Idaho State Parks remain open for day use recreation, but camping will end on Friday at 5 p.m., which is in keeping with Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order.
The camping closure will last through May 15, and no new reservations for campsites will be taken. The shutdown could be extended, depending on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak.
A combination of factors led to the closure decision, said David Langhorst, director of Idaho Parks and Recreation. Besides the stay-home order, concerns arose over the ability to maintain social distancing within concentrated campsites. Also, some communities expressed concerns about attracting out-of-area visitors and the potential for increased virus transmission.
Despite the camping closure, outdoor activity is encouraged — but Gov. Little and public health officials urge people to recreate close to home — and to follow best practices, such as keeping 6 feet away from others and avoiding groups of 10 or more persons. Hiking, biking and running can relieve stress for those who are in good health and seeking a physical outlet.
For those venturing out into rural areas, please remember to bring your own supplies and pack out what you bring in.
In addition to the camping closure, the department will suspend its recreational education programs for boating and off-highway vehicles to observe social distancing and avoid bringing groups together. Prior to Wednesday, classes had been restricted to 10 people.