U.S. 30 was once the only way to travel from one end of the Magic Valley to the other as it wound through farms and little communities following the old Oregon Trail south of the Snake River canyon. Then came the interstate and the draw of higher-speed travel.
Decades later, many travelers again are finding out what it was like on the highways, discovering the local culture and seeing the natural wonders hidden from drivers on Interstate 84. It’s these small wonders the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway committee is highlighting with the addition of two new informational kiosks constructed at both ends of the byway. They were dedicated May 4.
“Driving from Buhl to Bliss today, I could remember the pre-interstate days,” Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little said during the ribbon cutting ceremony in Bliss. “Bliss was a rest stop for us back when we didn’t make this drive as fast, or as often.
“Traveling the byway allows people to see the character of Idaho. The business, agriculture, wine and trout industry that make Idaho what it is," Little added.
The byway follows U.S. 30 from Bliss east through Hagerman, Buhl, Filer, Twin Falls and Kimberly and ends on Idaho 50 where it intersects I-84.
About 40 people attended each of the ribbon cuttings at the new kiosks in the city of Bliss and just south of the Hansen Bridge on Idaho 50. Ceremonies included representatives from Idaho’s U.S. Congressional delegation, several state legislators, city and county governments and local economic groups.
“We couldn’t have done it without a lot of work from everyone involved from Hansen to Bliss,” committee chair Debbie Dane said. “This has been a partnership from the beginning to help make it come together between the local governments and people, U.S. Parks and Fish and Wildlife departments. Everyone came together to write letters of support to make this happen.”