Wednesday June 5, 2019

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Date:                     June 5, 2019

Contact:               Jennifer Okerlund, Communications Manager

208-514-2254 / sends e-mail)


HAGERMAN (June 5, 2019)— The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), have formally agreed to a historic, long-term collaboration that will enrich the historic and recreational offerings in the region and have positive economic impact within the Hagerman Valley.


The cornerstone of the partnership will be the construction of a 3,400 square foot Visitor Center for Thousand Springs State Park and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, allowing both agencies to share customer service and interpretive space.


The State of Idaho will build the Visitor Center, while NPS has agreed to pay a lease fee to the State of Idaho annually for the next 25 years for use of the shared space, making it a unique agreement, one of only a few that exist in the nation.


Out of more than 400 NPS properties across the U.S., only a handful are co-locations with a state entity to leverage human, financial, and historic resources.


“By linking the many units of Thousand Springs State Park with the world-class paleontology assets of the National Park Service’s Hagerman Fossil Beds, we are leveraging our resources to provide better programs to visitors while saving significant taxpayer dollars,” says David Langhorst, IDPR Director.


Initial funding for the project was made available in part through an Idaho RV Fund Grant. The use of Idaho RV Funding was reviewed, ranked, and prioritized for funding by the Idaho RV Fund Advisory Committee in March 2019.


“We are excited about partnering with IDPR to co-locate our interpretation and education services at Billingsley Creek, thereby providing a centralized point for orientation, interpretation, and recreation for visitors to the Hagerman Valley,” said Wade Vagias, Superintendent of Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.


The agencies look forward to strengthening their community partnerships across the region.


“We anticipate the new Visitor Center will become the informational hub for all of the outdoor experiences in the region, generating additional interest and visitation and we’re confident that the improvements will be very positive economically for the surrounding communities,” added Langhorst.


Learn more about Idaho’s State Parks and Recreation Programs and follow the progress at Thousand Springs State Park online.