Boise River Whitewater Park Questions

  • How are the waves created?

    The waves are created by two state-of-the-art waveshapers designed by Denver-based McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group. Pneumatically-operated air bladders manufactured by Obermeyer Hydro Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., inflate to elevate stainless steel flashboards. Raising and lowering the flashboards controls upstream water levels and ensures that irrigation water from the new dam is provided consistently regardless of river level.


  • What happens when the water level fluctuates?

    Depending on the time of year, the amount of water goes up or down.

    Additionally, the park features a new dam built in collaboration with the Thurman Mill Irrigation Company. In order to build the new dam and in-river features, the City of Boise and the irrigation company made an agreement to provide an adequate amount of water to irrigation customers.

    Park wave technicians can make adjustments to the waveshapers that will accommodate seasonal water flows AND meet irrigation demands.

  • Are the waves suitable for beginners?

    Depending on the time of year and water level, the waves are adjusted to provide the best boating for people from beginners to more advanced boaters.

    At some water flows the wave technicians are not able to shape a full range of waves suitable for beginners - advanced skill levels.

    In the spring when water levels are high, the wave shaper may not be adjustable. In which case the water flows uniformly over the surface of the dam in a wave appropriate for more advanced boaters.

  • Are personal flotation devices required?

    PDFs are not required, however, they are recommended and encouraged. The park is use at your own risk.

  • Will events be scheduled at the park?

    Boating events will not be scheduled until Esther Simplot Park is developed and ample parking, restrooms, changing areas and spectator viewing areas are available.

  • Are there other places in Boise for kayakers to find play waves on the river?

    The "weir," an irrigation diversion in East Boise, is a popular in-river play area for beginners. The weir is located near the intersection of Warm Springs Avenue and East Windsong Drive east of Warm Springs Golf Course. Boaters should be reminded that the weir is an irrigation - not a whitewater park - access is limited. Watch for poison ivy!

  • What is proper etiquette for whitewater boaters?

    • Boaters are urged to be polite and use common courtesy on the river.

    • People paddling downstream have the right of way.

    • Be aware of fishing lines and leave plenty of room for anglers.

    • At the put ins and take outs, be considerate of other boaters. Wait your turn.

    • Don't litter on the water or the bank.

    • We wary of swimmers and the dangers of paddling your boat near people in the water.

    • Please be respectful of all recreationists who use the Boise River and the Greenbelt.

  • What is next for the park?

    The next major development will be construction of Esther Simplot Park, the large 55-acre undeveloped property west of Quinn's Pond.

    Improvements include expansion of the ponds, a new slow-moving river, bridges, walkways, riparian improvements, parking areas and restrooms.

    Construction is expected to begin in winter 2012-13. Funding is provided by the Simplot Foundation.

  • Will there be more play features added to the river park?

    Upon completion of planning and permitting for Esther Simplot Park, the City of Boise will begin work on the design for features ¼-mile downriver from the current waveshapers.

    Boaters who are interested in providing feedback on the next phase of the Boise River Whitewater Park, are invited to participate in our survey. Planners will use public input in design elements for the next phase of construction.