Table Rock mesa parking lot will be closed the rest of the year

Posted at 12:12 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-28 21:07:48-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Historical Society manages the Table Rock area from the upper mesa parking lot to the trails down to the Old Pen.

The ISHS does this through an agreement with the Idaho Department of Lands.

The Idaho State Historical Society has decided to close the upper mesa parking lot that allows around 30 cars to park close to the top of one of Boise's most iconic views.

The Table Rock area will still be open to hiking, and people can park on the side of the paved Table Rock Road, however, once that road makes a right-hand turn and changes to dirt, there is no parking.

"What we've observed in the last 12 weeks is we've seen upwards of 250 cars per night, which causes a public safety concern," said Janet Gallimore, the executive director of the Idaho Historical Society.

The overcrowding of Table Rock has led to trespassing issues on private land, increased difficulty for police and fire to respond to emergencies and several other problems.

"Vandalism, drug use, violence, discharge of firearms, stolen vehicles, fighting, fire setting and all of those things damage the Boise foothills and puts lives, private and public property at risk," said Gallimore. "These public safety concerns have directly led to to the mesa parking area closure."

Most of the hikers we talked to told us they don't look at earning your way to the top of Table Rock as a bad thing.

But the closure does limit access for people with mobility issues, and one hiker we talked to was disappointed in how people have abused this popular landmark.

"Ah, it is just a shame that a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch and made it less accessible for everyone else," said Corey Gray. "My grandma is a bit too old and frail to hike up the trail, but I told her you could drive up there, but now that's not an option anymore."

The mesa parking area will be closed for the rest of 2020. The parking lot usually is open from May until October and was initially closed earlier this summer because of the coronavirus.

The Idaho State Historical Society is working on a long-term plan, and they say that it also includes making Table Rock accessible for people with mobility issues.

"We really are excited about bringing the community together and creating enhancements and improvements that will benefit all Idahoans," said Gallimore.

A Table Rock advisory committee is being formed, and they will meet in September to try and come up with some of those solutions, they are also asking for public input.

Here's a link to a survey where people can weigh in on the future of Table Rock.