Park History

The land the park sits on originally belonged to the Youren family, one of Garden Valley’s old pioneer families. They owned and farmed the land from the 1880s through four generations. Before that time, the verdant meadow by the river was an occasional seasonal camping site for members of the Shoshone/Bannock tribe, probably during the annual salmon runs.

The mountain streams were full of beaver, which attracted trappers and fur traders; later followed by gold seekers, and eventually the first pioneering families. Harry Youren had a collection of Native American artifacts, including arrow heads, turned up when plowing the park meadow.

He once uncovered the rusted remains of an old flint lock musket. He showed it to Roy Buckley, who owned a local gun shop. They agreed it had to have come from the fur trapping era, and speculated about what could have caused it to be abandoned in the meadow.

By 1998, members of the community had become alarmed at the rapid rate of development, and realized that if the community was ever to secure the land for a park, the time was now. Several efforts were made involving different parcels of land. Finally a group of citizens, lead by Jamie Anderson, negotiated the purchase of the park property. Members of the community dug deep into their pockets for donations. They secured help from the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands in the form of a loan, co-signed by Don and Linda Weilmunster.

In the early 2000s, the community voted to create and fund the Garden Valley Recreation District, which has responsibility for maintaining the park and walking trail.

For more information on the early history of Garden Valley there are several books available through the Garden Valley Library.