People and Nature: Urban Life and Wetland Use
Jacob Lang and Ryan Knutzen
A 44 acre wildlife and natural storm water treatment area in the city of Boise’s West Bench, this recreational oasis was created from degraded land and is now a important community feature. Grant money from the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley is being used for removal of invasive plant species and revegetation. A public survey was issued to explore the relationship between park visitors and their knowledge and opinions on suitable land use.
A major focus of the study was public awareness of the management issue regarding invasive species on reserve land and whether it held negative, positive, or neutral connotations for community members and visitors. The reserves status as an avian refuge was also assessed through recreational usage questions.
- Reserve would benefit from volunteer stewardship – majority of respondents strongly or slightly agreed with many neutral
- Concerned about the reserve as a fire safety hazard – majority of respondents strongly or slightly disagreed with many neutral or slightly agreeing
- Concerned about invasive species – majority of respondents strongly or slightly agreed
- Land use at reserve is satisfactory – majority of respondents strongly or slightly agreed
- Reserve offers good opportunities for outdoor recreation – majority of respondents strongly or slightly agreed
- Reserve is well maintained – majority of respondents strongly or slightly agreed
- Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve improves the community – overwhelming majority of respondents strongly with many slightly agreeing
This community survey was issued online at a community site and at an open house on revegetation plans hosted by the Public Land Trust. Paper surveys were issued on paper at the entrance to the reserve for day visitors to fill out.
Reserve Use Activities
- 39 – Birdwatching
- 43 – Exercise
- 25 – Recreation
- 20 – To Relax
- 25 – Other
Degree of Concern for Invasive Species in Hyatt Reserve
- 82 – Strongly agree
- 28 – Slightly agree
- 21 – Moderate
- 10 – Slightly disagree
- 13 – Strongly disagree
The extreme proximity to urban life makes the reserve an important test case for how a middle class metropolitan community uses and perceives the encroachment of wildlife and recreational opportunities in nature. Out of 154 participants surveyed, most had overwhelmingly
positive associations with the Reserve associated with quality of life.
Results show a majority usage for birdwatching and exercise as well as a predominant understanding and desire for control of invasive species. The results of this survey will help direct grant money allocation in the future and provide direction for Reserve stakeholders in maintaining a natural productive environment that meets both municipal and societal needs.
Eric Willadsen of the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley for photographs and support.