Ritter Island State Park, Thousand Springs
Hagerman Area, Gooding County
- Grant: 2007
Location: Thousand Springs, near Hagerman. Take Exit 155 (Wendell) off I-84. After exiting, take a right and drive for three miles. Take a left onto 1500 E. and drive for 2.5 miles, then turn right onto 3200 S. Take this road for two miles. You will see a sign at the end of the road. Turn left at the sign, followed by a quick right.
The Ritter Island/Minnie Miller Farm property was part of the Thousand Springs Preserve purchased by the Nature Conservancy. It is now part of Thousand Springs State Park. In 1918 Minnie Miller purchased what is now the state park at sheriff’s auction. A successful businesswoman and farmer, Minnie Miller was also concerned about protecting the natural wonders found at Thousand Springs. In 1944 her classic dairy farm was featured in National Geographic magazine as one of the state’s most impressive. Hundreds attended her annual ice cream social and heard educational and agricultural speakers. The farm passed to Judge Wallis Ritter in 1954. For the next 31 years Judge Ritter and his heirs fought diversion of the farm’s free flowing springs. In 1986 the Nature Conservancy purchased the farm for $1.2 million and in December of 2006 the farm with 300 acres including Ritter Island and 2 miles of Middle Snake riverfront passed to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The original farmstead includes a two-story stone farmhouse, three small cottages, a well-preserved dairy farm, and other farm buildings. The annual ice cream social and arts festival is still held on the site.