About Island Park
Island Park is a resort town in corner of Idaho next to Yellowstone National Park. It lies along U.S. Highway 20, which is the major route to Yellowstone from the southwest, and shares the same forested climate that Yellowstone has, making it a natural travel destination. It lies within the Henry’s Fork Caldera, an ancient volcanic caldera formed by the same hot spot that formed Yellowstone. The rim of the volcanic caldera can still be seen today, and goes in a circle around the southern end of Island Park.
Island Park was incorporated in 1947 by the owners of lodges in the area, mainly to circumvent an Idaho law prohibiting the sale of liquor outside of city limits. It took in just a skinny strip of land along the highway, and so Island Park boasts the longest Main Street in America, being 33 miles long, while the town is only 500 feet wide over most of that length. The highway was later rebuilt and rerouted, leaving much of the city limits off the main highway.
Island Park and the surrounding area is covered with forests and green meadows, and several rivers and creeks run through it. Henry’s Lake is a natural lake near the northern end of the town, and the Henry’s Fork Outlet flows out of it. Another river, the Henry’s Fork River, begins at Big Spring, just east of Island Park. The spring is so large that a river flows right out of it. The Henry’s Fork Outlet converges with it and then they flow into the Island Park Reservoir. The Buffalo River, also fed by springs, joins just below the dam. The Warm River joins the Henry’s Fork not far to the southeast of Island Park. With all the water, the Island Park is filled with vegetation and wildlife.
Island Park had a population of 215 in the year 2000. It appears to be much larger than this because of the many summer homes. Several places along the highway had names prior to the formation of the town, Pineview, Last Chance, Pond’s Lodge, Phillip’s Lodge, Mack’s Inn, Island Park Lodge and Valley View. These all lie along U.S. Highway 20. Herriman State Park is also next to Island Park. U.S. Highway 20 heads north into Montana, just a few miles from Island Park, and south to Ashton.
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See also the Wikipedia article on Island Park.