MELBA, Idaho – Each year thousands of school children in southwest Idaho take field trips to Celebration Park, Idaho’s only archaeological park nestled along the Snake River in Canyon County.
Construction is well underway on the Canyon Crossroads Transportation Museum, which should make those fields trips even more enjoyable.
The new museum is scheduled to open this fall and features and indoor-outdoor classroom, exhibit hall and a dorm that will hold 16 students, most likely from Boise State, studying the cultural and natural history found there.
Tom Bicak is the director of the Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways, an agency that has just three full-time staff members and 14 part-timers. He is excited about the museum and what it will mean for the nearly 9,000 children that come to the park each year.
Another things that excites Bicak is the little-known Idaho Oregon Water Trail that extends 206 miles along the Snake River in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon.
The water trail was developed more than three-and-half years ago by a coalition of government and business entities. Bicak says the concept is similar to the Boise River Trail system. It is for people to explore, enjoy and respect, but is only accessible by water.
The water trail begins at Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry, Idaho and ends at Farewell Bend State Park in Huntington, Oregon.
Along the 206-mile route there are lots of recreational opportunities for motorized and non-motorized boaters, and commercial opportunities for river communities like Marsing, Homedale, Payette, Parma, Glenns Ferry and Nyssa, Oregon.
For example, Bicak says significant improvements have been made to Martin Landing west of Parma. There will be better access for boaters, a picnic area for day use and a RV camp that is scheduled to open in early July. The area encompasses 68 acres. Bicak says several government agencies help fund the improvements including the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation – RV Fund.
Improvements were also made at Bernard’s Ferry between Walter’s Ferry and Marsing in Owyhee County. There is a new boat ramp, dock, restrooms and paved parking at the site, which opened this spring to accommodate recreationists.
The coalition has also been working to get better boating access to the Snake River in Payette. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has recently agreed to fund improvements there.
In additions to improving access for boaters, the group is working to improve educational opportunities at the various sites. The new museum at Celebration Park is one step toward achieving that goal. The museum is slated to be open by Oct. 1.