Idaho officials close popular recreation area due to trash

The Lands Department manages about 3,900 square miles of state-owned land
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 1:21 PM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A popular state-owned recreation area in southeastern Idaho will close to camping and utility terrain vehicles due to visitors leaving behind trash and human waste, state officials said Tuesday.

Idaho Department of Lands officials also said UTV drivers have been going off trails and damaging the area, leaving it susceptible to erosion.

Department officials said the 40-acre (16-hectare) area 4 miles (6 kilometers) east of the small town of Rockland will close Wednesday to those activities.

The department said the area will remain open for walk-in use unless visitors continue to leave behind trash and human waste.

The Lands Department manages about 3,900 square miles of state-owned land that generates money mainly for public schools. The department said abusive behavior at the southeastern Idaho site diminished its ability to produce revenue for public schools.

The Idaho Constitution requires that state officials manage the land to maximize revenue over the long term. Spending money to clean up and repair damage at the site reduced the amount of money going to public schools.

Officials last year launched an educational campaign to let visitors know the area was at risk of closing if the ongoing problems continued.

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