Posts Tagged ‘downstream’

Results from Boise Whitewater Park Meeting


Jackson Regional Team Member Mark Cecchini reports on the results of the planning meeting last week.

New Park Logo:
Boise Whitewater Park

For those of you interested in this sort of thing, here are my observations from last night’s Boise WW Park Meeting.

Last night, the City of Boise Parks and Recreation Department along with representatives of McLaughlin Water Engineers presented the updated design for the whitewater park and the preliminary design of the planned Ester Simplot Park. First I have to say that the city appears to be doing its level best to include all of the stakeholders in the design process. The stretch of river where the park will be built has two irrigation diversions with water rights extending back to the  mid-1800′s. Thus, one major challenge for the design is to maintain these diversions while improving the safety, recreational opportunities, and riparian habitat of the river. Creating a whitewater park without altering the existing floodplain is another major design challenge.

As it stands now, the plan is to begin removing the upstream Thurman Mill diversion (the site of the 36th Street Wave) and replacing it with a new navigable and adjustable structure in the Fall of 2009. As presented last night, the design of this structure includes both a Vail-style Bladder system and a ASCI-style  “Waveshaper”. According to park designer Nick Turner, the Waveshaper will provide a year-round boatable channel while at higher flows the Bladder system will allow for a fully adjustable whitewater feature. It was unclear from the presentation what flows would be needed to spill enough water over the bladder portion of the structure to create a feature without disrupting the irrigation diversion.

Four or five conventional fixed whitewater features were also included in the plan. However, there was not much detail provided about these features, possibly due to ongoing negotiations with the downstream diversion controlled by the Farmerand’s Union Ditch Co. Other improvements to the site include: bank terracing/stabiliza tion, improved riparian habitat, raised viewing areas, and a “lazy river” connecting three ponds adjacent to the the river. Turner stated that the whitewater portion of the park is being designed for a beginner to intermediate skill set, but that the adjustability of the Thurman Mill feature will allow for a  competition- worthy spot at normal summer flows ~1,200 cfs.

During the question and answer session, community members raised a host of issues. Some boaters where concerned about how the park would handle sediment and flood debris. A concerned citizen questioned the impact that park would have on the bald eagles that can be seen on the stretch during the winter months. Others raised questions about the location of access, the cityand’s plans for educating the public about river safety, traffic congestion and safety near the entrance to the park, and plans for providing a natural park setting suitable for “unstructured play.”

All in all, the Boise WW park apears to be on track to begin the first phase of consrtuction next Fall, with the adjustable feature in place by spring 2010. The second phase of construction, which will install the downstream features, is planned to start in the Fall of 2010. However, only about $2 million of the projected $6 million total cost has been committed to date. In appreciation of the Neef family’s generous $1 million donation to the project the park will be known as Ray Neef, MD River Recreation Park. Additional funds have been contributed by the city of Boise and private donations through Friends of the Park (http://www.boiseriv default.asp). The park is an exciting development for paddlers in the Boise area and it promises to greatly improve the aesthetics, safety, and habitat on this stretch of river.