Memorial Day campers and outdoor recreationists encouraged to be good stewards, show respect for Idaho lands

BOISE - Many people - potentially record numbers of people - are expected to venture into Idaho State Parks, National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands and other federal and state lands to go camping and engage in outdoor recreation activities over Memorial Day weekend, the traditional beginning of the summer outdoor season. 

State and federal agencies urge campers and recreationists to Recreate Responsibly this weekend by setting a positive example as good land stewards and outdoor ambassadors. Practice Leave No Trace principles such as packing out garbage and planning ahead. make a plan with several options for where to go on what could be a very busy weekend with good weather statewide (see where to go tips/links below). 

"Now that coronavirus restrictions are easing, we expect potentially record numbers of people to venture onto Idaho's state and federal lands this weekend and throughout the summer," said Susan Buxton, Director of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. "Based on the unprecedented number of visitors last year, we encourage peole to show respect for our state and federal lands and camping facilities to ensure everyone can enjoy them."

Already, several incidents of bad behavior have led to the closure of camping areas in Idaho, officials said.

Last year, a record 7.6 million residents and non-residents visited Idaho's State Parks, breaking the previous record by 1.2 million visitors. Idaho 2020 fishing license sales increased by more than 55,500 anglers, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 

So far in 2021, Idaho State Parks have seen an increased number of visitors, well above last year's record-setting pace, and officials expect the trend to continue. 

More tips for Memorial Day weekend and beyond:

Know where to go - tap into Idaho trip-planning resources. Reserve your campsite in advance (highly recommended)

Practice proper trail/boat ramp/dock etiquette - Be patient and neighborly to other outdoor recreationists, including those who might be engaging in a different type of activity than you are. 

Prevent human-caused wildfires - 80 percent of the wildfire starts in Idaho are started by humans in a typical year. Be sure to snuff our your campfire by fully dousing it with water before leaving your camp site. 

"Preventable wildfires threaten lives, property and previous resources every year," said Grant Beebe, Assistant Director, Bureau of Land Management Fire. "Fewer human-caused wildfires allow our firefighters to focus on lightning ignitions - the fires we can't prevent. Firefighters are needed more than ever to keep Americans safe, so please, do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires."

So far in 2021, Idaho is reporting 170 wildfires that have burned 3,100 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Of those, only two fires and two acres were lightning-caused. Ninety-eight percent of the fires were human-caused. 

Remember that Idaho lands are also working lands for livestock grazing, timber production, mineral exploration and commercial outfitting. Show respect for other multiple uses. 

Show respect for wildlife. View them at a distance. Keep dogs on a leash if you encounter wildlife or to comply with leash-dog requirements in campgrounds. Also, if you are camping in bear country, be mindful of food-storage tips for your safety. 

Dispose of human waste properly - use an outhouse, bring a portable toilet for your camping group, or dig a cat hole at least 6 inches deep to dispose of waste properly. See Tread Lightly video on how to bury human waste properly. 

Follow state and federal covid guidelines. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Steve Stuebner, Recreate Responsibly Idaho Coordinator