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Interpreting the Nampa Greenbelt system

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Posted: Friday, February 4, 2011 9:48 pm | Updated: 10:08 pm, Thu Mar 17, 2011.

Anyone who has lived in the Treasure Valley for even a short amount of time knows about the Boise Greenbelt. Nampa has many miles of walking paths, too, but they're probably less well-known because they're not all marked and are broken up into numerous, disconnected trails. I've spent a lot of time walking and cycling on various Nampa Greenbelts, and here is what I've figured out about where they begin and end:

Wilson Greenway Trail - Approx. 4 miles long from west Nampa to south Nampa

This appears to be the most popular greenbelt in town and the most scenic. It's also been recently extended. While it's easy to determine that the greenbelt goes from Roosevelt Avenue to Iowa Avenue, it actually extends at least a half-mile further on both ends.

Here's how the path runs:

1. The Wilson Greenway Trail starts on the west side of Sunnyridge Road between Greenhurt Road and Locust Lane. It's a picturesque paved path that follows Wilson Creek past a small, wooded park (on the opposite side of the creek) and the Brookside Apartments to Greenhurst Road, right across the street from Walmart.

2. Take the sidewalk west to the intersection where you'll go north on 12th Avenue Road. Right before you reach Panda Express on the west side of the road, you'll see the path start again. Take that path until it turns into a dirt farm road. As far as I can tell, this dirt road is private property and I have seen a closed gate and "No Trespassing" sign before, but not recently. You can take that dirt road north all the way to Iowa Avenue. Right across the street, on the north side of the Iowa, you'll see the official paved greenbelt start up again. Take that trail all the way to Lake Lowell Avenue where you'll cross the road to another section of the trail before crossing Midland Boulevard to the section of the path that goes through Middle Creek Subdivision.

3. That path will take you to Roosevelt Avenue and appears to end. However, if you cross the road to the vacant lot on the other side and head west, you'll find a new section of the Wilson Greenway. Be warned that the vacant lot is a minefield of goat heads, so if you're on a bicycle, it's best to carefully walk (or carry) it through until you reach pavement. Take that path all the way to an undeveloped subdivision along South Freemont Street. You can take a small section of the sidewalk west to the final part of the greenbelt that takes you behind some vacant house lots and ends abruptly at an electric fence bordering a pasture. If you look the northwest, you'll see the nearby Lone Star Middle School.

Rails to Trails - Approx. 2 miles long from south Nampa to central Nampa

This path is paved over an abandoned railroad track (hence the name) and will soon be extended to downtown Nampa.

Here's how the path runs.

1. This path starts half a mile south of Locust Lane between Powerline Road and Southside Boulevard. Access it from Locust Lane and walk half a mile south before turning around and heading north. The path will take you past some pastures, The Islands subdivision, and a park before reaching Greenhurst Road where you'll find a parking lot specifically for greenbelt users. Take the path from Greenhurst to Iowa Avenue, where it currently ends.

2. Today I saw a construction crew working on the next part of the path that will extend a couple miles north to 2nd Street South (as far as I can tell from the comments made at a public meeting). You'll then be able to use the sidewalk along 2nd Street South to reach downtown Nampa.

Indian Creek Trail - Approximately 1 mile from northwest Nampa to north Nampa

This trail is a bit sketchy. It's near the main railroad tracks through Nampa, and it's not a path I'd want to walk on at night. But you may enjoy it in broad daylight.

1. The Nampa Parks and Recreation Department site says to pick up the trail on Taylor Street. However, when I look at Taylor Street on Google Maps, it appears to have no connection to the Indian Creek Trail. I haven't checked out Taylor Street in person, though. When I took the path, I picked it up where it crosses Kings Road just north of Railroad Street.

2. I took the path east first, until it ended after about a quarter mile. Then I turned around and went west, back across Kings Road and along Taffy Drive until the path ended right before Peppermint Drive. I went north on Peppermint Drive until I found another disconnected part of the path by Sugar Avenue that ends in an apartment complex.

Wilson Ponds - Approximately 1 mile in south Nampa

The Wilson Pond is a popular place to fish right in town and has a series of picturesque paved and dirt paths. If you take all the paths in the area, you'll probably walk at least a mile. Wilson Ponds is located on Powerline Road between Greenhurst Road and Locust Lane.

Outdoor Trail at the Nampa Rec Center - 0.56 miles long in south Nampa

This paved path will take you in a loop around the Nampa Rec Center. It's located between Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Nampa and Walmart on 12th Avenue Road.

Grimes Trails - Approximately 1 mile long in south Nampa

I discovered this greenbelt path on the Nampa Parks and Rec site today when researching for this article. It looks like a decent path, and I'll be sure to check it out sometime. It's currently in two disconnected sections but seems to have potential to be extended into one, long path.

1. Access the first section of the path in Sunset Oaks Park off of Birch Lane between Franklin Road and 11th Avenue North Extension. The path travels half a mile south through the park.

2. If you walk west along Birch Lane from the park to Franklin Road, then take the subdivision sidewalks north on Franklin, you'll reach the second section of the path. It travels west along a creek between two subdivisions before curving south and ending at Birch Lane.

Greenbelt Bike Path - Approximately 3 miles in west Nampa

I discovered this path tonight when poking around Google Maps and Street View. It's marked as "Greenbelt Bike Path" on Google Maps, and most of it appears to be completed.

1. Start at the intersection of Midway Road and Lone Star Road and head east for one mile on Lone Star. Then when you reach Middleton Road, head south for one mile on Middleton. Once you reach Roosevelt Avenue, head west for one mile on Roosevelt. You'll reach Midway Road. Both the first and last half miles of this path may not be completed.

2. To complete this loop, ride north along Midway back to Lone Star.

I've detailed 7 paths in Nampa with a combined 12.5 miles of travel in one direction (or 25 miles round trip). That's a lot of walking or bicycling, but none of these paths are connected, and getting from one to another may involve hugging the dirt shoulder of a road as cars fly past at 50 mph.

An interconnected greenbelt system in Nampa would encourage outdoor recreation and allow people to more safely get around town on foot or bicycle. I think the extension of the Rails to Trails path will encourage people to take quick trips downtown and help local businesses, and I hope there are more plans in the works to obtain the land access needed to bring these paths together.

It'd be difficult to make the Grimes Trail connect to any of the other ones, but extending it on the dirt roads that exist along the stream could connect it all the way to Idaho Center Boulevard. A western extension could connect the Indian Creek Trail to Rails to Trails. A short western extension could connect Rails to Trails to Wilson Ponds. An even shorter extension could connection Wilson Ponds to Wilson Greenway. And if the Greenway could be extended along a short stretch of dirt road to Lone Star Middle School, it would connect to the Greenbelt Bike Path. That's only a couple more miles of paths to create a 14- to 15-mile trail.

Perhaps in the future, the Greenbelt Bike Path could be extended a few miles northwest to the proposed Caldwell Greenbelt extension that will go south from Caldwell to Lake Lowell. And if the Boise Greenbelt eventually gets extended all the way to Caldwell, we could potentially bike all the way from Nampa to Boise.

I can only hope.

 

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