Boise Whitewater Park

Premier urban whitewater park
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The Boise Whitewater Park and related projects are managed by the City of Boise's Parks and Recreation Department. For official information please click here.

River Recreation Park Construction

BOISE - Construction on Phase I of the Ray Neef, MD River Recreation Park is begins this spring. City officials have received permits to begin shoring up the river bank to accommodate one of the primary in-water features of what will be a 1,900 linear-foot river park on the Boise River near Downtown.

The Thurman Mill Diversion is responsible for the "36th Street wave,” a feature that is popular with kayakers. The new structure will be adjustable for various water levels and wave sizes. Work this spring focuses on widening and reinforcing the bank between Quinn’s Pond and the river to support the changes.

The volunteer group Friends of the Park is fundraising for and overseeing the building of the park. They announced last June that the City of Boise had been able to secure an agreement with the Thurman Mill Canal Company to rebuild the diversion. The new structure is planned as the most prominent feature of the park.

Phase II of the Ray Neef, MD River Recreation Park will include everything downstream from the Thurman Mill Diversion area. The design for Phase II is not complete. Details depend upon pending agreements with two other canal companies in the area as well as the design for the adjacent Esther Simplot Park. A final Simplot Park design is pending a flood plain study that is currently in process and scheduled to be completed in February, with a final report due in April or May. The Friends of the Park board is working with the Simplot family to ensure the water park and the Simplot Park complement each other. Organizers expect a design for Phase II to be completed by late spring, 2010.

Construction crews this spring will reinforce the area around the dam and reroute the Greenbelt to ease congestion in the area. The first step of this process, once the permit is approved, will be to draw down the water in Quinn's Pond and fill in the corner nearest the Thurman Mill Diversion.

Once the bank reinforcement has been completed, work on the new Thurman Mill Diversion, and amenities such as parking and restrooms, will begin next fall and is projected for completion in the spring of 2011, assuming efforts to raise funds for the project are successful.

Organizers have raised about $2.25 million in pledges so far, including $1 million from the Ray Neef family. The City of Boise has allocated $750,000 toward the project. Phase I will cost $3.3 million. The entire project is estimated to cost $6.7 million. Organizers say construction on the park has been split into two phases in order to accommodate not only the fundraising campaign, but also the permit applications, the design process, and the process of securing agreements with water users downstream from the Thurman Mill Diversion.

The Park will be located on the Boise River between Main Street and Veterans Memorial Park – a section of river that was channelized during the mid-1900s. The design final design will include in-river drops, chutes and boulder obstacles as well as riverbank seating areas for spectators. Several shared amenities will also benefit the adjacent Esther Simplot Park, including roads, parking lots, pathways and a shelter/changing area. The in-river and shoreline improvements will provide a more natural riparian setting, with additional plants and improved fish habitat.

For specific information including how to get involved, make a donation or a pledge, visit Organizers will post regular updates to the site as the fundraising, design and construction processes proceed. From the website, supporters can also sign up to receive regular email or Facebook status updates or make a donation online.

For information about design and construction of the park, please contact Tom Governale, superintendent of parks, at or 384-4060, ext. 318.

Friends of the Park Contact
Beth Markely -

Website donated & supported by North End Creative for Friends of the Park