Trails in the western foothills are easy to enjoy. Seamans Gulch, owned by Ada County, has great loops and ample parking. Polecat is an outstanding network of trails, and Chukar Butte Trail has recently been made available for even more outdoor fun.
But how do these all connect?
Working with Cartwright Ranch and the Hidden Springs Community, as well as other private landowners, public trail agreements have made one piece of the western foothills available to the public. Called Cartwright Ridge Trail, it is the backbone of a possible connection between western foothills open spaces. The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley is setting the stage to help make these connections a reality, starting with trail easements on Cartwright Ridge.
"The cooperation from private landowners and the two communities has helped make this first phase happen," said Land Trust Executive Director Tim Breuer.
One cooperator has been the developers of Cartwright Ranch. Access to trails and open space is becoming an important amenity for home buyers.
Another private owner, Highland Livestock and Land, has agreed to allow access across their property as well. This isn’t their first rodeo, as the Little family was one of the first to agree to trail access in the early 1990s. “Our family has been in the livestock business for several generations. We also are part of the community and allowing managed trail access on our private land is good for the community and helps protect our property,” said Adam Little.
The Land Trust, in securing agreements with private owners, has facilitated basic trail maintenance. Reroute work was completed in spring 2018 as part of a volunteer project with assistance from REI, Idaho Conservation Corps and the Hidden Springs Community. Signs were funded by a grant from the National Association of REALTORS® secured by the Boise Regional REALTORS®.
"Our members are real estate professionals in the community who understand the value and support the creation and maintenance of trails and open space," said Gary Salisbury, 2018 Boise Regional REALTORS® President and senior sales consultant for Equity Northwest Real Estate. “Bringing to life a new segment of trail was a natural fit for us and we look forward to enjoying this trail for years to come. ”
For now, the trail is out and back from the intersection of Cartwright Road and Pierce Park Road. Parking is limited in the road right-of-way and down the street at Polecat Trailhead. The planned future phases of connecting trails to other areas will depend on the cooperation of private landowners.
Views from the ridge are quite nice, and the future looks bright for the western foothills.