Rick Just

Idaho’s State Park System: An Accidental Treasure

In 1908, Idaho’s first state park was created by an Act of Congress. It was named for Sen. Weldon B. Heyburn, who famously said “[state parks] are always a subject of political embarrassment.” This presentation traces the roots of the system from the Harriman Alaska Expedition in 1899, through the war years of the Farragut Naval Training Station, to the brilliant gift deed Gov. Robert E. Smylie arranged with Roland and Averell Harriman to create a dedicated park agency resulting in today’s system of 30 state parks.