are required to be kept on a leash to protect the native plant and animal species inhabiting the area.

Ada County Parks and Waterways director Scott Koberg told the Statesman in an email that the trail was completed in May 2019 and is maintained as part of the Ridge to Rivers system. It’s currently closed until April to protect wintering wildlife.

The area’s role as wintering habitat for deer and elk was part of the reason the county chose to dedicate it as open space, officials said during the Tuesday meeting. It’s the second open space area the commission has dedicated in just over a month — in December, the commission named 35 acres at Barber Pool a conservation site, as well.

“Barber Pool kind of represented one of the more unique and amazing properties that the county-owned adjacent to the Boise River, more of a riparian area,” Koberg said during the meeting, “whereas this, the Redhawk piece … (is) tremendous lower Foothills sagebrush steppe habitat area.”

The area is just north of Hidden Springs and slightly southeast of the Avimor planned community.

“I’m sure developers would love to get their hands on (this property), but it has a higher and better use, I think, in this situation,” Commissioner Patrick Malloy said during the meeting.