Idaho State Park Visitor Centers Close to Curb COVID-19 Spread; Parks Remain OpenThursday March 19, 2020
Visitor centers at Idaho State Parks shut down Thursday March 19 as a precautionary measure to limit propagation of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) – but the parks will remain open to the public.
Rangers and other staff will be on duty to assist visitors and can be contacted by telephone.
Parks continue to offer day use and most camping options – but hands-on activities and large group events are discontinued. Premium cabins and picnic shelters also have been closed to reduce infection potential.
The visitor centers will stay closed through April, and possibly longer, depending on the progression of the Covid-19 outbreak. Closing the centers, gathering places for groups of people, protects visitors and park employees and follows the guidance of Idaho Gov. Brad Little and public health officials.
At this stressful time, the public is encouraged to visit Idaho’s spacious parks to experience the outdoors and fresh air as an alternative to staying sheltered indoors. Hiking, biking and snow sports provide healthy alternatives that allow for the social distancing (at least six feet of space between individuals) recommended by experts.
Here are the details of the changes, which last through April unless updated in further response to the health emergency:
- Most units will remain open; reservation holders wishing to cancel stays with arrival dates before May 1st because of Covid-19 concerns will receive full refunds.
- Reservations for groups of 10 or more persons at overnight facilities and all group camps will be canceled in accordance with the public health guidance to limit the size of gatherings.
- Interpretive programs in parks have been suspended to maintain social distancing as recommended by public health professionals.
- Loaner equipment programs, including the Explorer Backpack, fishing rods and camping gear, will cease.
- Exhibits featuring hands-on interaction will be closed.
- Restrooms, kitchens and high-traffic areas within parks will get more frequent cleaning and disinfection.
- The lobby of the Parks and Recreation headquarters on Warm Springs Avenue in Boise will close; customers seeking recreational vehicle stickers or camping reservations are asked to go online at https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/ or call 208-334-4199.
Park visitor centers may have reduced hours to limit potential virus exposure for our customers and employees with phone and online assistance options provided in notices on site.Park visitor centers will be closed as of Thursday 3/19.
- Premium cabins – those with dishes, linens and bathrooms – will be closed because of the logistics involved with adequate cleaning.
- Recreational program classes, such as those for boating or off-highway vehicles, will continue but be limited to 10 participants.
- Camper Cabins and Idaho City Backcountry Yurts will remain open, but guests are advised that the facilities receive only periodic cleaning and they are encouraged to use the on-hand supplies to clean the yurts upon arrival and departure.