JACKSON, WY — Celebration filled the air at Astoria Saturday afternoon.

Before the Jackson Hole Ski Club announced this year’s Pole Pedal Paddle winners, a group of athletes, conservationists, politicians, and hot springs fans gathered at the site of the new Astoria Hot Springs Park for the ceremonial groundbreaking. Five key players dug golden shovels into freshly-thawed ground: Astoria Park Conservancy (APC) Executive Director Paige Byron Curry, Teton County Commissioner Board Chair Natalia Macker, APC Board Chair Bill Schwartz, Snake River Sporting Club owner Christopher Swann, Trust for Public Land National board member Chris Lea, and APC board member/TPL Project Director Chris Deming (Deming actually let his daughter do the digging for him).

Astoria Park groundbreaking ceremony. Photo: Jonathan Crosby

“Hoback was my first Wyoming home,” Commissioner Macker said in an opening statement on Saturday. Macker recognized the hard work the Board of County Commissioners, planning department, and APC and TPL put into making a new park at Astoria a reality. Astoria Park Conservancy and Trust for Public Land have been working since 2013 to bring back the riverfront park that locals loved so much in the ’90s.

Teton County Commissioner Board Chair Natalia Macker speaks at the Astoria Park groundbreaking. Photo: Jonathan Crosby

“This is about the balance of people, place, and wildlife that Teton County does so well,” Macker said. Astoria Park will be “one of Teton County’s proudest moments for many many years to come.”

Construction of the park will begin in earnest as soon as the ground is thawed enough, and, weather and conditions permitting, fingers are crossed for a May 2020 grand opening.

Rendering of the leisure pool, picnic area, and tot spot. DHM Design

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter. She just completed a master's in journalism from Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.