Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Zachary White

Master Plan inches forward


Dennis Nierzwicki

Two geese mull about near the hot springs in the State Park.

The Hot Springs State Park Master Plan Steering Committee met last week to discuss the future of Hot Springs State Park.

State parks officials say even though great progress has been made, nothing definitive has been done.

"These aren't even draft plans yet, these are concepts," state parks spokesman Todd Thibodeau said.

The master plan is still in the early stages of development, with community members working with park officials to figure out what type of plan will be best for the community during the next 20 years.

Coordinators from Wyoming State Parks have created three outlines for a state park plan. There is a limited action plan, which aims to do maintenance to the park and to keep things at a status quo; an adaptation plan, which aims to make conservative changes; a legacy plan, which has a wide range of possible changes, upgrades, and updates to the park.

Currently none of these possibilities are any further along than the initial stages.

"Right now we have very, very draft recommendations," state parks spokeswoman Mabel Jones said.

However, State Park Superintendent Kevin Skates said he sees the master plan moving in a particular direction.

"The feedback we've gotten is that people want change," he said.

Among the ideas for change are plans for an overnight camping area, increased parking on state park land near the armory and trails within the park.

"One of the things we're hearing a need for is more trails in the park," Jones said.

She went on to point out that the trails, if added, would loop around and through each other in order to give visitors more miles of trails within the same amount of space.

But these ideas are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the final master plan document, which won't be finished until some time in 2016.

But irrespective of what changes in particular take place, both state and local officials are hearing from community members who are looking for new ways of attracting tourists to visit the park and community.

"I think that everyone kind of agrees that there needs to be some new curb appeal," Skates said.

Community members are being asked to voice their opinions about the future of the state park during a community meeting May 11 in the Thermopolis Middle School commons. There will be an open house forum from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., but times are subject to change.

Community members can also give their input by visiting and clicking on the Community Forum tab.


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