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Boise’s Whitewater Park to Expand This Summer

Construction is well underway on the second phase of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation Boise Whitewater Park. Crews are working in the Boise River bed near Esther Simplot Park to build new in-river elements that will offer even more recreational opportunities, including three new wave features.


Construction of the first wave feature of phase 2

A 520-foot section of the river has been diverted at the Farmer’s Union Canal so construction workers can place rock formations and rebuild a section of the bank that will soon become an area for spectators to watch kayakers and surfers tackle the new series of waves. Two of the aptly named “drop features” have already been placed downstream and the contractor is pouring concrete for the new main wave feature that is a highlight of phase two.

In addition to increasing recreational opportunities in the river, this project improves an existing diversion in the area while creating additional infrastructure for flood mitigation.

The original phase of the whitewater park, completed in 2012, has proven popular. On alternating days, you’ll find surfers and kayakers practicing their skills on an adjustable wave located in the Boise River just west of Quinn’s Pond. You can watch live video of the action via the City of Boise’s wave camera.

The first phase cost more than $3 million to build –the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, the City of Boise and donations from community supporters made the park a reality.

“It’s been incredible to see the response to the first wave,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “Boise has become known for its innovative parks and the wave feature at the whitewater park put us on the map. So much so, planners from other landlocked cities have called to ask us how we’ve found success.”

The second phase of the whitewater park will cost about $11 million to construct. The City of Boise once again received financial support from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation to make the upgrades.



The phase two features will provide waves for all skill levels. Of the new waves, project designers say the first feature will be the most technical and challenging – it’s also adjustable, using a product called Rapid Blocs to create a variety of wave types. The second wave feature will be for intermediate users and the third feature will be for beginners. Kayakers and surfers will be able to learn and develop their skills in the expanded park and can create an experience that meets their unique abilities.

“We want people to be able to grow in the sport and really hone their skills,” added Holloway. “The beauty of the park is not only in its design, but it’s close proximity to downtown. We see people visit the wave on their lunch break then head back to work.”


The expanded whitewater park will feature a viewing area for spectators

The City of Boise is also committed to preserving wildlife and fish habitat in the area by developing a fish ladder to make sure fish can move up and down the river at the park without getting caught up in the wave features. You can learn more about the project by visiting Boise Parks and Recreation.

Phase 2 of the Boise Whitewater Park is expected to be completed by mid-summer 2019.

Published: January 23, 2019