Boise Foothills

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

A couple of truckloads of sheep were delivered by truck to 8th Street above the Foothills Learning Center Monday. They are slowly heading north.

For experienced Boise Foothills trekkers, spotting sheep wandering through the scrub and pathways in the spring is not so unusual. But not everybody is familiar with the story of Frank Shirts and his sheep.

Shirts is a real-life sheep rancher with 12 bands (groups) of sheep. That adds up to about 28,000 ewes and lambs each year.

Nicholas D. / Flickr

Zoo Boise is giving a quarter of a million dollars to the city to help protect the foothills. It's all part of the zoo’s conservation mission.

Zoo Boise raises conservation funds to help wildlife in need all around the world. So Director Steve Burns says giving some of that money to preserve the Boise Foothills makes perfect sense.

“This is our backyard,” says Burns.

Burns says people love the foothills, but it’s also a home for a wide variety of wildlife.

Idaho Fish and Game

Parts of the Boise River Wildlife Management Area were closed earlier this year to protect wintering mule deer and elk. The closure included sections of land burned during the Table Rock and Mile Marker 14 wildfires last summer. But May 1, those popular trails in the foothills are expected to reopen.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

You may see some large patches of blue in the Boise Foothills, starting this week. It’s part of a program stop wildfires in the iconic trail system.

The blue dye is an herbicide that crews will apply to manage non-native grasses and problem weeds. Those are the plants that compete with native species and increase the risk of fire.

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.

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