Please Recreate Responsibly During the Memorial Day Weekend

Friday May 22, 2020

Despite COVID-19, Memorial Day remains the start of the summer recreation season, and state and federal land managers urge the public to enjoy the outdoors -– but to do so responsibly.

The Recreate Responsibly Idaho partners would like to remind Idahoans to be safe and respectful of others as they enjoy hiking, biking, fishing and –- to an extent –- camping this holiday weekend.

To safely recreate, people should keep six-feet from those outside of their household, observing basic social distancing on trails, parks, greenbelts, beaches, river banks, or anywhere people may gather.

At Lucky Peak State Park, the staff anticipate crowds on Sunday and Monday, when the weather is expected to be best, and they hope to avoid a replay of recent weekends, when many visitors neglected safeguards.

“It was like the pandemic never happened,” said Surat Nicol, park manager.

Boat ramps like the park’s Spring Shores are pinch points, where social distancing becomes more difficult and the importance of avoiding crowding and using face masks is amplified.

“We want people to come out and have a good time, but to be prepared and be patient,” Nicol said. “It’s going to take a little longer to launch boats and to retrieve. We ask people to keep their distance.”

Across Idaho, state and federal lands and recreational areas remain open for day use, and some federal campgrounds at lower elevations will reopen for the holiday weekend. A list of recreational options and their status can be found at Recreate Responsibly Idaho. The partnership is a coalition of natural resource agencies, backed by Gov. Brad Little, promoting safe recreation.

If you want to recreate, please:

  • Practice social distancing -- staying six feet away from others, the only exceptions being immediate family members and housemates.
  • Enjoy the outdoors close to home, whenever possible.
  • Stay home if you’re sick to prevent putting yourself or others at risk.
  • Check before traveling to a campground, a forest or a fishing hole if you decide to go someplace.
  • Spread out – if a trailhead or boat launch in congested, find another place or come back during off-peak times.
  • Bring supplies (water, food hand sanitizer, toilet paper) to be self-sufficient, ensuring you have a good time and avoiding unnecessary contact with others.
  • Prepare to pack out your trash as garbage service may be unavailable.
  • Avoid-high risk activities beyond your skills and experience (climbing sketchy terrain, riding an expert-level trail) to ensure medical resources are available for the virus response.

More information about recreating responsibly, outdoor opportunities and safety guidelines is available on the Recreate Responsibly website. Have fun outdoors and stay safe!