Two books focus on travels around Idaho

“Idaho State Parks” by Rick Just (Boise); Arcadia ($21.99)

Idaho’s state parks have been called the “jewels” of the Gem State. The story of how those jewels came to be involves political intrigue, much resistance, some philanthropy and a touch of irony. Sen. Weldon B. Heyburn famously said that state parks were “always a political embarrassment.” Idaho’s first state park was named after him. Today, Idaho’s 30 state parks host 5 million people a year. Visitors come to boat, camp, bike, climb, hike, fish and make memories in the great outdoors. This book tells the story of Idaho’s diverse state parks — from Priest Lake in Idaho’s panhandle to Bear Lake in the southeast corner of the state — through a wealth of historical photographs. A variety of parks are featured, including ones that were lost, found or never came to fruition.

“Idaho Off the Beaten Path” by Julie Fanselow (former Idaho resident); Globe Pequot Press ($16.95)

Julie Fanselow figured her publisher was letting “Idaho Off the Beaten Path” go out of print. While the guidebook was once updated every other year, it had been six years since the eighth edition came out in 2010.

But it turns out that even in this era of abundant online travel information, professionally curated guidebooks still have their place. Fanselow got the call to update “Idaho Off the Beaten Path” last spring, and the ninth edition has dozens of new recommendations for day trips, weekend wanderings and longer explorations around the Gem State.

Fanselow lives in the Seattle area these days, but she frequently returns to the state she called home for more than 20 years to check out what’s new and cool. This edition’s finds include the Museum of Clean in Pocatello, Sandpoint’s open-air Galaxy Gallery, the Harkness Hotel in McCammon and Woodland Empire Ale Craft in Boise.

The book lists many events ranging from Boise’s Treefort to the NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston. It’s also peppered with short essays from Fanselow, ranging from a reflection on how time stopped one night in Atlanta, Idaho, to a recounting of how a Hollywood stuntman quietly re-created Evel Knievel’s famous Snake River Canyon jump in 2016.

Are you an Idaho author who has a new book that’s been released within the last six months? We feature works by Idaho authors on this page when space permits. To be considered, email your book information (synopsis, publisher, list price and a snap of the book cover) to