More Idaho Power campsites, recreation sites reopening Friday

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 18:46:54-04

Several developed campgrounds in Hells Canyon and at C.J. Strike Reservoir south of Mountain Home will open Friday as Idaho Power continues a phased reopening of recreational facilities that closed in March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other popular day-use areas, including Twin Falls Park and boat ramp and the company’s park at Thousand Springs in the Hagerman Valley are also expected to open Friday, as long as the state’s current reopening plan remains in place and the company feels it is safe to do so.

Exceptions are Copperfield Campground in Hells Canyon and Scout Park at C.J. Strike. Those campgrounds will remain closed until further notice. Access across Swan Falls Dam and to the museum there also remains closed. They will be among the last sites to reopen because they are close to Idaho Power facilities where power plant employees are most likely to come into contact with visitors.

An updated list of which sites are open is available here. Idaho Power urges visitors to follow social distancing guidelines, especially when using common spaces such as docks and picnic areas. Portable restrooms will be available. Campground restrooms and showers will remain closed for now.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors back to our campgrounds and other public recreation facilities,” said Fred Noland, Idaho Power’s Recreation Supervisor. “The early phases of our reopening have gone smoothly, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and their efforts to follow the health guidelines with respect to social distancing.”

Idaho Power’s recreation staff has received additional training and protective equipment to enable them to work with visitors as safely as possible, but the company continues to urge visitors to practice proper social distancing.

The company owns more than 60 recreational sites along the Snake River. All were closed in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company began a phased reopening of these sites May 1. The openings parallel the phases of Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s reopening plan, which gradually relaxes rules on the size of gatherings. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation previously announced it will reopen its campgrounds May 30.

Visitors should check the Idaho Power website to make sure their destination is open before traveling, as dates could change. This will not affect access to the company’s offices, which remain closed to the public.