Polecat Gulch Reserve
ACRES: 475 | TRAILS: 7.5
Protected in 2003
The Dry Creek Area/West Boise Foothills is one of the three priority areas identified for Foothills land preservation prior to the passage of the $10 million Foothills Levy in 2001. Polecat Gulch Reserve was created in 2003 with the acquisition from the Blessinger family of 120 acres of undeveloped open space followed by several other adjacent acquisitions in 2005, 2010 and 2012. The entire Polecat Gulch Reserve area totals 835 acres which includes 360 acres of Bureau of Land Management. It lies between Cartwright and Collister Roads. The city has allocated $3 million in serial levy funds for property acquisition in this area.
Polecat Gulch Reserve area features 7.5 miles of trails that seamlessly cross Bureau of Land Management and City property. The mature vegetation on the slopes supports mule deer year round and a substantial population of Aase's onion, a rare plant found in the Boise Foothills. In 2007, a trailhead parking lot off Cartwright Road was built with a $46,000 grant awarded by the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation. There is currently a small 1930s home on the property where a caretaker lives. A trailhead is now available at the end of North Collister.
Health of the Reserve
In 2018, ecological health of the reserve was assessed by field technicians. Monitoring plots were strategically located across the reserve, data was collected at each point to include a species inventory, percent cover of structural functional groups (like invasive species vs. natives), shrub density, erosion and soil stability assessments, and others. Those data are summarized below and help to guide future management treatments and practices for Polecat Gulch Reserve.