September 14, 2023

Warm Springs Preserve

At the base of Bald Mountain, along the confluence of the Big Wood River and Warm Springs Creek, Warm Springs Preserve is a cherished community gathering space. The Preserve, a former golf course, was slated for development and used informally as a dog park. The City of Ketchum led a campaign to raise a total of $9.5 million for the Preserve. With support from the Wood River Land Trust, Spur Community Foundation, and donations from over 900 members….the Preserve is now protected for all to enjoy. In April 2022, the City paid $8 million to purchase the property from Bob Brennan and put $1 million in reserve for repairs to the extremely outdated irrigation system. The acquisition also makes an additional 15-acres of beautiful riparian woodlands along the southern floodplain of Warm Springs Creek just above the confluence of the Big Wood River available to the Ketchum community. The Preserve is used by a variety of users, from dog walkers, disc golf players, Nordic skiers and more. Due to the historic use of the property, the City committed to the community to restore the environment where possible, to diversify access and enhance basic facilities. To enhance this beloved landscape, the vision plan takes careful consideration of the community’s dreams for the Preserve, and takes those ideas into an inclusive, accessible and restorative place to gather. Now, the opportunity is to restore the creek so it functions naturally; offering better improved habitat for wildlife and better access for our community.

How Will We Measure Success?






Stream Restoration 

Increase acres of floodplain connectivity, #/size/depth of pools, observed species richness (wildlife + vegetation)

Water Efficiency

Reduce managed water consumption (target reduction % or gal/acre)


Hazard + Flood Safety

Reduce frequency and extent of flooding in residential areas; reduce water speed, and bank erosion.


Visitor Experience

Increase access, usage, and activity types (access for all)


Community Engagement:

The master plan vision was developed based in a deep understanding of the connections between ecological systems and human communities. Between July 2022 and February 2023 the community participated in a range of virtual and in- person events and workshops to discuss and give input on the future of the Preserve.

The project was informed from two primary perspectives that were synthesized into design concept and are merged into the final master plan:

  • A scientific analysis to determine what
  • is appropriate for the site
  • Stakeholder outreach to determine the community desires for the site.

Support The Preserve!

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Community commitments made during the acquisition and funding of the Preserve:

Community Commitments:

  • New Irrigation System That Reduces Water Use
  • Flood Mitigation
  • Restoration of Riparian Zone & Floodplain Adjacent to Warm Springs Creek
  • Creek & Habitat Restoration
  • Passive Park for Open Space in Perpetuity
  • Off-leash Dog Access
  • Informal Activities (disc golf, dog walking, etc.)
  • Informal Gathering Space (picnic tables, etc.)
  • Nordic Trails
  • Public Restroom

What It's Going To Be:

A Space that Enhances Both the Natural Habitat of the Preserve and Experience for Visitors and their Furry Companions.




The proposed vision for Warm Springs Preserve builds upon the substantial community comments, feedback and support. The conceptual design envisions a rich matrix of experiential spaces and dynamic ecologies that span the unique topographies and micro-climates throughout the Preserve. Project Partners and Design Team developed six principles that describe the goals, values and themes universally important to the community and against which we tested design scenarios.

The final design includes ample off-leash dog access, creek and habitat restoration, new water-conscious irrigation system, walking trails, informal gatherings and activities, Nordic ski and snowshoe trails, and public restrooms. Development, organized sports and reserved private or commercial events would be restricted.


Project Principles:


Create a Preserve that is Connected and Accessible to All.


Design for Success Over Time


Support All-Season

Multi-Functional Use


Demonstrate Leadership through Regeneration of Healthy Ecosystems for People, Plants & Animals


Restore the Creek and Floodplain


Celebrate & Educate about the Past, Present and Future of the Preserve