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Construction project underway at Jefferson County Lake

Rigby

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Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

RIGBY – Jefferson County Lake in Rigby recently opened for the season, and many have noticed a construction project in the northeast corner of the park.

A $300,000 grant given to the county is providing funding for a wall.

Mickey Eames, the Parks and Recreation manager, tells EastIdahoNews.com traffic noise and accidents has been an ongoing concern for several years and the purpose of the wall is to provide privacy and protection to campers.

“We’ve had tires come off the back of trucks and go through the fence, bounce through the campgrounds and into the lake. It’s only a matter of time before we have something worse than that come through the net wire fence between (the park) and the highway,” Eames says.

Construction on the wall began in early May. Crews have already laid the foundation and put rebar in place in preparation for building a concrete wall. The wall will be 900 feet in length and 12 feet tall and will be stained when completed.

Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

“It’s going to make that side of our campground 100 percent nicer,” says Eames.

The grant was awarded to the county through the Idaho Parks and Recreation Department. A portion of the funds have been used for 50 new fire pits throughout the park.

The project is slated for completion in mid June.

The county is also working with a local vendor to add a water park on the northwest side some time in the near future, along with a climbing wall, slides and trampolines. Those additions have already been approved by the county, but the vendor is waiting on funding to begin the project, Eames says.

Last fall, the city began hauling in new sand to expand the beach line all the way around the park. Two new volleyball nets were recently added as well.

Upgrades and improvements to the park in recent years have made Jefferson County Lake an increasingly popular place to visit, according to Eames. She estimates between 10,000 and 15,000 people recreate at the park every year.

“We kind of got discovered when we had the eclipse two years ago. It was amazing the amount of foreigners and people from across the state and from all parts of the country who came here to camp,” says Eames. “As close as it is to West Yellowstone and Jackson, we’ve found many people come here from out of state and spend a couple nights here, go to Yellowstone, and then spend a couple nights on their way out.”

Eames says tourists make up about a fourth of the total annual visitors. Most of them are locals. Jefferson County Lake is a popular spot for reunions and company picnics, Eames says. The annual fireworks show always attracts a crowd. It will be held on June 29 this year.

Jefferson County Lake opened for the season May 1 to vehicle traffic. It will open for camping May 15.

The price of admission is $5 per car or a season pass is $30. If you’d like to purchase a pass or reserve a camp site, click here.

“It’s a great family place to come. Where else can you go for a summer for $30, and enjoy water, sand, picnics and camping,” says Eames.

The lake is currently empty, but Eames says it’s expected to be full by the end of May. It fills up naturally with sub water and feeds into the canal on the north side of the lake. Once the lake is full, boat and kayak rentals will be available. There will also be food vendors on-site.

The lake usually closes for the season some time in October.

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