30. April 2020 · Comments Off on Idaho forests extend campground and hot springs closures, cancel rafting reservations · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

April 29. 2020

As Idaho prepares to reopen some businesses and lift its coronavirus-related stay-home order, some federal agencies are tightening or extending restrictions related to the pandemic.

In a news release on Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service announced it would extend some closures in the Salmon-Challis National Forest and cancel permits to float the Salmon River and Middle Fork of the Salmon through mid-May. Any “developed recreation sites” including campsites and day-use sites are closed through May 15, while “Forest Trail #6232, the Warm Springs Trail and the area within 250 yards from the center of Gold Bug Hot Springs” will be closed through the end of May.

Officials said anyone with a float permit will receive an email notification that their permit has been canceled, as well as a refund of any fees. Permits are required year-round to float the Salmon River and Middle Fork of the Salmon, though the primary float season is from June to September.

Forest Service officials said the continued closures are meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

“We have visitors that want to enjoy the forest but many areas are drawing more people than social distancing guidelines recommend,” said Chuck Mark, Salmon-Challis National Forest supervisor, in the news release. “As spring progresses, many of these recreation sites are beginning to become accessible. We will continue to monitor the situation closely. The forest is developing a plan to phase reopening some sites when conditions allow.”

Similarly, the Boise National Forest announced on Friday that it would extend closures at campgrounds, hot springs and trailheads through June 30 due to the pandemic. The agency had previously announced that many popular campgrounds near Boise, including Cottonwood, Sage Hen and Peace Valley, would be closed through the end of June; however, its early April closure of hot springs had no initial expiration date.

A list of all affected Boise National Forest sites can be found online at fs.usda.gov.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced restrictions at Lucky Peak Dam. The Corps said, until further notice, fires and camping are prohibited and boats are required to be docked at a marina or out of the water between sunset and sunrise. According to the Corps’ news release, the restrictions were “made in response to public safety and resource protection concerns,” though it’s not clear if they are related to coronavirus. The Statesman has reached out to the Corps for more information.

BNF-Closed PDF              04-03-2020 Idaho COVID Group Limits of 10 order SIGNED

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