OPINION: Idaho Campground Closures Due To COVID-19 Makes No Sense
With phase one of the COVID-19 reintegration plan in effect, some Idaho businesses and recreation sites have opened back up to the public. North of Ketchum, a number of campgrounds will remain closed into the month of June, which doesn't make a great deal of sense to me.
I read earlier in the week that campgrounds at Redfish, Alturis, and other sites near Stanley that offer incredible recreational activities like kayaking, boating and float tubing, are going to remain closed to the public a week or so into June. What is perplexing about this recent development, is the fact that most Idahoans I know prefer to camp in spots where the likelihood of interacting with other campers is slim to none.
People in this state prefer "off-the-grid" camping--that is getting as far away from others as humanly possible--so closing these areas that late into spring isn't really an effective way to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus in my opinion. What this plan is doing, is preventing people from getting out of busy cities and towns for the weekend, where the likelihood of contracting the virus is much higher than at a secluded campsite above 6,000 feet.
These locations that are part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, are reportedly going to remain closed until June 5. Why? There is no better way to social-distance than to head up to the mountains. We should be more concerned about the insane number of people that are visiting Twin Falls stores like Home Depot and Lowe's, in which I'm seeing only about a third of the people wearing masks or remaining six feet from one another.
We camp multiple times every spring and summer in the mountains surrounding these lakes, and the campgrounds are spread out enough to the point that we very rarely come within 500 feet of fellow campers, let alone six. These sites should be opened back up immediately.