Wildfires and Water Play 

Exploding targets a big no-no

It's time to play at the Boise River Recreation Park.

Patrick Sweeney

It's time to play at the Boise River Recreation Park.

The day this issue of Boise Weekly hits stands lands on the official first day of summer--a season in Idaho that inevitably leads to smoke, as in wildfires.

Wildfires in the West are a fact of life, but that doesn't mean we can't do everything we can to make sure that Mother Nature is the only firestarter out there. By this point, we should all know things like making sure your campfire is really out, not tossing cigarette butts out the window and not driving over dry grass, but now officials from the Bureau of Land Management are asking people to avoid using exploding targets.

The targets--used for rifle target practice--explode when they are hit by a high-powered bullet and scatter incendiary bits for several feet. If these pieces land in dry vegetation, they can quickly start a fire. In fact, officials believe that four fires have been started by exploding targets already this year.

The use of exploding targets--as well as tracer rounds and fireworks--is illegal between May 10 and Oct. 10 each year. If you're caught using them, it could cost you up to $100,000 in fines, plus the cost of fighting any fire that starts.

One place a fire is far less likely to start is on the water, and luckily for Treasure Valley residents, playing on the water is about to get a lot easier.

Boise's River Recreation Park will officially open to the public Thursday, June 28, with a community celebration to mark the much anticipated occasion.

In-river work on the first phase of the park was completed in February, but high cold water and continuing work along the banks kept it from being officially open to the public--although that hasn't stopped many kayakers from poaching the man-made wave.

The artificial wavemaker will be maintained by trained techs who will be able to adjust it to compensate for river flows and the needs of users.

The next phase of the river park is already in the planning stage, but supporters are still working to raise money for the project, as well as to finalize legal agreements with downstream water users. Work on the neighboring Esther Simplot Park is expected to begin this fall, and amenities will include bathrooms and changing areas for those using the River Recreation Park.

The opening celebration will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the park overlook (near 3400 W. Pleasanton Ave.), with remarks beginning at 6 p.m., followed by the ribbon cutting. Neighboring Idaho River Sports will host refreshments following the opening.

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