Saturday, February 28, 2009

military reserve

nice walk in military reserve this morning. feet still tender, don't know if i will be able to do robie..... but it's good to get out and walk. it was sunny and gorgeous. things look pretty dry at this point. we started by the dog park, walked up the old road & walked around on eagle's roost & the loop.

as with other trails we've been on, there is extensive damage from wet trail use. again, all user groups share the blame.

it's pretty clear here how the trail is getting widened- probably by folks avoiding ice or mud-
other than that a beautiful day-

and then we loaded up in the lot by the dog park just in time, as a guy in a white sedan pulled up, opened the door to let his 2 yellow labs rocket out and leisurely followed behind.....

on leash in the parking lot. not!

have a great day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Muddy Trails Help


As some of you may already know, the foothills trail system has suffered extensive damage due to extensive use of muddy trails. Right now we are looking to spread awareness about just how detrimental the use of muddy trails is to trail system. I'm looking for volunteers to be at trail heads this Sunday from 10:30am to 1:00pm and talk to users about staying off muddy trails. The time could be done if shifts if you are only able to be there for part of it. Again, this would be to educate users and hopefully curb some of the damage that has already occurred to the trails this season. Please email me and let me know if you would be interested in helping. Or if you know people that would be interested in volunteering please forward this email to them. Thanks so much.

Rich Gardunia
Head Trail Ranger

Sunday, February 22, 2009

headed out

i'm gone all of next week. hopefully someone will send me a note, photos, something to put on the blog- or tracy or paula or margie will make a guest appearance. if not, be back in a week or so.

have a good week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

oh what a beautiful morning!

headed up 8th street this morning. the road is now closed at the lower gate.
probably because it looks like this
one thing that came out of the all user group meeting a few weeks ago was that, even if dog owners are planning on picking up bags, some people just hate seeing them by the side of the trail.
probably the best plan is for us all to help each other out and pick up and carry out whatever bags we spy at trailside. another thing that works for me is to carry a big ziplock- then i can double bag and it doesn't smell too bad. of course, the dog packs are good too..... (again double bagged)

we went down trail 1- haven't been there for a while. parts of the trails are sandy and in ok shape (other than the widening- must have been ice in the trail at some point)
but then there's a stretch that looks like this-

or this-

things were frozen when we were up this morning, and most of the trail is pretty dry, but there were some spots that had the potential to get goopy.

the trail has seen some traffic, and there were a fair amount of people out this morning- 3 other walkers with dogs (one on the trail, 2 on the road); 2 groups of runners. didn't run into any bikes, which is unusual for me on this trail.

it was a beautiful morning-

the dogs had a great romp, and managed to sample some trail goodies. let's hope halle doesn't end up with giardia (or whatever it was!) again!
have a great weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Opportunity to Participate in County Trails Decisions

Volunteers Needed for Ada County Parks, Open Space and Trails Advisory Board

The Board of Ada County Commissioners is currently seeking seven (7) individuals interested in volunteering their time to the Parks, Open Space and Trails Advisory Board. This newly formed board of volunteers will serve in an advisory capacity to offer recommendations to the Board of Commissioners in areas related to county parks and recreation opportunities, public recreation trails and open space identification and preservation.

Qualified volunteers must be residents of Ada County and have a passion for recreation facilities management, public trails development and open space preservation. Board members should also have good working knowledge of Ada County’s Comprehensive Plan and understand how its guiding principles impact current and future parks and trails operations and open space preservation throughout Ada County.

Interested residents need to complete a volunteer board application found at the Board of Ada County Commissioners' Office. The Commissioners’ Office is located on the third floor of the Ada County Courthouse at 200 W. Front Street, Boise, 83702. The volunteer board application is also posted to the Ada County Commissioner’s website at After clicking on the Commissioners’ section, click on the “Volunteer Boards & Committees” link.

Completed applications may be hand delivered, mailed, emailed, or faxed to the Commissioners’ Office. Applications may be faxed to: 208-287-7009. Emailed applications should be sent to: Applicants with additional questions may call Recreation and Event Services Department Director Bob Batista at: 208-287-5650 for more information.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

feb 18

beautiful morning. birds singing, pretty warm, not many people out. the trails (red fox & chickadee, my usual weekday loop) were pretty dry and red fox is in pretty good shape- other than the widening. it is amazing how the sandy trail do get back to smooth when things melt & dry up.

chickadee, however- not so good. widening out.used to be more single track/single file. i wish i had markers for how this looked at the beginning of winter. i need to mark some spots to take photos from so that i can see the changes.

as you can see- from all users- feet, paws, bikes.

here's the beauty part-

2 with dogs, one bike/no dog and 5 runners w/o dogs.
happy wednesday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Annual Poop Count

From Julia-


Rich Gardunia and I were out today at Lower Hulls, Corrals and Table Rock today doing the annual flagging of dog poop piles.

These are how the numbers compare to the same week last year. We plan on keeping all the flags up for a week or so---part of the educating the user.

Lower Hulls 2009 49 piles 2008 141 piles
(The largest concentration of waste we found was on the hillside facing the terminus of Red Fox)

Corrals 2009 142 piles 2008 115 piles
(also a note on Corrals, we heard from a user that a 6th grade boy cleaned up dog waste alongside the trail on Thursday 2/12 as part of school project - this confirms why most of the waste we found there was over a foot from the edge of the trail).

Table Rock 2009 66 piles 2008 82 piles
(A bunch of users were out on this trail today and said they knew the waste issue was bad but wouldn't have guessed as bad as the flags show)

I've included a few photos as well. Also had a email report of an incident at the Lower Hulls Gulch/FLC trailhead yesterday that involved a runner who was tripped up by an off-leash dog coming from behind as she ran through the area from Kestrel heading west to Red Fox. Sent her too the ground with a scraped knee and a torqued shoulder. Owner apologized.

this is an improvement, but we still have a ways to go.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

corrals sat feb 14

beautiful walk on corrals this morning. this mountain biker is the only other person we encountered.
we did see plenty of tracks- the bird tracks were funny- in the trail, back & forth.
these tracks, not so amusing. we were up at 8:30, things still frozen. this is the trail all the way back by the second gate.
and the scenic shots-

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

snowy morning

happy me, happy dogs, beautiful snowy morning

5 folks with dogs this morning when i was out. most following the rules, except the guy with the golden on the trails above camel's back. either people don't know that's an on leash area or they figure they won't get caught, because i see a lot of off leash activity up there, and the trails are on leash.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


i came out of the work session feeling bad that this is taking up so much of everyone's time. but then i don't have any control over the fact that the leadership of the fcac won't hold a discussion with us.

basically, the fcac laid out the process to date. council members clegg & eberle expressed the opinion that a decision reached through consensus with the engagement of the user group had a better chance of succeeding, and that every use impacts the resource, maybe it should be addressed globally.

Council member Shealy said he has his mind made up on the issue and the public would find it difficult to change it. he appears to be of the opinion that stricter rules should be enforced immediately. Councilman Tibbs also seemed to be leaning that direction.

Chairman McDevitt cited degradation, and mentioned that the charter of the committe is conservation. Shirley Randolph brought up dogs running through the FLC grounds. Note to anyone who brings this up- there are no dogs allowed in that area, so any owners who are letting their dogs run through are in violation of the rules. ticket them. if there are no owners in sight impound the dogs.

the committee was asked to come up with a recommendation, and a facilitator was offered to help that happen. fcac member baskin basically said that he is tired of the whole thing and would just as soon let council decide.

here's the part i don't get. i know that we don't speak for every dog owner, but most of the dog owners we have spoken with are ok with staff recommendations, other than wanting to see a loop in lower hull's gulch. we said as much in our letter.

we would like to establish baseline behavior & better understand the science so that we can get buy in from dog owners to follow the rules. we suggested an annual review, which is more often than staff or the working group suggested.

we are not that far off. i do not understand why we can't work together on this. but that's not the path fcac leadership has chosen.

will keep you posted-


beautiful morning. it was great to be out again! dogs had a nice romp and i was so so happy to be 1) able to walk and 2) in the foothills again.

things were still frozen when we were out. this is how the trails around the pond look. there was a r2r employee out with sand when we were on our way out.

most of red fox is pretty dry, and looks pretty good. the soil is sandy enough that when it thaws and drys out it doesn't hold ruts. it is showing signs of widening, though, where people went off trail to avoid ice or muck.

chickadee is not in such good shape. again, frozen when we were on it this morning. the soil here is not as sandy and will hold these impressions for a long time, making it jarring to run and bike on.
in this photo, you can see tracks and trail widening.

this is the area coming up from the ponds. this soil may be sandy enough to smooth out, i don't know. what i do know is that anyone leaving divots like this should be able to figure out that maybe it's not a good day to be on the trail. if there is mud sticking to your foot, bike, dog's paws it's a good idea to find another place to recreate.

2 runners/groups of without dogs; 4 of us with dogs- one with an off leash dog in an on leash area, others good.

we had the first user group meeting last night and the thing we all agreed on is that our biggest issues come from rude people in any user group who do not understand that their trail experience isn't more important than anyone else's. more on that later.

fcac before council at 4:50 this afternoon in work session. more on that later too-

have a great day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

what's important

there has been a lot of coverage about the budget shortfall facing the city. i know that the city has many bigger things to deal with than the situation in the foothills with dogs and trails.

in light of budget cuts the best way i can think of to preserve the resource is to work with user groups. with limited or no enforcement we are dependent on peer pressure and education.

i am tired of last minute "information" being presented that doesn't add anything of substance to the discussion.

we have never endorsed a free for all. we have never said that there is no problem. all we have done is ask for information to make informed decisions.

just as people at the city are tired of all of the time this is taking up, many of us have other things we could be doing with our time too. if we would work together on a solution it be much more efficient and probably lead to a better end result.

Friday, February 6, 2009

notes from the trails...


from sue-

....thank Ridge to Rivers for FINALLY laying down sand in the mud bug areas around the ponds, and on the trail between C-back and the lower 8th st. parking lot. Huge improvement and will hopefully STOP the widening of those sections of trails. I saw it this morning and thought “what took them so long!”. Now, if they would just do that on the Central Ridge trail (from the Policeman’s shooting range entrance to the top of the ridge) in Military, that would be sweet too.

Trails were frozen this am. At 7:20 when I ran. Saw one person with a puppy at the ponds, on leash. Severe mtn. bike ruts and footprints on trails around ponds. WTF?

from ginger-

Military Reserve should really be avoided unless you are out early enough to be on frozen part which is right now only the flat trail running along the road. Even the "road" behind the policeman's clubhouse is a freaking muddy mess. POOP GALORE on this trail--seriously, very disgusting!
(we stay off the muddy trails because it's the right thing to do but there are still boneheads who are out there being irresponsible. we will have a poop scoop in the spring when things dry up).

from forrest:
....... when it is wet, Crestline and Sidewinder have been frozen in the morning, but even on a cold day you want to be off the hill by 11:00 AM. The sun melts it.

from mk:
........ corrals is getting rutted up from the lower parking lot to the top. started softening up at 11 am last weekend, just when people started coming up to use the trail.

for more info on trail conditions, visit swimba's trail conditions page

the scoop

i haven't been out between it being wet & my fascitis acting up again (yes, i have been stretching and wearing my orthotics and good shoes. sigh).

the work session with city council is an information meeting. council is meeting with all of its committees to review charters, etc.

as i understand this, the meeting is not about the off leash dog issue. it is about the role of the committees within city government.

the FCAC is supposed to be up around 4:30. no public testimony, htough it may be interesteing to attend. the final agenda will be posted this afternoon on the city's website.

if anyone has any trail updates or photos, please send them my way!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

more bad owners

here's another email to ridge to rivers regarding the dog owners who give us all a bad name. again, this is occurring in an area where the dogs should be leashed. we have suggested that the ihs officers be used for relief. (note: the aim in posting these is to share some of the issues that parks and rec hears about regarding dogs that we may not be aware of. we requested documentation, we're getting it and passing it along)

Julia, thank you for hearing my cry. The dogs and their owners have always been and are still abusing private property in my area.

It does no good trying to hold the dog and call the city, I have had leashes pulled out of my hand with a comment “ your not ticketing me”. The dog has a leash but know one is holding it. They put a leash on with no intention of holding it. When the owner gets to me on my land after the dog has chased all the deer & other animals across ....... (the)street & eaten all my cats food in his dish says “He just slipped out of my hand”. I have heard this same line more than I can count. When I confront them about it the owner says I am being inappropriate while standing on my land with their dog still running wild in a leash area.

I have had owners and their dogs park in my driveway walk across my yard with no leash on the dog. As the dog shits in my yard I ask the owner if they have permision to cross my property they say the trail is muddy and they don’t want to get dirty as they continue on their way. I told this person it is a leash area and the easement is where the trail is the dog owner called me an asshole.

There is a brown german shepherd I have been dealing with for four years. He comes from camel back way does his duty in my yard chases the wild game around and than heads out. I have never seen the owner. Once I went after the dog and it turned an tried to attack me. I do not know what to do about this dog.

Many city parks say no dogs allowed. Camp grounds require leashes on all dogs. My taxes are $ 8500 a year . I would not want to be the person responsible for protecting these dogs and their owners for I believe what comes around goes around and to God goes the revenge.