(Recreate Responsibly Idaho Press Release, September 2, 2022)
BOISE – Hot weather, tinder-dry conditions, and recreationists flocking to the Idaho outdoors in potentially record-breaking numbers means responsible recreation is even more critical for everyone heading out for the last big camping outing of the summer over the Labor Day holiday weekend, officials said.
Wildfire risk is high to extreme statewide. All it takes is just one mistake to ignite a potentially catastrophic wildfire. Large numbers of people heading outdoors also increases the chances for garbage left behind, damage to lands by authorized and unauthorized uses, and crowds at facilities.
Recreate Responsibly Idaho (RRI) partners have worked throughout the summer to inform and remind recreationists statewide about best practices when it comes to putting out campfires, fire safety in general, ATV, UTV and Off-Highway vehicle use, proper etiquette at boat ramps, water and lifejacket safety, minding your wake on lakes, rivers and reservoirs, and more.
While the Moose Fire near North Fork, Idaho was reportedly caused by a careless camper, Boise National Forest officials observed an uptick in the number of campfires that had been extinguished properly and a reduction in trash left behind by campers.“
That was certainly welcome news to hear that we’re getting improved compliance on campfire safety,” said Steve Stuebner, State Coordinator of the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign. “We hope that continues.”
“Because of the tinder-dry conditions of Idaho’s forests and rangelands, after two straight months of hot, above-normal temperatures in July and August, it should be abundantly clear to everyone that it’s imperative to be careful with your campfires over Labor Day weekend,” Stuebner added.
Resources for Labor Day weekend:
- Know Before You See fire risk information statewide on the Idaho Department of Lands website. For fire risk on BLM and National Forest lands, go here.
- Remember that you may need to have a Plan A, B and C for finding a campsite this Try to reserve a campsite in advance through Recreation.gov.
- For information on camping at one of Idaho’s 30 State Parks, go here.
- Need more fresh ideas on places to explore this weekend? Go to org for a wide variety of family-friendly outings and adventures.
- For more information on outings and adventures on National Forest lands, check the specific National Forest you’d like to visit. See this interactive map.
- For more information on outings and adventures on BLM lands, go here.
- To look for new trails to explore in Idaho, go to the Idaho state trails interactive This resource provides information on motorized and non-motorized trails statewide.
This is the third year of the Idaho RRI campaign. RRI is a key source of proactive information for recreationists to help preserve and protect Idaho’s unique outdoor recreation opportunities for today and tomorrow.
Why RRI: Beginning in March 2020, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, record numbers of in- state residents and out-of-state tourists flocked to Idaho to go hiking, biking, ATV and UTV riding, whitewater rafting, fishing, camping, hunting, and participate in other outdoor recreation opportunities. The increase put strain on recreation infrastructure and land management staff. Continued population growth and ongoing pressure on outdoor recreation facilities in Idaho is why it is critical to recreate responsibly.
What’s at stake: In the last several years, state and federal officials saw many incidents of poor behavior on public lands such as dumping trash, campfires left burning, and poor boating and trail use etiquette. This could decrease the enjoyment of the outdoors, lead to closures, or cause a wildfire that destroys the landscape.
The RRI outreach team includes Visit Idaho, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho Department of Commerce, and the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission.
“Idaho Sportsmen was created to provide access and opportunity for Idaho’s sporting public and Recreate Responsibly Idaho supports that mission by promoting responsible use of our lands,” said Benn Brocksome, Idaho Sportsmen Executive Director. “We are excited to join this effort for preserving our recreation opportunities well into the future.”
The RRI outreach team will continue to work to share its resources with business and conservation partners to strengthen the message and expand its impact.