Boise Foothills

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise Fire Department says it will only respond to life-threatening emergencies in the Foothills where houses are sliding down a hillside.

Officials say the creeping landslide at Alto Via Court has created dangerous conditions. BFD wants Foothills users and curious onlookers to stay away from the site.

Scott Graf, Boise State Public Radio

Final update: Crews reached full containment on the Table Rock Fire at 9 o'clock Thursday evening. Boise Fire officials say crews will monitor the fire through at least Friday to maintain containment. 

Update, 5:35 p.m.: Fire crews continued to make progress on the Table Rock Friday Thursday afternoon. Boise Fire Department officials said just before 5:30 that the fire is now 85 percent contained and that full containment is expected by 10 p.m.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The ground under the Terra Nativa subdivision in the Boise foothills has been slowly sliding for months. Alto Via Ct. has been closed indefinitely. One house has been deemed unsafe to occupy and the fate of others is uncertain. Homeowners have begun the process of suing the developer. We wanted to see first-hand what's happening. This slideshow is what we saw on the afternoon of May 26.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The road is still closed to a Boise foothills subdivision where the land is slowly sliding beneath some high-end houses. We wanted to get a better understanding of what's happening underground. So, we spoke with a long-time Boise geologist. Not many people know as much as Spencer Wood about what’s happening under the grass of the foothills. The now emeritus Boise State University geosciences professor has been writing about the land here for decades.

What are the foothills?

The Boise foothills are soft. They’re almost entirely sand and silt.

screengrab google.com/maps

The ground under the Boise foothills neighborhood called Terra Nativa has been sliding for weeks, possibly months. One house has been deemed unsafe to live in. At least one other has damage. And late last week the highway district closed two roads in the subdivision due to buckling streets and sidewalks and fear of landslides. 

We wanted to know how the city determines if a site in the foothills is safe to build on. Here’s what we learned.

Ridge to Rivers Facebook page

Heads-up intrepid Boise foothills hikers, bikers and runners: time to find an alternate route for your cardio adventures.

The recent rain in the Treasure Valley has wreaked havoc on the trails, making them soft and muddy.

Trail managers are encouraging people to check conditions before they head to the hills this winter. Here's the link to updated trail conditions and alternatives (Boise River Greenbelt, 8th Street Road and Rocky Canyon) from the city's Ridge to Rivers system.   

Land Trust of the Treasure Valley

A group of volunteers will be out in force Saturday to give the Boise Foothills a collective hug. That’s what the YMCA and the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley are calling trail restoration in Harrison Hollow.

“Now and then it just needs some tender loving care, and that’s what we’re doing, we’re lending a hand for the land,” says Rich Jarvis with the YMCA Togetherhood program. He says maintaining trails in the Foothills is no easy task.

BLM

Authorities say a cyclist started a 73-acre wildfire in southwest Idaho by lighting his toilet paper on fire after taking a comfort break.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say the cyclist stopped to defecate in a ravine in the Boise foothills on Wednesday afternoon. The man then lit the toilet paper on fire but lost control of the embers in the dry grass while trying to extinguishing the waste.

Firefighters contained the flames several hours later.

AgriLife Today / Flickr Creative Commons

The city-owned Oregon Trail Reserve is surrounded by homes. After a fast and hot-burning grassfire killed a woman and destroyed homes there in 2008, the Boise Fire Department began looking at new ways to deal with wildfire. The department used a grant from the Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation and Development Council to start using a different strategy: grazing goats to thin fire-fueling plants. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Boise voters will see a familiar proposal on their ballots this fall. Tuesday night the city council unanimously endorsed increasing taxes in exchange for more open space.

If voters decide to back the levy in November, $10 million will go toward conservation projects around Boise. Taxes will go up by $2.39 per $100,000 of taxable value on residential property for the next two years.

The preliminary hearing for a 22-year-old southwest Idaho man charged in connection with the killings of a former Arizona power company executive, his wife and their adult son has been postponed after the defense attorney withdrew.

An Ada County judge on Thursday then approved Adam M. Dees' request for a public defender after Dees said he had no significant assets or a job.

Dees is charged with grand theft and forgery in connection with the killings of 80-year-old Theodore M. Welp, 77-year-old Delores E. Welp and their son, 52-year-old Thomas P. Welp.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Family members of three people found dead inside their home in the Boise foothills earlier this month say they are filled with sadness deeper than words can express.

The family made the statement Wednesday shortly before a funeral mass at St. Paul's Catholic Student Center on the Boise State University campus.

Police on March 10 found 80-year-old Theodore M. Welp, 77-year-old Delores Elaine Welp and their son, 52-year-old Thomas P. Welp, dead in the home.

Theodore Welp is a former Arizona power company executive.

Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission

A Boise-area sheep rancher says a wolf killed his border collie in the Boise foothills earlier this month. Rancher Frank Shirts says a wolf killed one of his herding dogs on May 8 in the upper Hulls Gulch area of the foothills.

It's the first wolf-related problem Shirts' herd has encountered since 2010. 

"I thought people would like to know," Shirts said. 

Todd Grimm, the Idaho director of USDA Wildlife Services, confirmed the dog was killed by a wolf. He says trauma and bite marks support that conclusion.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you've hiked around Boise's foothills, you've likely come across a pile or two of dog poop. In February, there were 104 piles of waste at the Table Rock trailhead. Data show (yes, it's being tracked) those piles fluctuate from year to year, but the problem persists.

Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

Almost every day since the end of January, the Boise Foothills Trail Conditions Facebook page has warned hikers of the same thing: trails are muddy. Those conditions have forced would-be hikers to find recreation alternatives.

Pine Irwin is part of a group that uses Boise parks and the Greenbelt instead of hiking in the foothills.  Irwin and her dogs joined others in Veterans Memorial Park Sunday morning because, she says, using the foothills right now is not an option.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

How many times have you gone on a hike in the Boise foothills and stumbled across an unfamiliar flower? Now, there's a  Field Guide to Plants of the Boise Foothills that fits in your back pocket. 

State, county, city, and federal agencies got together to create this color-coded guide to plants in the city’s backyard.

Ecologist Mike Pellant and Jessica Gardetto, both with the Bureau of Land Management, helped put the guide together.

Aaron Beck Photography

The trailhead for Polecat Gulch Reserve in Boise's foothills will get a new trailhead. And the city wants your thoughts on how that trailhead should look.

Kelly Burrows is a park development coordinator. He's designed three different ideas for the trailhead. Burrows says he likes the idea that builds the trailhead right off the cul de sac on Boise's North Collister Drive. 

Aaron Beck / Aaron Beck Photography

Niall Garrahan loves Boise’s foothills. So much so, he decided to spend a portion of his summer last year studying them.

Garrahan is a junior at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. In 2011, he received a grant to conduct research on a topic of his choice. But it wasn’t until he went on a hike while visiting his aunt in Boise that he decided what he would evaluate. He wanted to figure out how much the foothills were worth, and how their value might affect future conservation efforts.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Sheep grazing along trails is a rite of spring in the Boise foothills, so are the White Great Pyrenees dogs that protect them. 

Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission spokesman Steve Stuebner says it's important to keep pets leashed up to avoid a confrontation with the guard dogs.   "And then if you’re on a mountain bike and you come up to the sheep, it’s a good idea to dismount from your bike and get off your bike and walk through the sheep."