Agreement to Protect Boise, ID, Open Space

BOISE, IDAHO – The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the City of Boise have signed an agreement to conserve critical open spaces in the Boise Foothills. After successfully passing a $10 million open space levy this spring, the city has chosen TPL to assist with land conservation acquisitions.

For nearly 30 years, TPL has helped communities conserve open space and land for people to enjoy. Using its expertise in real estate, public finance and legal issues, TPL has helped protect more than 1.2 million acres nationwide – including 3,666 acres in Idaho – for people to enjoy as parks, playgrounds, community gardens, historic landmarks and wilderness land. With 80% of people in the United States living in urban settings, much of TPL’s conservation work takes place in and around sizeable cities. In addition to helping protect land in immediate danger of development, TPL also works with communities to proactively plan for open space in an urbanizing environment.

As the fourth fastest-growing metro area in the nation, the City of Boise realized the need for proactive conservation of its cherished scenic areas and open space. Partnering with the city, Mayor Brent Coles and the Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee, TPL helped put a $10 million open space levy on last May’s ballot to protect the surrounding 100,000 acre Boise Foothills. Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure that will help preserve wildlife habitat, recreation lands and water quality in the scenic landscape that backdrops the city.

Commenting on the levy’s success, Mayor Coles stated, “It is a victory that will help Boise build a legacy for future generations to treasure and enjoy, just as we all treasure the Boise Greenbelt today.”

In light of the levy’s success, TPL and the City of Boise have extended their conservation partnership. TPL will assist the city with public land acquisitions, applying its experience in negotiating land transactions, working with landowners and optimizing conservation finances. TPL will also develop a revolving fund to leverage levy money with public and private funding.

Charles McDevitt, chairman of the Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee, said, “After careful analysis of non-profit support groups, it became clear that the Trust for Public Land brings significant experience, and even more importantly, the level of trust and professionalism that will assure the voters of Boise that their money will be spent wisely. I look forward to working in partnership with the Trust to protect Foothills open spaces for future generations.”

Boise Parks & Recreation Director Jim Hall said, “TPL has an outstanding track record of working with communities and land owners collaboratively to protect important parks, open spaces and trails. TPL will be a key asset as we leverage the public funds with private and public funding sources.”

TPL’s Northwest Region, incorporating Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Wyoming, has proven success in helping communities proactively conserve land for the public, build urban parks and develop growth strategies that balance appropriate development with conservation.

“As a land conservation agency, it is essential that TPL help communities not only save land in immediate threat of development, but focus on preserving open spaces and significant landscapes that are important to their community and that could be irreplaceably altered in the future,” remarked Roger Hoesterey, TPL vice president and northwest regional director.

In western Washington, TPL has partnered with the Mountains to Sound Greenway (MTSG), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving 100 miles of recreation areas, scenic and productive forestlands and wildlife habitats from the Puget Sound to the Cascade Mountains. Together, TPL and MTSG have protected more than 9000 acres, helping the I-90 highway that defines the Greenway be named the first National Scenic Byway.

Working with the United States Forest Service and state parks organizations, TPL has helped protect nearly 16,000 acres along the Columbia River Gorge, which stretches along 85 miles of the Washington-Oregon border. Despite its designation as a National Scenic Area in 1986, the Gorge is continuously threatened with inappropriate development and unresolved mining claims.

TPL’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Program aims to conserve the natural beauty and integrity of Montana and Idaho’s rivers as well as the important habitat for spawning salmon and numerous fish and wildlife. With tremendous increases in land value and growing demand for development in scenic areas, TPL has joined forces with the Forest Service, local and state political leaders and conservation-minded landowners to ensure that these irreplaceable landscapes are preserved.

The Trust for Public Land is the only national nonprofit organization working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. Since its founding in 1972, it has helped protect 1,400 special places in 45 states – from expansive recreation areas, to historic homesteads, to city parks. TPL was recently ranked the nation’s most efficient charity in the conservation field by Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine. For more information about TPL’s work in the Northwest, please visit or call (206) 587-2447.