Thursday, April 15, 2021

Final weekend at Bogus, new R2R trail regulations in the Boise footies and sheep!

Lower Hulls Gulch will be switching to odd/even day management on April 28.
See below for details.

Hi all, 

We've got another fabulous bluebird weekend weather coming to the Boise Valley and beyond this weekend, with high temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s and no chance of rain. It'll be a great weekend to do just about anything outdoors!

For my outdoor tip of the week, I'm highlighting and recommending three things:
  • Final bonus weekend at Bogus Basin for season pass holders and anyone else who wants to go! Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Here's an online link for a lift ticket, if you don't have a season pass. Should be fab soft snow by late morning. Follow the mountain around to the north if you feel the snow is too soft on other aspects. Dress up and have fun!
  • Watch the sheep crossing on Idaho 55 at Beacon Light on Saturday morning. The sheep should be crossing at approximately 9:30 a.m. Please be respectful and stay to the side of the road during the sheep drive and take pictures.  
    • Remember to leash your dogs if you encounter sheep on the Boise Foothills trails. Also if you ride into sheep, dismount from your bike and walk through the sheep herds. 
  • Steve's take on the new 2021 pilot project/trail regulations coming later this month for R2R trails in the Boise Foothills and Around the Mountain at Bogus Basin. 

On Wednesday afternoon, I rode the Polecat Loop counter-clockwise to practice for the new regs kicking into gear on Wednesday, April 28. They will be in effect through Nov. 1. Print this out and post it on your fridge so you have a handy reference to remember how this is going to work moving forward.

The 2021 pilot management strategies are being implemented with a focus on directional and separation of use opportunities, according to the City of Boise. 

Bucktail Trail will become a downhill one-way trail on April 28.

“Use has tripled on Ridge to Rivers trails since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we are interested to see how these management strategies provide the experience in the foothills users of all kinds want to see,” said Doug Holloway, Boise Parks and Recreation director. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we test these new strategies, and we will continue to listen to users as we work to meet the needs of our growing recreation community.”

My take on the pilot project is that it's worth trying this year to see how it works with all-time record-high recreation use happening on our trails. I think it makes sense to separate use when possible, and one-way trails should lead to less conflicts. 

That said, try to be a good trail ambassador when you're out hiking, running or biking. Take the Happy Trails pledge on the R2R web site, be friendly and courteous to your fellow trail users when you're out on the trails, and just chill out a bit when you're out on the trails. Remember that we're blessed with an awesome trail system. We're all in this together. 

I will add that trail etiquette and promoting responsible, shared use of trails in the Boise Foothills have been super important since we started to see increased use in the 1990s. As the founding president of SWIMBA, our first course of action in 1992 was to support the creation of the R2R trail system, and a promote responsible, shared use of trails with new riders. I preached it in all of my Mountain Biking in Boise guidebooks. Our advice in general was to slow down and yield to hikers/walkers on the trails when you pass by. That's still my advice. 

Here are the details of the new regs, courtesy of R2R: 

  • Lower Hulls Gulch Trail #29 – On even numbered days of the month, the trail is closed to all downhill bike travel (open to hikers and equestrians to travel in both directions and open to uphill mountain bikers) for the duration of the pilot. On odd numbered days of the month, the trail is only open to downhill bike traffic (closed to all other users) for the duration of the pilot. Don't go hiking uphill on Hulls on odd days!
  • Polecat Loop Trail #81 – All trail users are required to travel one direction (counter-clockwise) throughout the duration of the pilot. The first half-mile of the trail from the Polecat Trailhead on Collister Drive will remain multi-directional to provide an out-and-back experience at Polecat Reserve.
  • Around the Mountain Trail #98 – All trail users are required to travel one direction (counter-clockwise) throughout the duration of the pilot. This trail is jointly managed by Ridge to Rivers and Bogus Basin.
  • Bucktail Trail #20A – A new pedestrian-only trail will be constructed between Central Ridge and Bucktail Trail. The existing Bucktail Trail will be modified and open to downhill mountain bike travel only. Uphill mountain bike access will be via Central Ridge Trail. 

The management strategies outlined above received support from a majority of users who participated in the Ridge to Rivers 2021 trail user surveys.

Ridge to Rivers and Bogus Basin staff will be adding new signage throughout the trail system in 2021 and the pilot program is expected to formally start on Wednesday, April 28. Trail rangers and Ridge to Rivers team members will focus on visiting the four trails included in the pilot program to educate users about changes, and to answer any questions. 

Please be mindful of and courteous to all users as these pilot management strategies are implemented. 

Buena Vista trail. Cool and scenic spot.

BTW - I did a quick bike ride in the Hillside to the Hollow area yesterday afternoon, and the whole south-facing hillside along the Buena Vista Trail was lit up with bouquets of arrowleaf balsomroot. Nice place to go hiking, running or biking with big views of the city of Boise. 

Have a great weekend!
- SS

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