River park update: Wave Shapers being installed

ImageConstruction of the long-awaited Ray Neef MD River Recreation Park on the Boise River is continuing at a brisk pace.

This week crews have been installing the Wave Shapers in the new concrete structures that are replacing the old Thurman Mill diversion near Quinn's Pond.

Here is a photo of the latest construction. Here are some tidbits from the Ray Neef MD River Park website.

This is the first phase of the park, which is located near 3400 W. Pleasanton Ave. west of downtown Boise between Main Street and Veteran’s Memorial Park.

The project includes replacement of the aging diversion and construction of a new fully automated structure that will allow for in-river recreation activities, such as kayakers surfing waves.

Funding has been provided by various individuals and foundations, the City of Boise and a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

To take advantage of the low water in the Boise River, crews are working 10-hour days from 7 a.m. to 6p.m. six days a week, Mondays through Saturdays.

Improvements will include widening of the river bank, which also will be heavily armored to add stability. The bank will also be reconfigured to allow the public to sit and observe the river and the users of the water park.

Barring any complications involved with the in-river portion of construction, this first phase of the park is expected to be completed by spring.

Jane Russell

would have recommended Playtex Wave Shapers.


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

Can I assume

That when you say they are widening the river bank you mean the one between the river and Quinns Pond?

Truth is hard to come by


That was pretty narrow and eroding. It should look pretty cool.

Boise River Park Phase 1

This is and was been a great community project that will continue for 2 more phases once the waveshaper - Thurman Mill phase is complete. More support is needed and donations can be made at www.boiseriverpark.com


Dave Green

washing machines

I'm wondering what the effect of these wave makers will be if someone gets "dumped" in there- like right that concrete 'underwater room'. Without a natural river bottom what are the hydrolics gonna be like-- underneath?

remember the dam wave that caused the drowning not too long along.

Oh god...


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.


The river bottom should be much better than before. The river bottom (during the 36th street wave era) included of chunks of concrete with rebar sticking out. It wasn't a factor during really high flows but was dangerous if somebody was in the hole at lower water. These new waves/ holes should be much safer but should still only be attempted by experienced kayakers/ surfers who can roll 100% and or self rescue. I'm really stoked about this project.


It's easy to see this is a better river bottom. My focus is on the 90degree corner 'under' the wavemakers. I'm no hydrologist, but that looks like a place that keep things underwater particularly at high flows.

"experienced kayakers"
So you are saying this not going to a place for beginners?

They shape your streamflow and move those nasty sandbars!


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

Idaho Rivers

I see Idaho Rivers United is a project supporter. Idaho Rivers United is a statewide river conservation organization supported by individuals who are dedicated to love the freedom, adventure and solitude of Idaho's wild rivers. Idaho Rivers United builds river protection campaigns to protect rivers and minimize the impacts of dams on Idaho's rivers.

Hmm, let's see now, a group organized for the protection of Idaho's Rivers is for a water park and a new fully automated structure that will allow for in-river recreation activities, such as kayakers surfing waves. How does this go along with their mission statement? All that construction, heavy equipment and concrete work will certainly add to the solittude, limit sediment flow and protect the Boise River's riparian areas. I'm sure the 10 bald eagles living at Deer Flat will hurry over to the Boise River to enjoy all that new found solitude on the Boise River.

This is the same Idaho Rivers United that worked so hard to stop the CUMO Moly Mine in Boise County. Boise County is a poor rural county made up of forest system lands that needs these projects and the boost to jobs/economy they provide. The Idaho Conservation League and Idaho Rivers United won't let jobs happen because they are concerned about sensitive species and water quality. Why isn't a protective riparian buffer zone required through city limits? Where are those same concerns for sensitive species and river health for the Boise River within Boise's city limits?

When enviros look at a project that benefits them they see ways to mitigate the ill-effects of that project, but if it's for jobs/economy/forest industry they just fight it with expensive legal manuevering and litigation. They can't seem to see the ways to mitigate negative impacts or ways to improve the environment with monies from the project.

Plain and simple, I see a double standard employed by enviro organizations. It's Ok to shoot down local economies and stop job creation, but don't mess with recreation.

Apologies for being negative, but people need to realize there is more to consider than just recreation and preservation. Now a days modern science and technology can provide ways to protect the environment as well as local economies as you are pointing out with the Boise River Park.

You're trying too hard, padre.


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

Idaho Rivers

I don't usually respond to other comments but I do want to point out a couple of things related to your comments.

First, the Boise River was heavily channelized to accomodate timber and other industrial uses long, long ago. This project will restore this stretch of the river to more natural conditions. Short of closing the Greenbelt, this was a will thought out plan that took over 12 years to put together. Also, together with the Esther Simplot Park, the Boise River Recreation Park will help create close to 30 acres of new wetlands and habitat.

Second, the debris that causes this area to be dangerous to floaters came about when concrete buildings were simply bull-dozed into the river when their use had to come to and end. These included several slaughter houses on the Garden City side of the river. This debris is virtually useless for fish and riparian habitat and part of the river mitigation plan.

Third, The new dam replaces an existing structure and was the first agreement of its kind in the state where an irrigation district had the courage to work with a group of citizens and a city to create a partnership to replace an aged and dangerous diversion with something that will provide both environmental and recreational benefits, and still honor their water rights.

The vision for this project began as far back as 1968 and was later part of the Boise River Vision 2000 project that brought all stakeholders to the table to look at one of our most precious resources and see how, where and when we could make positive changes to the river and our environment without hampering business and recreational interests.


Dave Green


Dave I think it's a great project too.
But let's not get carried away.

It is NOT going to "restore this stretch of the river to more natural conditions". You should be spanked with a kayak paddle for such a comment.

And concrete debris does in fact provide useful habitat for fish.

whitewater park rocks!

You're talking about a 300 foot section of river, people. Lighten up. IRU is in favor of this project because it's going to be better in the long run than simply doing nothing.


The existing diversion was being severely undermined and was an attractive and deadly nuisance. Like it or not, that area is in the inner city and lots of people already use the area.

The levee just below the existing diversion was being eroded and would have been rip-rapped anyway at some point in the near future.

The new diversion will be there for the next 100+ years. Long enough for nearby trees and shrubs to mature and provide decades of cover for future fish.

Quinn's Pond is not Redfish Lake, so again, lighten up.

I simply don't believe you.


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.

Lighten Up...

Yeah, like most folks, I too agree that the Boise River Park is a worthy improvement to the city as well as the river.

The point of my previous comment is that environmental groups ALWAYS use litigation to lock up our natural resources and stop all forest industry related projects on Forest System Lands within Idaho's rural counties. That also locks up Idaho's rural county economies. Forest industries on federal lands create jobs and helps Idaho counties like Boise County who are 87% forest system lands and have no tax base to rely on like Treasure Valley counties have.

This River Park project is a perfect example of the enviros double standards. For me, it proves that we have the science and technology to utilize our natural resources while still protecting those resources and improving our rivers, forests and communities.

I am saying the environmental organizations are the ones who need to lighten up a little bit. I think it is the responsibility of enviros to protect/preserve our natural resources, but at the same time they should seriously consider/analyze the impact to Idaho's fragile local economies. I say we have the knowledge/ability to protect our natural resources and still allow the project to go forward without the standard enviro legal manuevering. Folks who live in Idaho's small rural counties need jobs too.

PS Outdoors, tell IT we got ads clipped and fat ads after...

Them Yahoos need to figure their AdChoices better.


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.


Maybe you should just be happy that IRU spent some time and money on something that doesn't hurt you. That's time and money which could have gone elsewhere...

On another note - making the river safer for boaters gives them a place to practice that doesn't involve burning a lot of gas. It promotes the sport of river boating, which means more people getting closer to the river environment (a good thing for awareness - a bad thing for those who would rape the rivers). And it will attract business to downtown Boise. Sounds perfectly in line with the IRU mission - and with local interests.

Save your complaining for something that matters.


Idaho's rural counties and their fragile economy is something that matters. Maybe not to you down there in Boise Angeles, Idafornia...eh? Also, I'm not complaining I am trying to point have that we can have the best of both worlds...resource protection as well as jobs.

Idaho Rivers Unlimited was founded with a mission to remove man made structures in rivers. Not build more. Go read their mission statement.

You folks all point out the good things the Boise River Park will do in this case and I agree. However, if its a forest industries project within a national forest then you only point out the negative issues. I want you to use our modern science & technology to mitigate the bad so that the good can be realized as well. Good things such as improving the local rural economy and creating jobs.

I want enviros to look at forest industry projects in the same manner they looked at the Boise River Park project...in a positive light. What can we do to make a forest industires project a win, win situation for the environment and for the economy.

I think just fixing the dam trouble would have suffised but...

all I could hope is that it isn't more trouble than it's worth.


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.


I understand your frustration, and even have some sympathy for it. But your complaint really is out of place here. To follow the logic of your last post, it would be perfectly acceptable to promote a "forest industry project" in downtown Boise if the resources were there. I don't see anyone trying to establish a man-made whitewater park on the north fork of the Boise.

Regardless of all that, your complaining about IRU in general on this article page doesn't look good for your cause. I've read the IRU mission statement...."...minimizing the impacts of dams on Idaho's rivers..." lifted that directly from it. That's as close as the statement gets to your "remove man made structures". Looks like you're putting words in their mouth. I'm sure there are some who would remove all dams if they could, but your finger-pointing is inaccurate.

Diverson dams are a mess

The new river park fixes up an irrigation diversion that was a mess - a mine field of concrete and rebar. It's an excellent safety project.

In fact, all three diversions in the "tubing run" are piles of concrete and other debris. Eyesores in the river.

The Weir (diversion above Warm Springs Golf Course) is falling apart.

The diversion at Americana Bridge is mess when it catches drift wood and other debris.

The Boise River could use a little TLC.

And less blockage, dams...


Websites: Everytime you get it the way you're comfortable with somebody gives a monkey a rock, bottle and a dollar.


Zimo - the middle diversion on the "tubing run" (known as Damn Dam) is actually pretty natural-looking. I haven't noticed any exposed rebar there. But it isn't much safer, because it has plenty of space between rocks which could lead to a foot-entrapment.

Yes, the Weir is falling apart some. You highlighted a particularly hazardous spot last year, I believe. But it also has some fairly dangerous hydraulic action going on.

The FUDCO dam below where the work is being done now has quite a bit of exposed rebar and jagged concrete. I hope making FUDCO more "natural" (without removing it) is in the plans...

MrEnceph's comment about the diversion that is being replaced suffering from undercutting and being an attractive nuisance is correct, in my observation. I am very excited to see this project moving forward. However - we should all not lose sight of the fact that this does not make the river "safe", and no amount of such improvements will ever do so.

Diversions and being carried away...

The entire scope of the river project is 1,900 feet and will eventually, with luck and help from above, include the Settlers (which may be the same as the FUDCO) diversion. It will also improve water flow between ponds and, when completed, include up to 10 acres of new pond area and 2 wetlands areas within the Esther Simplot Park.

Here is a link to the old circa 1968 "vision" for this area post Quinns Sand and Gravel...


And then take a look at the new Esther Simplot plan in conjuction with the Boise River Recreation Park plan


.... in total nearly 100 acres converted from industrial use.

Dave Green