Friday, June 29, 2012

Boise River Recreation Park Opens

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Connor Voorhees, 8, was on hand to catch the official first wave at the Boise River Recreation Park.
  • Christina Marfice
  • Connor Voorhees, 8, was on hand to catch the official first wave at the Boise River Recreation Park on Thursday, June 28.

With the sun beating down at an unforgiving 95 degrees on Thursday, June 28, kayaks, paddle boards, jackets and helmets filled the Boise River with color as paddlers celebrated the long-awaited official opening of the Boise River Recreation Park.

“This is a great day for all of us,” said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. “Whether we are kayakers or not, this represents an important step forward to keep us a vibrant place.”

Spectators packed the plaza overlooking the park, and following the mayor’s dedication and ribbon cutting, made their way to Idaho River Sports, who hosted a celebration offering food, drinks and free equipment rentals.

Between thanking donors for their support during the park’s construction, Bieter spoke of the challenges supporters faced in their effort to get the park built, including the difficulty of raising funds after the economic downturn and a complicated construction process, during which a portion of the river was diverted.

Behind the podium, groups of paddlers crowded the water, waiting for a turn to take to the park’s manmade waves.

Among the many kayaking enthusiasts were Alec and Connor Voorhees, two lifelong paddlers whose father operates the waves at the park. According to Alec, nine underwater gates outfitted with air bladders control the flow of the waves. With the press of a button, a wave operator can open air valves to raise or lower the gates, which either increases or decreases the size of the waves.

Connor, an 8-year-old who began paddling at age 3, eagerly demonstrated his favorite tricks, like rolls and eddy turns. The brothers kayak on the Payette River most weekends and spend nearly every weekday at the river park.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter officially opens the new Boise River Recreation Park.
  • Christina Marfice
  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter officially opens the new Boise River Recreation Park.

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