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Idaho parks open, Idaho Power facilities and campgrounds closed

Idaho parks open, Idaho Power facilities and campgrounds closed

From the Complete coverage: What Idahoans need to know about the coronavirus series
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BOISE — In a statement released March 17, all Idaho state parks, including City of Rocks National Reserve, Castle Rocks State Park and Thousand Springs, remain open for day use and most camping — but hands-on activities and large group events are discontinued, and premium cabins and picnic shelters closed.

The steps have been taken to give the public recreational options while also protecting community health in accordance with the guidance of Idaho and federal health agencies.

“Outdoor activity is healthy at this stressful time, and we encourage people to enjoy a hike, a ride or some snow sports,” Parks and Recreation Director David Langhorst said. “These precautions give the public recreational opportunities while still minimizing the risk of infection.”

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 1 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

  • 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.
  • 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.

Idaho Power restrictions

In a statement released Wednesday, Idaho Power spokesman Brad Bowlin said the company has received several inquiries about the status of Idaho Power’s parks and campgrounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All Idaho Power facilities, including campgrounds, are closed to visitors in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Our day-use parks and boat ramps remain open. Restrooms are closed, however portable restrooms have been made available. Campground reservations for dates prior to April 16 will be fully refunded.” Campers do not need to call to cancel their reservations; they will receive an email this week from our staff confirming their refund.

The company is taking a wait-and-see approach to potential closures beyond April 16, Bowlin said. Campers can make reservations for dates after April 16. If the closure is extended beyond that date, those reservations will be refunded in full.

This action is based on guidance from the Idaho Power medical director and the company’s internal emergency management team, and federal and state health authorities, Bowlin said. It is designed to protect employees, customers and the communities served while keeping energy reliable and safe. Idaho Power encourages anyone planning to visit one of the parks to follow the latest guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control at on limiting the size of gatherings and taking other precautions to limit the spread of infectious disease.

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