In 2019, the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands gifted the Gateway Reserve property to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
The Gateway Reserve (formally the 12 acres) Is Getting a New Look
Let the Grading and Planting Begin
On May 6, 2019, the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands (IFPL) broke ground on the Gateway Reserve that will transform previous industrial land into an open-space riparian habitat. After a joint fund-raising effort, IFPL and Idaho Shakespeare Festival (ISF) garnered more than $2 million to acquire, clean up with the assistance of a Brownfields Grant from DEQ, and design a sustainable landscape for the property.
Several years ago, a 43-home residential subdivision was proposed for the parcel, which lies directly adjacent to the popular Idaho Shakespeare Festival outdoor amphitheater. The 12-acre property once served as wastewater lagoons for Golden Dawn Estates, Riverstone International School, and ISF.
In 2012, those ponds were phased out when sewer lines were extended into the Harris Ranch area by the City of Boise. The earthen banks that once enclosed the lagoons will be reshaped to prepare the land for planting this fall with natural vegetation, blending the land into the natural habitat of the Barber Pool.
The Gateway Reserve is designed to receive spring flows from the Boise River to improve the native environment. It is located next to the historic 115-year-old Barber Dam and remnants of a lumber mill that operated into the 1930s. The Gateway Reserve will promote the values of the Barber Pool Conservation Area, an “urban-wildland” set aside for more than 300 species of wildlife, including bald eagles which was donated to IFPL by Boise Cascade in 1978.
The Wetlands Group, which removed all the former waste from the site, has volunteered the resources needed to open the southern portion of the site to the river and shape its northern areas for the grass and shrub planting that will restore native shrub-steppe habitat.
The earthen banks that once enclosed the lagoons will be reshaped to prepare the land for planting this fall with natural vegetation, blending the land into the natural habitat of the Barber Pool Conservation Area.
The Boise City Department of Arts and History collaborated with IFPL/ISF to receive a federal planning grant through the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” program. The grant allowed IFPL/ISF to work with top environmental engineering and wetlands-restoration professionals to create a state-of-the-art design under the guidance of a pro bono team from Forsgren Associates, Wetlands Group and RHP Risk Management.
Eventually, the Gateway Reserve will include connections to biking and walking paths, and be blended into the Idaho Shakespeare Festival property.