Parks and Recreation Department

The director of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is retiring.

Nancy Merrill says she will leave the post in the middle of July.

The 66-year-old Merrill became the director in 2009 just as the state was cutting the agency's budget from 17.7 million in 2008 down to $1.3 million this year.

Merrill says the agency worked hard the past few years to reinvent itself to keep parks open. The state has 30 of them.

Lawmakers this year approved a $3.5 million budget for state parks.

Boise Asks Voters To Approve New Debt For Parks

Nov 4, 2013
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Boise residents will vote Tuesday on two bond proposals that total $51 million with financing fees. That translates to about $32 million in actual spending money.

The city would use some of the funds to buy more open space, likely in the foothills for instance. Money would also be used to build three new city parks and upgrade three others. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

This Saturday, volunteers will wrap up a survey on the 25-mile-long Greenbelt in Boise. The survey will help Boise Parks and Recreation prioritize places that need improvements.

Earlier in the week, Rick Jakious took a few minutes out of his workout to answer the questions.

“How long did it take you to get from your home to the Greenbelt today?” asks a survey volunteer.

“Twenty minutes,” says Jakious.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Boise dog owners will have the chance to talk with city representatives beginning today at Morris Hill Park. Boise Parks and Recreation – along with the Boise Police Department and Animal Control – will be visiting 10 off-leash areas for dogs. In the past, unleashed dogs have been a contentious issue in the city.

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. 

Bruneau Dunes State Park Idaho
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The head of Idaho's state parks is asking lawmakers to double the agency's share of general fund revenue in 2014.

Department of Parks and Recreation Director Nancy Merrill also told budget writers Monday the agency kept all 30 state parks open last year — thanks in part to a legion of volunteers who provided 86,000 hours of free work last season.

The department got $1.3 million from the general fund in 2013. Merrill asked for an increase Monday, requesting $2.8 million to help with the agency's budget next year.

Boise Parks and Recreation / City of Boise

Boise will open a homeless day shelter for young children and their parents today.  Officials say the shelter will be a warm, safe place to go when families run out of other options this winter.

This is the fourth year in a row Boise Parks and Recreation will operate a temporary day-shelter for homeless families.  Parents with children can visit the Pioneer Neighborhood Community Center seven days a week.