top of page


Trash to Treasure in Canyon County: Celebration Park Turns 25

In 1990, Canyon County Parks and Waterways Director Tom Bicak and then-Sheriff Gary Putnam rode motorcycles to a bluff overlooking the Snake River. Below them, strewn across the river bank, was a 2-acre mess of abandoned vehicles, construction trash and other garbage.

“It was a dump. It seriously was,” said Bicak, who at the time was a newly hired recreation planner and Parks and Waterways’ sole employee. “But it was for sale. That was the good part.”

“You ought to build a park in this place,” Putnam told him.

“That really resonated with me,” Bicak said.

That “dump” is now the unique and vibrant Celebration Park that encompasses 722 acres and hosts hundreds of eager students every week. They learn the history of the Snake River, its historical significance as a transportation crossroads and life for its earliest inhabitants. But it’s not all sitting and listening. They also get to use an atlatl to launch spear-like darts at targets to replicate how Native Americans hunted big-game animals.