Boise Prepares For Next Wave of Improvements to Whitewater Park 

More waves, terrace seating, and a connection from Veteran’s Pond all the way to Quinn’s Pond for paddlers

The second phase of Boise’s whitewater park will include three more waves, terrace seating, and a connection from Veteran’s Pond all the way to Quinn’s Pond for paddlers.

During a Feb. 26 meeting, City of Boise Engineer John Tensen presented plans to overhaul the river’s banks with native vegetation and natural cobble-sand beaches. He also displayed a new greenbelt path that would largely bypass the river bank where he expects boater and pedestrian traffic to be highest.

More than 100 people—a mix between boaters sans lifejackets and helmets, hardcore greenbelt commuters, greying folks and nature-enthusiasts—attended the meeting.

The presentation team included McMillen, a local environmental engineering firm; S2o Design, a Colorado-based whitewater park design firm, famous for designing the London Summer Olympics kayak course; and DHM Design, a river restoration landscaping team.

Scott Shipley, of S2o, seemed most excited about providing a boating experience for everybody with Phase Two of the whitewater park.

“The wave in place now gives a great experience, but it’s a certain experience,” Shipley said. His firm had no involvement in the first wave’s development. He said he wants to create the next step for beginning kayakers, after they have learned to paddle and roll in Quinn’s Pond.

The first wave in the new series will be wider than the current wave, letting boaters surf next to each other and not have to wait around as long for their turns. He envisions the second wave to be a rodeo wave, perfect for national competitions—similar to the Payette River Games in Cascade. The last feature will be a gentler, less intimidating wave with a shallower drop for beginner and intermediate boaters.

Shipley wants to build a whitewater park that he said, “facilitates programs that are cutting edge for the sport.”

He said the features should be accessible to inland surfers and body boarders as well. He even plans to put in a wheelchair-accessible boat dock for paraplegic kayakers. And he’s excited about the three-quarter-mile loop of paddling that will be made available when the ponds are connected, so instead of boaters having to lug their boats along the bank, they’ll be able to paddle straight to the top of the features.

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