Heyburn State Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Heyburn State Park
Idaho State Park
Heyburn State Park, Idaho.jpg
Heyburn State Park
Named for: Weldon B. Heyburn
Country  United States
State  Idaho
County Benewah
Location Plummer
 - elevation 2,385 ft (727 m) [1]
 - coordinates 47°21′N 116°46′W / 47.35°N 116.76°W / 47.35; -116.76Coordinates: 47°21′N 116°46′W / 47.35°N 116.76°W / 47.35; -116.76 [1]
Highest point
 - elevation 3,366 ft (1,026 m)
Lowest point
 - elevation 2,128 ft (649 m)
Total area 8,106 acres (3,280 ha)
 - Land 5,774 acres (2,337 ha)
 - Water 2,332 acres (944 ha)
Established 1908 [2]
Management Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
IUCN category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Location in Idaho
Website: Heyburn State Park

Heyburn State Park is an Idaho state park in Benewah County, Idaho in the United States. The park, founded 110 years ago in 1908, is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest.[3] There are 5,744 acres (23.2 km2) of land and 2,332 acres (9.4 km2) of water in the park on three lakes. Heyburn Lake State Park is open for year-round recreation including camping, boating, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and picnicking.

A dam constructed on the Spokane River in Spokane 112 years ago in 1906 raised the level of Lake Coeur d'Alene and connected it to the three lakes (Benewah, Chatcolet, and Hidden) of the park.[4] The surface elevation of the lakes is 2,125 feet (648 m) above sea level.


The Coeur d'Alene were the first inhabitants in what is now Heyburn State Park. Originally members called themselves, "Schitsu'umsh," meaning "The Discovered People" or "Those Who Are Found Here."[5] The Natives found an abundance of fish in the three lakes of the park as well as in the Saint Joe River. Waterfowl inhabited the wetlands and deer, bear and various birds were plentiful in the grassy meadows and slopes of the surrounding mountains.[3] Prior to the arrival of European American settlers, the Coeur d'Alene lived in what would become the Idaho Panhandle. The first Europeans to encounter the Coeur d'Alene were French traders and trappers.[6] They found the tribe to be experienced and skilled at trading, thus the name "Coeur d'Alene," meaning "heart of the awl." One French trader described the tribe as "the greatest traders in the world."[6] The tribe ranged over an area of over 4 million acres (16,000 km²) of grassy hills, camas-prairie, wooded mountains, lakes, marshes and river habitat in northern Idaho, eastern Washington and western Montana.[6]

The Coeur d'Alene lands were reduced to approximately 600,000 acres (940 sq mi; 2,430 km2) in 1873 when President Ulysses Grant established the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. Successive government acts trimmed their property to 345,000 acres (540 sq mi; 1,400 km2)[5] Heyburn State Park was formed from 5,500 acres (22 km2) of land and 2,333 acres (9.44 km2) of water that were taken from the Coeur d'Alene on April 20, 1908 when President William H. Taft deeded the land to the state for the creation of Heyburn State Park named for U.S. Senator Weldon Heyburn of Idaho.[3] Heyburn had envisioned Chatcolet National Park, which passed the Senate but stalled in the House.[4]

Construction of many of the park's facilities was performed during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps.[7][8][9] Members at Camp SP-1 built a lodge, roads, bridges, trails, picnic areas and shelters and campgrounds; many are still in use.[3]


Heyburn State Park is home to a variety of habitats. Ponderosa pines, some over 400 years old, are on the mountain sides overlooking grassy hills that are covered with wildflowers. Other trees in the park included cedar, hemlock and white pine. The margins of the lake are marshy homes to wildflowers and plants.[3]

Activities and amenities[edit]

Heyburn State Park is open for year-round recreation. The 72-mile (116 km) Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike trail passes through the park. It crosses the Saint Joe River in the park on a 3,100-foot (940 m) trestle. The river and Hidden Bay, Chatcole Lake, and Benewah Lake, all sections of the larger Lake Coeur d'Alene, are open for fishing. Common game fish include bass, pike and pan fish. The lakes are open to boating, water skiing, canoeing and sailing. Rocky Point Marina provides a public boat launch, fuel dock, and sells boating and fishing supplies.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Heyburn State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "State Lands in Idaho: History". Idaho Museum of Natural History. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Heyburn State Park". Idaho Parks and Recreation. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Heyburn State Park". Outdoor Idaho: State of Our Parks. Idaho Public Television. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Overview". The Coeur d'Alene Tribe. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Ancestral Lands". The Coeur d'Alene Tribe. Retrieved October 29, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Heyburn State Park has beauty". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. August 6, 1937. p. 7. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ "New facilities ready at Heyburn State Park". Spokesnan-Review. Spokane, Wash. June 21, 1960. p. 6. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ Slade, Lou M. (July 22, 1962). "Heyburn has sylvan beauty". Spokesman-Review: Inland Empire Magazine. Spokane, Wash. p. 7. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 

External links[edit]