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Headed outside this Memorial Day Weekend? Officials urge you to stay on the trails.

Unauthorized trails
Posted at 9:50 AM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 11:52:41-04

BOISE, Idaho — As people head outside this holiday weekend, officials with the Idaho Department of Lands say that unauthorized trail usage or creating unauthorized trails increases the amount of damage that is happening on endowment land. While one person going off the designated trails may seem harmless, each time it happens the amount of ground that becomes compacted increases.

The following pictures show the start of unauthorized trails and how they look as they grow.

thumbnail_How unauthorized trails grow.jpg
Unauthorized trails
An unauthorized trail that grew larger due to people using it more.

Endowment lands are different than other types of managed land. Idaho Department of Lands says they were given to Idaho at statehood for the purpose of financially supporting specific beneficiaries, primarily Idaho schools. The Idaho Constitution requires endowment land to be managed to maximize revenue for the beneficiaries.

One of the biggest revenue sources for the beneficiaries is timber sales. For this resource to grow, trees must be able to grow. Unauthorized trails create a compacted surface on the forest floor, making tree growth on the trails impossible without restoration efforts.

Unauthorized trail use is not allowed and can lead to closures as the lands are restored. There are recreation opportunities that exist on Idaho Endowment Land, you can read more about those by clicking here.