Reviving Ashley Nature Park: A Testament to Unity and Community Spirit

Earlier this September, BHI collaborated with the Thompsen House of Hope, a Roosevelt-based faith-driven addiction recovery center, to bring Ashley Nature Park back to its former splendor. The park, once a thriving community hub sponsored by Kiwanis International, had been lost to time. But through joint efforts, it has been reborn, symbolizing the transformative power of community collaboration.

On September 12th, an astounding 140 volunteers came together for an intensive restoration day. They successfully refurbished trails, crafted new picnic areas, and added beautiful, nature-inspired installations to the park. The goal was not just to beautify the park but to reawaken its legacy and sustain the community’s commitment to this natural sanctuary.

Justin Parker, Vice President of BHI, said, “The park held immense potential. Together, we’ve turned that potential into a reality we’re all proud of.” Leo Thorsen of Thompsen House of Hope echoed the sentiment, stating, “Partnering with BHI to restore this gem was an honor. We revitalized more than just a park; we breathed life into a legacy.”

The idea for this community-focused partnership was born in the spirit of generosity and goodwill. It began when BHI approached local organizations asking if there were projects they could contribute to. BHI frequently does charitable work, but was seeking a more meaningful way to give back this time around. That’s when Thompsen House reached out. 

Leo Thorsen, the Residence Manager, recalled, “We’d been interested in partnering with BHI and initially approached them, asking how we might assist them.” But BHI Chief Operating Officer Brett Haslem flipped the script, posing the question, “What can we do for you?”

It was in this meeting, learning more about Thompsen House and touring their facility, that inspiration struck. “The stories of transformation, the spirit of hope, it gripped us,” Haslem shared.  “We were so moved by their work that we not only wanted to partner up with them for the Ashley Nature Park project, but also began discussions on how we could further support their cause of addiction recovery.” 

Ashley Nature Park, situated just north of Vernal, had long been a place of natural beauty and serenity. Established by Kiwanis International, the park had endured its share of challenges over the years, from its closure after the 1984 floods to its eventual restoration efforts by the Uintah Mountain Club in 2000.

This recent collaboration between BHI and Thompsen House of Hope builds upon a rich history of community effort to preserve the park. Their combined dedication ensures that Ashley Nature Park remains a cherished space, fostering connections with nature and serving as a testament to the boundless possibilities that emerge when community groups come together.

Beyond the restoration, Thompsen House has been an unwavering beacon of hope since 2018, offering a comprehensive 12-month addiction recovery program. They have helped over 130 men, with a significant number achieving sobriety and returning as volunteers, contributing to the community that once supported them.

Both BHI and Thompsen House believe in the power of human connection. “We have always believed in the transformative nature of unity and togetherness,” Justin Parker emphasized. The Ashley Nature Park project epitomizes this spirit.

This collaboration serves as a potent reminder of the magic that can be achieved when community organizations unite with a shared purpose. Together, BHI and Thompsen House have not only reinvigorated a cherished local space but have also illuminated the broader message that when passion, resources, and dedication converge, remarkable transformations are possible.

#NatureRestoration #CommunityBuilding #GiveBack #ConservationEfforts #Volunteerism

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