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.

Albertson Foundation gift to help finish phase I

A donation of $950,000 from the JA and Kathryn Albertson Foundation will close a gap in fundraising and allow the City of Boise to begin construction this fall on the first in a series of in-river improvements to the Boise River Recreation Park. Volunteers continue to raise funds for subsequent phases of the project.

Boise Mayor David H. Bieter and JKAF executive director Jamie MacMillan today announced the foundation's second gift to the project.  Previously the JKAF donated $750,000 to the fundraising campaign with the promise of additional matching funds.

The new donation brings the foundation's total gift to $1.7 million.

Volunteers with the Friends of the Parks, an organization of boating enthusiasts and civic leaders, have raised $250,000 since October.  The group continues to seek private donations for park amenities that include parking, changing facilities, restrooms and picnic shelters.

Construction of this phase will begin during low flows typically in October  and  be open to the public in spring 2012.

Located on the Boise River between Main Street and Veterans Memorial Park, the river park will generate economic development and provide a world-class recreational experience in the heart of Boise.  The project will also improve the fish habitat and riparian area in a section of river that was channelized during the mid-1900s.  Ultimately, features will include in0river drops, chutes and boulder obstacles as well as riverbank seating areas and Greenbelt improvements.

"This is a project worthy of everyone's support because the sooner it is complete, the sooner it will benefit economic, recreational and environmental needs in Boise, the Treasure Valley, and Idaho," MacMillan said.'

"The River Recreation Park is a great public-private partnership that's going to have a tremendously positive impact on the west end of downtown and all of Boise," said Mayor Bieter.  "This is more than a recreation project; it's also an important economic development effort that will work in concert with Esther Simplot Park, the new 36th Street Footbridge and the 30th Street Extension to bring new activity and vitality to the area.  On behalf of the citizens of Boise, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Albertson Foundation for its remarkable generosity and support."

This fall's construction includes the demolition and replacement of the aging Thurman Mill Diversion dam with the installation of new "wave shapers" in the river.  The new state-of -the art computerized diversion will allow for more efficient delivery of water and increase the safety of irrigation workers.  The wave shapers will create waves of varying degrees of difficulty year-round - providing all-season access to boaters at high and low water.

Work on the Thurman Mill diversion will begin during low flows, which is normally in October.  Construction of the first phase of in-river improvements is expected to be complete in spring 2012 when the first phase will be opened to public use.

McAlvain Construction is finishing work on a preliminary project to stabilize the river bank and construct a new modernized intake system for Thurman Mill in anticipation of the rest of the construction of the new dam.

To date, more than $1.2 million - including $750,000 from the City of Boise - has been spent on design, engineering and site preparations for the park.  The Boise Parks and Recreation Department has allocated an additional $100,000 in matching funds for the project.

The river park is expected to fuel economic development citywide.  River parks have proven successful in other communities.  A whitewater park in Golden. Colorado, contributes an estimated $2 million annually to the city's economy.  A river recreation park in Vail generates $1.8 million and a park in Brekenridge $1.4 million per year.

To make a donation or learn more about fundraising for the project, see

Contact Boise Parks Department:
Amy Stahl -

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