Ridge to Rivers adopts strategies from pilot trail program

Boise Foothills
Posted at 10:23 AM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 12:23:45-05

BOISE, Idaho — Ridge to Rivers announced Wednesday it is adopting management strategies from the pilot trail program held this year.

The goal of the trail program was to introduce new strategies on four Ridge to River trails that address increased use, improve safety, reduce user conflict and improve overall trail experience. A news release says feedback from user surveys over the seven-month program shows overall support for the program.

Below are the directional and separation of use strategies that will remain in place on the following trails:

  • Lower Hulls Gulch Trail #29 Odd/Even Separation of Use – On odd-numbered days of the month, the trail is open to downhill bike traffic (trail closed to all other users). On even-numbered days of the month, the trail is open to hikers and equestrians traveling in both directions and open to uphill mountain bike traffic (trail closed to downhill bike traffic). 
  • Polecat Loop Trail #81 Directional – All trail users are required to travel in the same direction. Once new signage is installed, users will travel clockwise through 2022. This change to the direction of travel is being implemented based on user feedback. Should feedback continue to indicate user support, the direction of Polecat Loop will change annually. Please note, the first half-mile of the trail from the Polecat Trailhead on Collister Drive is multi-directional to provide an out-and-back experience at Polecat Reserve. In addition, the short section of Polecat Loop from Cartwright Trailhead to the lower Doe Ridge Trail junction will also be multi-directional to allow for shorter loops on the north side of the reserve. This change is being implemented based on feedback received during the pilot.
  • Around the Mountain Trail #98 Directional – All users are required to travel counter-clockwise. This trail is jointly managed by Ridge to Rivers and Bogus Basin.  
  • Bucktail Trail #20A Separation of Use – Bucktail Trail is open to downhill mountain bike traffic only. Uphill mountain bike access is via Central Ridge Trail. A new pedestrian-only trail named Two Point Trail has been constructed between Central Ridge and Bucktail Trail for hikers and equestrians.

Boise City Council members affirmed the recommendation to implement the management strategies on November 9. You can watch a recording of the presentation below; it starts at the 28-minute mark.

Ridge to Rivers team members will be updating signs throughout the trail system. In addition, the interactive map on the Ridge to Rivers website will also be updated to show the trail management strategies.

User feedback has been incorporated into several new sign designs to increase education and understanding of the changes. Ridge to Rivers asks people to be mindful of all trail signage and be courteous to fellow users when in the foothills.

"We appreciate the involvement and cooperation of our users as we tested some new things in the Boise Foothills this year," said Foothills and Open Space Superintendent Sara Arkle. "The Ridge to Rivers Trail System is more popular than ever and as use grows, we are committed to thoughtful management of this incredible amenity, including finding ways to maintain everyone's desired experience."

There are currently no plans to test additional management strategies at other trail locations in 2022. Ridge to Rivers plans to survey users annually to evaluate special trail management approaches and listen to user feedback.