Astoria Hot Springs and campground was a recreational mainstay for locals and others traveling through Alpine, Wyo., and Jackson Hole before it disappeared in 1999.
A nonprofit organization is poised to rebuild the area into a new community park.
Astoria Park Conservancy executive director Paige Byron Curry said the Trust for Public Land’s fundraising efforts have reached 93 percent of its goal and should obtain the other 7 percent in the next few weeks to enable construction work to begin “between now and March.” The land to build the park was offered to the trust by the Snake River Sporting Club, which had an option to buy the available property. The Trust for Public Land worked to get the land rezoned and raise the money and gather public input on what residents would like to see in a future public recreational park.
“That was an exciting process,” Byron Curry said. “We ended up engaging over 2,500 residents through designs inputs and local schools and events on the property and other partnerships.”
Astoria Hot Springs sits on the banks of the Snake River 15 miles east and north of Alpine and 15 miles south of Jackson off U.S. Highway 89. The spot features several natural hot springs along the river.
The former park was built in the 1960s and became a go-to recreation spot for the community for decades. The park offered a swimming pool, snack bar, hot pools and camping. It was a popular spot for high school reunions and swimming lessons.
“I grew up going to Astoria. I learned how to swim there as a young girl,” Byron Curry said. “That’s part of why I took this job.”
She said the goal is to keep the new park affordable and attractive to families in the neighboring communities. Park plans include 5 miles of trails, gathering places for parties and picnics, surrounding the hot springs facility. The hot springs will include five different soaking pools varying in temperature and size to appeal to families with different ages.
“In a lot of ways it will be very similar to a county or city park,” she said. “It will be run by Astoria Park Conservancy. We’re a nonprofit organization with a mission that is pretty focused on public benefit to make sure people can access Astoria affordably.”
Byron Curry said the hot springs will have a small fee to users, but the rest of the park will be free and open dawn to dusk.
She said the most hopeful projection for finishing construction on the park would be by the end of the year, but “I think it’s more realistic we’re looking at an early 2020 opening.”
“It’s been really amazing to hear all of the memories and the stories and the excitement people have shared with us over the last couple of years surrounding the rebuilding of the hot springs,” Byron Curry said.