Trails around Table Rock reopen after fire

Posted at 9:34 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 10:36:04-04
Hiking and biking trails in the table rock area have reopened less than a week after a massive wildfire scorched the ground. 
Although blackened and charred, the trails to the top of Table Rock are now walkable again. They were burned during the firework-caused Table Rock Fire, which covered 2,500 acres and destroyed one home. 
"It's unfortunate, this time of year, when we get those fireworks, and we get this dry weather. Just something that's an unfortunate reality," said one hiker. 
Park officials say the fire also burned over 98% of the trails near Table Rock. Fire operations have ceased in the area, and now the trails are safe for recreation. 
"Table Rock is one of our most popular trailheads, which is why Boise Parks and Recreation and its partners felt like it would be important to open that back up, and to encourage people to responsibly use the trails," said Sara Arkle of Boise Parks and Recreation.
The homestead trail in the Boise River wildlife management area remains closed until further notice. Vehicle access to the top of Table Rock is also currently not allowed, but you can still tackle the trails from many other spots.
"I'm gonna go up a little bit and just try out the ones right above the penitentiary. We're not going to get into it too much," explained one hiker.
Park officials say they are working to rehabilitate the area. Fence posts have been damaged, and the trails have been widened during fire suppression efforts. Combine that with the burn scar, and officials say there is a lot of work to be done. 
"The challenges now are how to restore that habitat. All the agencies that were impacted by the fire are just now trying to figure that out," Arkle said.
Officials are asking the public, if they go hiking in the area, to stay on the trails. Hikers could be carrying invasive species, and the root system also needs time to heal. 
"Those soils need to rest and rehabilitate. Those grasses -- their roots may have lived -- need to be given a chance to grow again," Arkle explained. 
As trail rehabilitation efforts progress, temporary trail closures may occur to preserve public safety.