BOISE, Idaho — Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer recreation season. State and federal land managers urge you to enjoy the outdoors, but to do so responsibly.
The Recreate Responsibly Idaho partners would like to remind Idahoans to be safe and respectful of others as they enjoy hiking, biking, fishing and camping this holiday weekend. To safely recreate, people should keep six feet away from those outside of their household. Basic social distancing should be practiced on trails, parks, greenbelts, beaches, river banks or anywhere people may gather.
At Lucky Peak State Park, crowds are anticipated on Sunday and Monday, when the weather is expected to be best. Staff hopes to avoid a replay of recent weekends when many visitors neglected safeguards.
“It was like the pandemic never happened,” said Surat Nicol, park manager.
Boat ramps like the park’s Spring Shores are pinch points, where social distancing becomes more difficult and the importance of avoiding crowding and using face masks is amplified.
“We want people to come out and have a good time, but to be prepared and be patient,” Nicol said. “It’s going to take a little longer to launch boats and to retrieve. We ask people to keep their distance.”
Across Idaho, state and federal lands and recreational areas remain open for day use, and some federal campgrounds at lower elevations will reopen for the holiday weekend. A list of recreational options and their status can be found at the Recreate Responsibly Idaho website. The partnership is a coalition of natural resource agencies, backed by Gov. Brad Little, promoting safe recreation.
If you want to recreate, keep in mind the following:
- Practice social distancing – staying six feet away from others, the only exceptions being immediate family members and housemates.
- Enjoy the outdoors close to home, whenever possible.
- Stay home if you’re sick to prevent putting yourself or others at risk.
- Check before traveling to a campground, a forest or a fishing hole if you decide to go someplace.
- Spread out – if a trailhead or boat launch in congested, find another place or come back during off-peak times.
- Bring supplies (water, food hand sanitizer, toilet paper) to be self-sufficient, ensuring you have a good time and avoiding unnecessary contact with others.
- Prepare to pack out your trash as garbage service may be unavailable.
- Avoid-high risk activities beyond your skills and experience (climbing sketchy terrain, riding an expert-level trail) to ensure medical resources are available for the virus response.