Thursday, October 27, 2016

New Esther Simplot Park adds yet another precious pearl in Boise's Ribbon of Jewels

Inlet from Quinn's Pond connects to Esther Simplot Park 

New Pathway next to Esther Simplot Pond I 
Greenbelt through the park was open today (Thursday). Park does not
officially open until next Wednesday. Entrance roads won't open till next week. 
Primitive trails next to Esther Simplot Pond II will remain primitive. Cool! 

Greenbelt split by Veterans Pond ... this has been closed for 1.5 years
Greenbelt spur next to Quinn's Pond and Esther Simplot Park
Greenbelt comes over to the park from the 36th Street pedestrian bridge 
Hi all,

I live in Northwest Boise, so the new Esther Simplot Park is located close to home. I used to walk my dog around the old gravel pit ponds that have been enhanced with grassy mounds, picnic shelters, pathways and waterways, and I must say, I am IMPRESSED!

The Grand Opening for Esther Simplot Park, 614 N. Whitewater Blvd., in Boise, will occur at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2nd. Hope to see you there!

The 55-acre park, generously funded by the Simplot Foundation, officially opens on Wednesday. They had the Greenbelt open through the park today, so you can get a sneak peak if you happen to be walking or biking in the 'hood.

For dog owners, one immediate reason to visit the park is that they will have an off-leash policy in effect from Nov. 2 through March 31 to keep the geese at bay. Make sure your dog has a city dog license. Pets still have to be leashed in the parking area. Make sure you pick up after your pet.

New pathways - There must be several miles of paths that wind through the park, including the more primitive paths that circumnavigate the pond farthest to the west, so it will be a popular place for walkers, runners and bicyclists. Plus, the pathways connect to the Greenbelt and nature trail in Veteran's Park, so really, it'll be possible to do 5-mile loops in that area no problem.

Park features map courtesy Boise Parks & Recreation (click to enlarge)
Great paddling - It's also going to be way cool to paddle around the different ponds that are all in close proximity to the park or in the park, starting with Quinn's pond, and then Esther Simplot Pond 1, and Esther Simplot Pond II, and Veteran's Pond. Hope we can link them all up someday. Not the greatest weather for paddling right now, but you can bet some hard-cores will be out there next week on SUPs, kayaks or canoes.

Esther Simplot Park is located along Whitewater Park Boulevard between State Street and Main Street in Boise. There is a fair amount of parking inside the park, but it'll be best to walk there or bike there if possible. It's immediately accessible from the Boise River Greenbelt by the 36th Street pedestrian bridge.

It's also next door to our friends at Idaho River Sports, where folks can rent or buy SUPs, kayaks or canoes, and accessories. They've waited for this day to come for a long time. Heck, we've all waited for this day to come ... construction began in February 2015.

Many thanks to the Simplot Family and Boise Parks & Recreation for creating a beautiful park. Esther Simplot Park is yet another pearl in the Ribbon of Jewels, Boise's wonderful series of parks that border the Greenbelt as it winds through the city.
- SS

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Try camping in an Idaho fire lookout tower - "Sanctuaries at the edge of the Sky"

Full moon, a warm place to sleep and a nice campfire ... how can you go wrong? 
Hi all,

I wrote a story that was published today by VisitIdaho about camping at an Idaho fire lookout. Two friends and I backpacked into Arid Peak Lookout in the St. Joe River Country, near Avery, Idaho, in September. We had a great time!

I was inspired to write this story by a great program on Outdoor Idaho about Idaho fire lookouts that have been restored by volunteers and made available for public rental.

If you'd like to rent a fire lookout, go to and look for an Idaho lookout of your choice. There are about 10-12 of them available to rent statewide. Act early because they book up all summer long!

Have fun!
- SS