New Thousand Springs Visitor Center to Provide More Opportunities, Convenience to VisitorsFriday April 22, 2022
HAGERMAN — Idaho Gov. Brad Little will oversee the April 28, 2022 opening of the new Visitor Center that will enhance the guest experience at Thousand Springs State Park and the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument by putting rangers and resources in a single location.
“The Hagerman Valley has wonderful recreational and historical resources, spread about a large and scenic area,” said Susan Buxton, director of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. “This center will become a hub, the central place where visitors learn about what the area offers so they can plan which adventures to experience.”
The dedication will occur on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at 1 p.m. at the new center, 17970 Highway 30, Hagerman, ID 83332.
Thursday’s opening of the $2.3 million, 3,400-square-foot structure provides new opportunities for historical interpretation, improved recreational access and economic vitality for the Hagerman Valley. The center consolidates access to the six units of Thousand Springs – Malad Gorge, Kelton Trail, Billingsley Creek, Ritter Island, Niagara Springs, and the Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve. It also provides better access to the Hagerman Fossil Beds, bringing information and interpretation close to the archaeological site.
“We are absolutely delighted with the partnership project at Thousand Springs State Park,” said Wade Vagias, Superintendent, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service. “Starting today, our two agencies will together provide recreation and interpretive services to visitors about the many wonders of the Hagerman Valley and the NPS is looking forward to collaborating with our IDPR colleagues for years to come at the new park.”
The center represents a novel partnership between the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) and the National Park Service (NPS), which have agreed to co-locate to provide more services to visitors at less cost. IDPR built the center and NPS agreed to lease space in the building for the next 25 years. Only a handful of such agreements are believed to exist in the nation.
“By linking the many unique elements of Thousand Springs and the marvels of the fossil beds, we provide a richer experience at a lower cost,” IDPR’s Buxton said.
In addition to the center, construction of a new, 50-space Billingsley Creek Campground at the park is underway. The $5 million facility is expected to open in the fall of this year.
Learn more about Idaho’s State Parks and Recreation Programs and follow the progress at Thousand Springs State Park online: www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/news. For more information about Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, please visit: www.nps.gov/hafo and follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/HagermanFossilBedsNPS.