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One more year, and you can surf, kayak or paddle in Boise’s expanded whitewater park

Crews use a vibrating hammer hoisted from a crane to place stabilizing sheet piling along the bank of the Boise River on Thursday. They’re working on the second phase of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Boise Whitewater Park. (Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman)
Crews use a vibrating hammer hoisted from a crane to place stabilizing sheet piling along the bank of the Boise River on Thursday. They’re working on the second phase of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Boise Whitewater Park. (Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman)

Surfers, kayakers, paddle-boarders and other wave junkies should be splashing away in the second phase of Boise’s Whitewater Park next summer — as long as construction stays on schedule.

February will offer a good indicator of whether that will happen. Crews building the second phase must be out of the riverbed by then, Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said Tuesday.

That gives them no more than five months to do all of the work in the channel, since construction can’t begin until water has been diverted into an irrigation canal that heads north of the river. And that diversion must wait until irrigation season is over — typically in early October, Holloway said.

The city hopes to open the second phase next summer. It will include wave shapers, a rock terrace for sitting and islands designed to preserve cottonwood trees and other wildlife habitat.

This map shows the Boise whitewater park’s second phase. Garden City is at the top. The wave shapers are deep blue, with the 5-year-old first one at far left. (City of Boise)
This map shows the Boise whitewater park’s second phase. Garden City is at the top. The wave shapers are deep blue, with the 5-year-old first one at far left. (City of Boise)

Holloway said he’s not worried about the city’s contractor, McMillen Jacobs Associates, having enough people to get the job done in time, though projects around the Treasure Valley have been delayed in recent years because of labor shortages.

McMillen Jacobs has its own crews, so they can pull people off other projects to make sure the Whitewater Park is done on time, he said.

“If it looks like time is not on our side, they’ll do what they need to do to get the construction done,” Holloway said. “So if that means seven 10-hour days, they may need to do that.”

Weather is a bigger concern. If more water than the canal can hold is being released from the reservoirs upstream of Boise, the timing of construction could be thrown off, Holloway said.

“But if it’s a typical Idaho fall, we’re not going to have any issues,” he said.


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