Greetings to those who call Idaho home, or at least home to their recreational pursuits.
As a person who has seen a fair chunk of the world, I can honestly say, “From a recreational perspective, you have no idea how good you have it!”
Other places may be more exotic, but when it comes to ease of access, you have no idea how great Idaho is, as long as we follow a few simple rules.
First, the fact that we have access to so much federal land is a great thing. Politics aside, the fact that we can hunt, fish, hike and ride in so many areas is a big deal and not something to be taken lightly.
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Many other parts of the world have beautiful areas that were nearly destroyed due to people’s need to survive wars and famine. We are fortunate to have dodged that bullet so far.
In those places that have come so close to totally disappearing, they have been forced to jump to the ultimate level of protection: total closure. Not just wilderness designation, but total closure to all human activity.
In our neck of the woods, as long as we follow simple guidelines set forth by land management agencies, we are guaranteed the ability for future generations to enjoy the bounty of natural resource opportunities that the region has to offer.
So it is important that we take the time to understand the regulations covering the areas we are going to recreate in before we actually head out. We have so many different recreational opportunities at hand that careful coordination of activities to prevent conflicts and habitat damage is important.
When using private lands for recreation or to access public lands, it is important that we protect the concerns of the private land owner. This means, of course, that we need to treat the property like it was ours. Keep things clean, guard against vandalism and leave it better than we found it.
The other important thing is for us to make sure that we have permission to use a property and obey posted closures. Trespass regulations in Idaho are fairly simple, so be sure to check the Fish and Game regulations. It is better to be safe than sorry. This means taking the time in advance of opening day to track down owners and leasees and get permission.
The county tax assessor’s office is always a good place to start. Another new high-tech option is to purchase a app that links the tax role database to the GPS maps on your smartphone. These cool apps let you know exactly on whose property you are standing.
On a recent turkey hunting trip in northern Idaho, I was reading the map software on my phone and it said I was leaving private land that I had permission to be hunting and that I was entering lands managed by the Idaho Department of Lands. That is when I hit my head on a sign that told me the same thing. Pretty darn accurate.
Outdoor opportunities in Idaho are endless. We just need to make sure that the opportunities to enjoy them remain the same.
Gregg Losinski is a regional conservation educator with Idaho Fish and Game. He wrote this story for the East Idaho Hunting Guide.