(Governor’s Office Press Release, July 26, 2023)
Boise, Idaho – The State of Idaho has directed approximately $150 million to improve outdoor recreation over the past few years as part of Governor Brad Little’s “Idaho First” and “Leading Idaho” plans, and now Governor Little has established a new advisory council to recommend some improvement projects.
Governor Brad Little signed Executive Order 2023-03 today, establishing the Idaho Outdoor Recreation Fund Advisory Council to recommend projects that expand outdoor opportunities for camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and other activities.
“It’s no secret Idahoans are very passionate about the outdoors. We live, work, and play outside. Access to outdoor recreation is part of our way of life in Idaho, and it is a key driver of our economy, especially in rural Idaho. Our state boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and much of that beauty is captured in our wonderful state parks. That is why expanding and improving outdoor recreation opportunities in our state parks was such an important priority. I’m proud of the significant investments we’ve made in outdoor recreation following record attendance at our state parks several years in a row,” Governor Little said.
The unprecedented investments in outdoor recreation are being used to expand capacity and enhance accommodations to keep up with record attendance at the state’s world class parks. Idaho’s 30 state parks averaged 7.4 million visitors in 2020, 2021, and 2022, representing a 27-percent increase over the visitation from the prior five years. The investments were modeled after President Donald Trump’s Great American Outdoors Act and will be used to take care of our lands in addition to a new funding mechanism to responsibly manage and expand access to Idaho’s great outdoors.
Among some of the examples of how the approximately $150 million investments are being used are:
- Farragut State Park, Peterson Campground – $3,000,000
- Heyburn State Park, Wastewater and Water Line Upgrades – $3,000,000
- Ponderosa State Park, Kokanee Cove Renovations – $2,500,000
- Eagle Island State Park, RV Campground – $11,000,000
- Thousand Springs State Park, Ritter Island Water Line Replacement – $1,000,000
- Bear Lake State Park, East Beach Electrical and Water Upgrades (Completed) – $1,200,000
- Harriman State Park, Water and Sewer Upgrades – $2,000,000
- Henrys Lake State Park, Water System Upgrades (Completed) – $530,000
The council includes representatives of the Governor’s administration, the Legislature, the ranching industry, rural communities, recreation, sportsmen, ag, forestry and mining, business, and conservation. A copy of the Governor’s executive order can be found here: https://gov.idaho.gov/executive-orders/.