Tuesday, March 31, 2009

wildlife morning

first thing we saw going into the park was 3 deer on the hill above camel's back-

they came down the hill, crossed the trail & disappeared into back yards at the end of 9th st. i was glad to have the dogs leashed. tho they have never shown any indication of chasing wildlife you never know and besides the obvious stress to the deer there's the added stress of doing the fishwife yell to get dogs back..... tho these 2 do have good recall, and the e collars help.

then we saw a kingfisher in this tree overlooking the pond. i always think these birds are so cool- don't know why, exactly, but it's a kick to see them.

otherwise, a gray day.... 3 w/dogs, one grp without. both other dogs owners leashed theirs when they saw me leash up halle & echo. it was really nice!
i've added a few videos- one of the redwing blackbirds singing away in the cattails off of red fox. note to fcac member tom baskin- i love hearing and seeing the birds here. i don't let my dogs go into the wetlands and disturb them, nor do most dog owners i see on the trail. maybe some signage explaining the importance of the area to wildlife would educate and address your concerns.
and the dogs enjoying a trot down the trail.....

have a great day!

Monday, March 30, 2009

what's next

i have been on the trails, i just haven't posted due to being taken somewhat aback at the fcac recs to council.

we have had some lovely walks, met plenty of well behaved dogs & owners and talked with other dog owners over the past week or so.

first- today's pics:

on the subject of the recs:
  • I realized why I was so surprised at the Council Work Session. I thought we were 95% of the way there with the motion passed in December, but the Chairman went in loaded for bear and told Council that the committee couldn't reach agreement. What part of a passed motion is not reaching agreement?
  • I would also like to note that the December recommendations reduce by half or slightly more than half current off leash trail access in the Lower Reserves and we weren't arguing with that.
  • Why is the FCAC wasting City Council's time with this? We had a passed motion. We had one small thing to iron out (a loop or other answer to increase the off leash opportunities in Lower Hulls), and have been talking with some FCAC members & with David Gordon about a possible fix. Now we have a recommendation that is not acceptable to dog owners and we cannot trust the actions of the committee.
  • In my opinion, this is the latest example of the FCAC paying lip service to taking public input then doing what suits leadership. We need a defined public process.
  • This proposal from the FCAC does nothing to address benchmarking current status of plants or wildlife, it does not address revisiting the plan in a specified period of time, it says nothing about defining public process or working with the user group. The proposal creates more rules that cannot be enforced and alienates responsible dog owners who have tried to work within the system.

I would like to point out that City Council has the final say. As soon as I know how that will proceed, I'll pass it on. I believe that they are reasonable and will question how a motion can be passed and then completely disregarded.

in the meantime, pick up, obey the leash laws & enjoy the spring weather!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

FCAC Recs In To Council

The FCAC has sent their Off Leash Trail recommendations to City Council and we sent our comments (as requested by City Council) as well. Both are available at http://www.boisetraildog.org/ The FCAC document is large and takes a while to download.

We are extremely disappointed (and a bit puzzled) that the final recs don't resemble the motion passed at the December FCAC meeting, which would have retained off leash access on portions of the Toll Road/Central Ridge trails in Military Reserve and on Red Fox, with direction to look for a loop or other longer option in Hull's Gulch.

I don't know much about Parlimentary procedure, but I do know that the motion that was passed in December was an acceptable compromise. This motion was never reopened in an official FCAC meeting (per their minutes). It doesn't seem quite right that a motion that has been voted on and passed can just be disregarded like this one appears to have been.

The other disappointing thing about the FCAC recs is that there is absolutely no mention of establishing baseline information on native plants or wildlife habitat in order to follow the objectives and recommendations outlined in the Public Land Open Space Management Plan for the Boise Foothills. There is also no discussion of developing a public process for the future.

We are waiting to hear what next steps are from City Council and will keep you posted.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

rocky canyon

we decided that it would probably be safe to go to rocky canyon & walk the road. lots of other folks out. many appeared to be training for robie, but we also saw folks on horseback and on motorcycles, some guys shooting- quite the mix.

this is the part of robie that i love to walk. the creek, rocks & vegetation are all really pretty. it was nice to be out.

we ventured a very short way up shane's loop & found it muddy, so back to the road. everyone was nice & polite. when we met people with dogs we all kept them to ourselves, we leashed the dogs when we saw the horses coming & called them to use when approaching runners, etc.

a good option for a damp day, and a good reminder of the variety of outdoor activities people engage in.

too wet again

halle's commentary on wet trails.....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

what a beautiful morning!

first off, this reminder that our trails really are close to the city.....

absolutely gorgeous morning! the trails are dry and in good shape (other than the widening & chop left over from winter).
lots of birds out singing around the pond-

back to my favorite spot to shoot sagebrush & sky- the colors are great!

i have been wondering all winter what birds make these hanging nests- so someone please tell me if you know!

6 with dogs, 3 without, no bikes.
today was a perfect example of how things could be. everyone was polite, all dogs were leashed where necessary, and when we passed everyone kept their dogs close and we had no problems or issues. it was great.
we do need another poop scoop soon, though, so stay tuned-
have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yahoo Group

We have a new yahoo group specific to the Boise Front Trails. The idea is that users can share information with each other regarding trail conditions, location of sheep, cattle, rattlesnakes, etc.

The Group can also be a resource for people who want to know what's going on with the trails from a management perspective in terms of issues, changes to policies, etc. We'll post info as we get it.

This is intended for all user groups.

I hope that you find this a helpful idea & make use of the tool.

To find the group, click on the link to the left.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Volunteer Opportunity

The user group put together by David Gordon has identified an opportunity to hold Trail Awareness Days to get the word out about proper trail etiquette, rules, etc.

Event description: Trail users from a variety of user groups (SWIMBA, BTD, running groups) will staff tables at stopping points on popular trails in order discuss trail etiquette with users and distribute literature. We will also serve trail treats.

Give away something else like a cookie or Power Bar to trail users (Mtb-ers, hikers, runners, dogs) in order to engage them. It is critical to proactively invite people to chat. Don’t wait behind the table for them to come to us.

For Bikers, stress the importance of yielding, how to yield and controlling speed around hikers & runners. Refer to the “Ride Nice” palm card. Give them a copy if they like. “We’re out on the trail today to make sure everyone understands how important it is to yield to other users…..”

Boise Trail DOG- hand out share the trail cards, have dog treats, talk about not letting dogs bother other users, recall, poop pick up. “We’re out on the trail today to make sure everyone understands how important it is to keep your dog within 30’, …..”

We expect to encounter approx. 200 trail users during weekend events. Perhaps 100-200 during weeknight events

Ridge to Rivers to pack materials & equipment in and out using their ATV
We need 1-2 people for each shift.

Thursday, April 16
shifts from 4- 5:30 and from 5:30- 7:30
Junction of Crestline and Lower Hulls Gulch Trail (below 8th St. motorcycle parking lot) Pack-in from Crestline Dr parking lot

Saturday, May 16
shifts from 8:30- 10:00, 10:00- 11:30, 11:30- 1:30
Junction of Central Ridge Trail (22) and Ridgecrest Trail (20)
Pack-in from end of Mtn Cove Rd.

Thanks for your help. Volunteers wil receive one of the great BTD t shirts that Ginger from Northwest Business Solutions made up for us to wear during their shift.

Please email idswissy@yahoo.com with any questions, ideas or offers of goodies to give away.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


haven't posted for a while- traveling to the east coast on spring daylight savings time change weekend is tough......the clock said midnight, my body said "no! 9 pm!". and i had just about adjusted, then i came back to boise, so i haven't been getting out early enough.

but i do have a few photos to share-

have a great weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2009

meeting this week

the fcac meets wednesday at 7:30 am at the foothills learning center. no public testimony. city council requested a formal submission of recommendations along with a minority report & a list of issues not addressed. we have also been asked to submit a list of unresolved issues & a short list of proposed solutions, which we will do after seeing what the fcac comes up with. stay tuned!

i am out of town again until thursday. stay off muddy trails & have a great week!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

another beautiful day!

what a gorgeous morning! we had one false start- a slip in some water that necessitated coming home. but we went back out and caught up with margie & benson & jackie and had a lovely hike on trail 5 (tho i wish i'd had the goretex hikers on rather than the water resistant tennies!)

the air was really clear, and the owyhees showing beautifully across the valley. lots of fresh elk poop on the trail. i think i managed to keep dog consumption to a minimum- hopefully avoiding gastric distress.
there was a bit of snow higher up, and it was drifted across the trail in places. great to walk through- and the dogs seemed to enjoy it as well....

things were getting quite soft when we were coming out- took this photo at 10:02-
saw quite a few folks on the trails across in military reserve- most of them runners with dogs. we ran into a couple with 2 shorthairs coming in as we were going out. they called their dogs, caught them and held them so we leashed up and we all walked by each other very pleasantly. it was such a nice trail encounter!
have a great weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

possible new trail

it was a beautiful morning but i was afraid a bit too wet to be out on the trails. i did meet david gordon & bill eastlake to look at a possible connector trail from red fox
along the road

to the lower hulls/redcliffs trail

that would provide more off leash than the +/- 1 mile on red fox trail currently proposed. although this doesn't provide a loop, it would give off leash dog walkers a way to bypass the lower hull's parking lot and reduce congestion on red fox.

must be noted that nothing is done, we are simply looking at options, but this does seem to be a good possibility.

the fcac is meeting next wednesday, march 11 to come up with a recommendation for city council. city council has requested that the fcac's recommendations be formally submitted along with a report from members of the committee who do not agree with the recommendations (a minority report) and a list of issues that they do not feel have been resolved.

Boise Trail DOG has also been asked to submit a list of issues that we consider to be unresolved and a short list of proposed solutions.

we feel that, if a longer off leash option can be provided in lower hull's- and there are some possibilities- we can live with the last proposal made by ridge to rivers. this is the proposal that added elephant rock trail off leash in military reserve and red fox in lower hull's in response to testimony.

we believe that it's important to continue to gather information and to develop site specific baseline data for future decision making, as well as to involve and address all user groups' impacts going forward. it will be critical to have a better defined process for public input and decision making. the issues will not go away and we need to work together to ensure that we all share and protect the resource that we enjoy so much.

it was beautiful this morning-
and we fully support closing trails after 10 am during the wet season to protect our resource.
have a great weekend!

Monday, March 2, 2009

it's spring!

lovely walk with echo this morning- the blackbirds were going to town in among the cattails! it was quiet, too- we didn't see many other folks- just 2 other dog owners (doing what they should be doing) and 3 folks without dogs.

although the trails are pretty dried out, there are still spots that are not good. this wasn't goopy when we were out this morning, but it's pretty beat up.
this almost makes me wonder how many of the side trails that look dog caused in the summer are started by feet of the human variety in the winter... the side trail here has both shoe and paw prints.
then back at noon with halle. we all benefit from some one on one time!
it was beautiful! sunny, nearly 70- lots of people out. this woman put her dog on a leash (the dreaded flexi, but still a leash) right after i snapped this photo- probably b/c there was a runner with a leashed dog, and me- pretty busy.
the runner had the leash looped thru his dog's collar and as soon as he was on the uphill by the pond he held one end and let the other end slide through so the dog was off leash. in the on leash area, but i guess he figured he was safe. probably was too.

lots of cars...
the noon crowd was 13 of us with dogs- every one well behaved. there were a few leashed on red fox, so i leashed halle up & we practiced walking by calmly. there were 4 bike riders- one of whom thanked me for getting hal off the trail so he could finish his uphill. 7 runners/groups of w/o dogs- several thanks me for making halle heel as they went by.
everyone happy to be out in the sun enjoying the day!
off to texas tomorrow- back late wednesday.
the fcac meets wednesday am, they should come up with a recommendation for council at that meeting. stay tuned.....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

sunday on 8th st

we had a nice walk up 8th street this morning. the sun on the city was beautiful- and my fave naples yellow/prussian blue color combo abounded.....

there was elk poop all over the road- managed to keep echo & halle out of most of it- so far toxic gas is at a minimum....