Ridge to Rivers to enact pilot trail restrictions at Table Rock
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
The advent of wet weather has prompted Ridge to Rivers to restrict trail access in the Table Rock area under a pilot program beginning this winter. “One thing we heard clearly from people during last year’s Ridge to Rivers 10-year Management Plan process was overwhelming support for restricting trail access when conditions are muddy and trails are most susceptible to damage,” says Program Manager David Gordon. “The Table Rock area has the worst soils and is where we have historically seen the most abuse during winter months, so this is a logical place to try this.”
Gates have been installed at the three primary entrances into the Table Rock trails, and signs will be changed daily to indicate whether the trails are open, closed, or open only during morning hours when the trails are frozen. This information will also be available on the Ridge to Rivers website as well as the Boise Foothills Trail Conditions Facebook page, both of which are updated each morning throughout the winter months. Trails that will be managed under this pilot program include Table Rock #15, Old Pen #15A, Table Rock Loop #16, Tram #14, Table Rock Quarry #17, Rock Garden #16A, Rock Island #16B, and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Loop #19.
“When trails are dry or frozen, they are great for winter travel. However, when they’re muddy, use leads to deep rutting by feet, hooves and tires, failure of drainage structures installed to curtail erosion, and the loss of trailside vegetation as users walk ever further off-trail to avoid the mud,” says Gordon. “These conditions are further compounded this winter by the loss of stabilizing vegetation in the Table Rock area following last summer's wildfire.”
By restricting access to these trails when they are muddiest, Ridge to Rivers hopes to preserve the long-term integrity of the trail system. “There are lots of trails that have sandier soils and are much better to use during wet conditions. We need to cultivate a culture of responsible trail use in Boise, and have our users help us preserve the trail system for the long-term by staying off of trails when they are muddy and can be damaged,” says Gordon. A list of sandier trails can be found on the Ridge to Rivers website – /etiquette/muddy-trails/.
Ridge to Rivers is a collaborative effort of local, state and federal partners that work together to maintain trails and open space in the Boise Foothills. The City of Boise is the lead coordinating agency, managing funds and staff supported by the Bureau of Land Management, Boise National Forest, and Ada County. The Ridge to Rivers partnership, through the work of Boise City Parks and Recreation staff, currently maintains 192 miles of trails in the Boise Foothills.
David Gordon, City of Boise, Ridge to Rivers Program Manager, (208) 493-2531