History and Beauty: The Story of the Idaho State Parks

Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date


Degree Title

Master of Applied Historical Research



Major Advisor

Todd Shallat


In 1908, Idaho Senator Weldon Heyburn attempted to create a national park in Idaho. He did not succeed but his endeavor did create the first state park in Idaho, and the Pacific Northwest. Although parks in Idaho began big, with Heyburn State Park, it took over 40 years for the state to truly create a park system to serve Idaho's residents and visitors. Idaho has used its state parks to preserve beautiful and unusual places that bind the regions of Idaho with common historical threads. This masters project began as a graduate internship with the state parks department. The department commissioned the project to help manage, preserve and plan for the future of these special places with respect to Idaho's past. The project provides a park-by-park review of these beautiful places—a chronicle of the history of these beautiful places to help Idahoans protect them.