The Cascade Whitewater Park is taking form on a variety of levels. Mick Riffie an active member of the evolving Friends of the Cascade Whitewater Park has outlined the following story regarding plans and ideas surrounding the park. 

  • Concept
  • Organization
  • Community Involvement
  • Fundraising

Concept: The features for the Cascade Park will be built in the existing river channel of the North Fork Payette  where it flows past Cascade. There are highway bridges at the north and south ends of town and two and half miles of river in between. Adjacent to the old Boise Cascade Mill site there is a 1400 foot stretch of the channel that has about six feet of drop where the park will be built. Conceptual drawings were done by REP (Recreational Engineering and Planning - designers of the Reno park).  REP provided a conceptual cost estimate of $462,560 for the construction of the whitewater park.

The 'artist renderings' show three drops and a short slalom channel. Bank improvements include boulder placement for bank armoring. Easement arrangements with involved land owners in the vicinity of the old Boise Cascade Mill Site are currently being pursued and it is anticipated that there will be a central parking -- park area adjacent to the whitewater features and a bike path along the two and half miles of river between the bridges. The river will remain a public waterway and free to the public -- just as it is now-- no access fees. 

The funds raised so far have gone primarily to the conceptual planning stage of the project. At this point the river survey is the next step.  This is required before the design and permitting stage can begin. Cost for surveying will run in the neighborhood of $6000-10,000. After that, the preliminary design and permitting process can begin, with a cost of approximately $25,000.

Up until recently this was a City of Cascade project spearheaded by the Mayor. The City Council recently announced their support for the project, but due to other looming costs to the city to maintain basic services, they are unwilling to spend City dollars on the project. 

Organization: We are in the process of forming a non-profit corporation "The Friends of the Cascade Whitewater Park” to take care of fund-raising and manage the funds for the design and construction of the park. This group is not yet ready to start receiving funds, donations are currently received by the city and placed in a dedicated account for the whitewater park. The council is concerned about the maintenance costs associated with the park and so we anticipate continuing fund-raising events after construction to clean and maintain facilities associated with the whitewater features. It may be possible at some point in the future for the park to maintain itself through event registrations, vendor fees at ww events etc.

The 'Friends' will be sheltered initially under the wing of the Valley County Pathways, another 501c3 that has a goal of building a network of pathways throughout the valley for pedestrian/bicycles, while we go through the process of obtaining our own 501c3 status. It is a nice fit because they are an active non-political group with a common goal, our park would contain foot/bike paths and could be considered a water pathway. The extension of the bike/walking path from bridge to bridge is not a part of the whitewater park estimate provided by REP

Community Involvement: There will be some meetings for public comment after we receive the preliminary plan from REP.  We will get the word out, as we have seen very few boaters at any public hearings. After permitting and public hearings, a construction plan will be created by REP for the whitewater park and (funding dependant) we can start construction when flows/weather permit. As for the time frame, three months are required for design time which won't begin until we can get the survey done. Permitting through the Army Corps of Engineers would add at least another 6-8 months. That makes a pretty tight window for construction in early spring of 2009. Funding needs to be obtained in a timely manner in order for this best case timeline to be feasible.

Several promises of large contributions have been made, but so far there has been nothing we can take to the bank. There is a lot of excitement about the project in town and some in-kind contributions of rocks and heavy equipment have been donated for construction. Some grants have been applied for, however there is significant ground work required before we can make a solid case-- lack of a final design, easements, etc. hinder us in convincing funders that this really is a legitimate project.

Fundraising: There have been some low-level fundraising events in Cascade, the First and Last Flatwater Festival last summer was a fun race encouraging any and all floating craft to race down the river. We called it the Last Flatwater Fest with the hope that the next year would be a Whitewater Fest. Perhaps that was a little optimistic. About 70 people came out and paddled all sorts of boats in all sorts of costumes and had a pretty good time. The event was free to participate in but donations and t-shirt sales made the event a financial success as well.  The 'Flatwater Festival' was popular with Cascadians, anybody could participate  and everyone  had a lot of fun. The Flatwater Fest was held  the same weekend as the Roseberry Music Festival, featuring the Drew Emmitt band. This Summer will see the Second and Last, and as time goes on maybe even a Third and Last ... before the park is actually built. 

All the money collected so far comes from small donations by individuals.


Whitewater Film Festival

Roxy Theater, Cascade

March 15, 2008 5:30-9

Two hours of film from the National Paddling Film Festival. There will also be a special screening of "Into the Unknown" by local boater Nate Ostis. Hopefully there will be larger local component in future years if the event is successful.

Admission is $10 with tickets being presold in

  • Cascade -- The Cascade Store
  • Donnelly -- West Mtn. Gear and Grind
  • McCall -- Gravity Sports
  • Boise --IRS, Alpenglow

Event organizers are hoping for a sellout of the Roxy's 220 seats.  There will be door prizes and a raffle for further fundraising.  It is hoped that this event will be another opportunity for generating some excitement about the project, spreading information, and building some momentum.

  • Friends of the Cascade Whitewater Park
  • PO Box 684
  • Cascade, ID 83611