Public lands

Public lands

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Know Where to Go Plan your outdoor trip in advance to avoid conflicts on Idaho's public lands

By all accounts, the number of people playing outdoors in Idaho has been growing rapidly in recent years as record numbers of people move here or vacation here.

Visits to Idaho’s public lands are increasing, and that’s led to an increase in litter, trigger trash, trespassing, resource damage and human-caused wildfires.

“We’ve seen a big influx of motorized users everywhere,” says Kent Oliver, president of the Magic Valley ATV Riders. “And it seems like the big side-by-sides are the biggest influx we’ve seen.”

The Indian Springs recreation area, located in the foothills of Twin Falls and Kimberly, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management for multiple uses.

Utility Terrain Vehicles, also known as UTVs or side by sides, are a popular way to see the Idaho backcountry.

“It’s open to everything,” says Ken Crane, BLM Burley Field Manager. “UTVs and ATVs jump off here and ride into the forest. We’ve got 40 miles of singletrack trail here open to motorbikes, mtn bikes, equestrian is growing here, and hiking, and people going outside.”

There’s also a target-shooting area at Indian Springs, livestock grazing, and it’s critical mule deer winter range and priority sage grouse habitat.

In a place with so many different uses going on in the same place, it’s imperative for all users to show respect for others, while also taking care to avoid conflicts with other groups or cause damage to the land, officials said.

“Doesn’t matter if you’re an ATV rider, a bicycle rider, or a cattleman with livestock, you’re all different users of this ground. You just need to get along,” Brown says. “Know the rules. Know the etiquette. Know w

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