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Ridge to Rivers gears up for new pilot programs in the Boise foothills

Posted at 2:56 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 16:56:01-04

BOISE, Idaho — Ridge to Rivers will implement new pilot programs for four trails in the foothills to help manage overcrowding and the impacts that come with it, these pilot programs begin in April.

The trails in the foothills continue to be more popular and that was spurred last year by the pandemic as the foothills gave people a safe and close place to recreate.

4,437 users took the survey and we sifted through the data to find some of the big takeaways.

Every year people using the trails when they are muddy becomes an issue and 87 percent of the people in the survey wanted to see some type of enforceable citation enacted by Ridge to Rivers.

54 percent of people want to see leashes required for pets on the most popular trails, 36 percent were against that and ten percent had no opinion.

"We are looking at assigning someone to stay in the foothills and address some of those issues," said Doug Holloway the Boise Parks & Recreation Director. "But those were two things that really stood out."

The survey also showcased the growth of mountain biking in the foothills as 39 percent said they were bikers, 40 percent of the people that took the survey said they were hikers and 15 percent were trail runners.

“We did this survey three years ago and the mountain biking was around 20 to 30 percent," said Holloway.

In April, Ridge to Rivers will implement a pilot program at one of the most popular trails in the foothills, on odd days the trails at Lower Hulls Gulch will be for mountain bikers and on even days they will be for everybody else.

"We haven’t tried anything like that in the past that is why we are calling it a pilot," said Holloway. "We are looking at doing the pilot because of that conflict that continue to be on the minds of our users."

83 percent of the users indicated they wanted to try out a pilot program, but people were split on dividing up days at Lower Hulls Gulch so Ridge to Rivers is asking users to complete another survey that will be available the rest of March.

"We are going into a new environment now and we want to be more highly engaged with the public in that environment," said Holloway.”

Other pilot programs include making Polecat and the Around the Mountain Trail at Bogus Basin one direction.

Ridge to Rivers is also looking at ways to divide up mountain bikers and hikers at Bucktail in the Military Reserve area.

Ridge to Rivers does a daily trails report on their website and their Facebook page to help people know the conditions before they hit the trail.