Monday, December 23, 2013

Project will stabilize, revegetate Camels Back hillside

A project to stabilize a rapidly eroding hillside would also enhance public access and increase native vegetation in Camels Back Park.

Camelsback Chute Mitigation RenderingRidge to Rivers trail experts, city engineers and landscape architects have developed a design to mitigate erosion currently occurring at the top of the main Camels Back “chute.” 

The proposed project builds on mitigation efforts that began in 2006 with a $10,000 grant from REI.  “The success of that project – fencing, seeding and erosion control -- has exceeded our expectations,” said Doug Holloway, director of Boise Parks & Recreation. “Our goal is to reverse the visual impact and erosion on an iconic hillside in one of the city’s most popular parks.”

The main sand chute going directly to the top of the hillside has continued to erode at a rapid rate, according to Ridge to Rivers trails coordinator David Gordon. He said that  a fence installed in 2006 has worked well to keep hikers on the main chute, however, heavy visitation and ensuing erosion have left fence posts on the upper third of the chute suspended in mid-air. The summit continues to erode from what was once a wide platform of dirt to an increasingly narrow space, said Gordon.

The design calls for 60-inch-wide sandstone steps to be placed along the right side of the chute beginning approximately 100 feet below the summit.  A series of retaining walls constructed of either treated timber or stone would be installed adjacent to the steps. The retaining wall would be backfilled and  planted with native grasses, forbs and shrubs. 

“As good stewards of the park, our goal was to create a design that would mitigate concerns about erosion while still allowing for access to the summit via the sand chute,” said Holloway. “In years to come, neighbors and visitors will be able to climb up and down the hill knowing that the area is protected from damage to the plants and soil.”

The bottom two-thirds of the chute will continue to be managed as a sand trail.

The project is estimated at $70,000. The city is seeking a grant from the State of Idaho’s Non-motorized Recreational Trails Program to help fund this project in 2014. The grant would require a match of up to 30% from the city.

For more information contact David Gordon at or (208) 493-2531 or Toby Norton, Park Design Manager, or (208) 608-7635.