Idaho Power to begin staged reopening of boat ramps, recreation sites

Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 18:54:36-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Power will begin reopening over a dozen boat launches and day-use areas on May 1. The openings are part of a phased process of sites that were closed in March as part of measures to limit potential spread of novel coronavirus.

Developed campgrounds and many parks and day-use sites will remain closed. Visitors should check the list of facilities ahead of time to make sure their destination is open.

Several factors, including guidance for governor's offices in Idaho and Oregon, led to the decision of which sites to open. Proximity to hydroelectric plants and the ability to control access were also considered.

“We have been working on a plan to reopen these sites in a way that is safe for the public and our employees,” said Fred Noland, Recreation Supervisor for Idaho Power. “We look forward to getting everything open, but we are taking a cautious approach to make sure we have the proper protocols and training in place.”

Access at some sites will be limited ensure social distancing guidelines can be followed.

“We have an obligation to limit potential exposure for our employees, especially power plant operators, who may come into contact with the public at many of our recreational sites,” Noland said. “Those folks enable us to fulfill our primary mission, which is to continue providing reliable electrical service 24–7.”

The next phase of site openings depends in part on whether the trend in COVID-19 cases continues to decline.

Here is the list of Idaho Power sites opening on May 1:

  • Hells Canyon: Woodhead Boat Launch (no campground access); Upper Brownlee dispersed campsites
  • Swan Falls: Reservoir (upstream) boat launch (no park or campsite access; downstream launch remains closed)
  • C.J. Strike: Cottonwood Park boat launch (no campground access); Crane Falls East boat launch; Loveridge Bridge North and South boat launches
  • Hagerman Area: Bliss Reservoir boat launch; Bancroft Springs day-use area; Shoestring Bridge take-out and day-use area; Relish Beach take-out and day-use area; Owsley Bridge boat launch, Waterfront Park day-use area; Banbury Springs day-use area
  • American Falls: Trenner Park and dock (American Falls day-use Park remains closed)