Morrison Knudsen Nature Center
Story and Photography by Chelsea Chambers
Whether you’ve grown up in Boise or have just passed through, it is very apparent that the rapidly expanding metropolitan area still has its roots intact. With a growing population of over 200,000, it’s hard to believe that there is still such a beautiful correlation with nature, but that is definitely a priority of Boise. There are many riverside parks throughout the city with forested habitats that house a substantial amount of wildlife, despite being based in the heart of an urban body. One such haven is the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center, located off of Parkcenter Boulevard on Walnut Street.
The center has nearly five acres of land dedicated to the knowledge and preservation of Idaho wildlife. It was originally founded by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in 1990. The project ran solely on donations from the community and corporations, with a large portion of that help coming from the Morrison Knudsen Corporation, hence the name. Before it was transformed into the beautiful refuge that we see today it was merely a dump; the land was full of rampant weeds and trash. The project prevailed and has since been transformed into paths and trails for all to enjoy sunrise to sunset.
The center has done a phenomenal job with upkeep and expansion. A few of their main attractions are the Habitat Improvement Garden area, which emphasizes planting for both wildlife and human appeal, and the Alpine Lake Windows, a personal favorite, where they offer a close up look to the life cycle of Idaho fish. The center’s pond has a profound amount of wildlife and a multitude of places to observe the many fish, including trout and the giant sturgeon, as well as beavers, snakes, and birds. Providing knowledge to the public is one of the main goals of the MK Nature Center. Inside the visitor center there are many outlets for children and adults alike to gain hands-on experience with nature, such as touching animal pelts and watching videos about the cycles of wildlife.
It’s comforting to know that as Boise continues to grow and expand, the surrounding wildlife areas will be well taken care of. Idaho has long since been a place for refuge and gaining clarity in the nature that dominates our beautiful state. As long as we all do our part in maintaining the aesthetic allure of Idaho, we can continue to preserve the elegance that is the gem state.