Photo of the Green Belt in Boise, Idaho

Weekly Gem #98 The green belt signifies the growth of the seed as it sprouts from the earth reaching toward the sun

Published 12/17/2016

Location:  This 'hidden gem' runs for 25+ miles from eastern Boise to Eagle, ID (see Clue Me! Map).  There are a few nice things about this Greenbelt, and its constituent green, blue, and black belts (i.e. the plant life, the river, and the very accessible paved path, respectively).

First of all, it's an oasis, where many people go to recharge while enjoying the murmur of the Boise River, the plants and animals. An oasis is nice. Even in the winter, when it's more of a brown belt, there are the pleasant memories and anticipation of coming Spring to help warm a cold day.

Second, it's a monument to what can be done to reclaim a horrible mess. The extraction mentality took hold in the mid 1800s with the arrival of miners from 'back east.' To get at the gold, the river bed was picked up, shook up, and dumped back, turning a pristine river into a muddy mess. Farming and ranching followed, with raw sewage, soil runoff, livestock waste, and meat processing residue contributing to the demise of the Boise River. I kid you not ... some of the tributaries had more rats than waterfowl inhabiting their banks.

By 1965, the Boise River was the second most polluted river in Idaho. Let's go for a walk, shall we?

Enough, already, said somebody. As noted by the gem author, this turnaround started when three small parcels were acquired, which were eventually stitched together and expanded to form the belt that grows greener and longer each year.

"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."  ~~ Lao Tzu


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


In the fourth level of Karate, a green belt signifies the growth of the seed as it sprouts from the earth reaching toward the sun and begins to grow.


The Boise River Greenbelt

Why It's Interesting

The Greenbelt is a path that runs for about 20 miles along the Boise River. Now it's a haven for greenery and wildlife. In the 1960's, however, the river was used as a dumping ground for... gunk we don't even like to think about. In 1964 the city hired a consultant that suggested making a corridor along the river for public use. And so it began, three parcels of land were donated, the banks were cleaned up, and the Greenbelt has since continued to develop. Go on, take a walk!

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