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New visitors center creates a hub for tourism at Thousand Springs State Park

Posted at 11:16 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 13:16:40-04

HAGERMAN, Idaho — Thousand Springs State Park consists of six different units spread out across 25-miles around Hagerman in the Magic Valley.

This area features unique geography, natural springs, deep canyons and a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and I found it almost hard to believe that some of these areas are located here in Idaho.

A new 3,400 square-foot visitors center creates a starting point for people to visit Malad Gorgge, the Kelton Trail, Billingsley Creek, Ritter Island and Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve making it much easier for people to plan their day, talk with the rangers and it gives staff an office for the first time.

"I’ve been here 17 years now," said David Landrum the park manager for Thousand Springs State Park. "Now we have a hub for all the parks, not just the state parks but the National Parks and that hub will be able to service park visitors who come from every part of the country and out of the country.”

This unique area features something for people of all ages whether it is bird watching, nature hikes, flat water kayaking, extreme kayaking, a new disc golf course at Niagara Springs and history from remnants of the Oregon Trail and the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

I enjoyed my chat with Landrum and I couldn't resist asking him what he enjoys most about this area.

"That is like asking me who my favorite child is, I’ve got four kids and I love them all the same but I can honestly say when you drop when you drop down into Niagara Springs from the top that view is just unreal," said Landrum. "They all have a different personalities all four seasons of the year that is why people need to come back more than once to see them."

The visitors center includes an exhibit of the fossil beds as it just made sense to consolidate everything into one building, but that partnership also helped lighten the cost of this $2.5 million facility.

"Idaho is famous for keeping and attracting people who want to have abundant outdoor experiences," said Governor Brad Little at the grand opening ceremony on April 28. "These kind of quality recreational experiences are important.

Businesses in Hagerman expect the new visitors center to bring more tourism to the area and the importance of this new facility got showcased at the grand opening and following weeks as locals came to check out this new facility.

"If you have drove through Hagerman it is not a very big town, but it has like six different restaurants and each and every one is a little above average we have really good food here," said Landrum. "They will benefit and the partnerships we have with the local community is huge for all of us."

The Idaho State Parks and Recreation Department is also working to build a new 50-spot campground near the visitors center that should be completed sometime this fall.

Ritter Island is closed until Memorial Day weekend, that is when the busy season starts for the rangers at the Thousand Springs State Park Unit, right now the visitors center is open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Thursday through Monday.