Weekly Gem #257, We have a winner!
Location: This ‘hidden gem’ is located near the intersection of Chinden Blvd and Maple Grove Road in Boise, ID (see the Clue Me! Map).
The Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve is a nice place to get away from it all, even though it’s right in the heart of Boise. Do you like birds? Over 150 species have been observed in this urban oasis.
It all came to be due to the hard work and determination … the sheer bullheaded refusal to quit … of a family of beavers.
The story goes something like this. There was a family farm here, beginning in the late 1800s. At that time, Boise was a small town about 3 miles to the east. As Boise grew, small farms like this were swallowed up. Most became residential communities … this one became a gravel pit. Gravel excavation continued for about 20 years, until the 1980’s, when they dug a shovel too far and struck water. Now they had a muddy, mucky, scrubby gravel pit. It was clearly time to switch gears, and the owners decided to convert the land to softball fields.
That’s when the beavers arrived, having followed the newly created creek upstream to its source. “We’re home!” they said. Shortly thereafter the first beaver dams and dens were built, turning the muddy and mucky area into a nice little pond. The human property owners worked for several years to dislodge the beavers and make the property suitable for ball fields. They removed the beaver dams every year, and tried to plug the groundwater seeps so the beavers wouldn’t come back. But every year, the groundwater kept seeping and the beavers kept returning and kept building.
The human neighbors became quite fond of the ponds, and the many birds they attracted. And after a few years it became clear that this property had a higher calling. It had already proven that it could produce crop after crop of birds, bats, and beavers. Larry Hyatt recognized the potential. He bought 22 acres from the previous owners, and gifted the land to the city. Another 32 acres were acquired to form the Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve.
In the end, the beavers won! And so did Boise.
Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.
A step up from 'gravel pit'
The Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve
Why It's Interesting
This is a fairly small wildlife reserve, but makes a great home for ducks, geese, many other birds, bats, and undoubtedly many amphibians. It's well worth the visit.