One of Idaho’s Favorite FREE Destinations Might Not Be Free Much Longer
One of the Treasure Valley’s favorite free recreation spots may not be free much longer. The Bureau of Land Management could roll our fees to visit the area as early as this year.
For decades, Jump Creek Falls between Marsing and Homedale has been a popular destination for Treasure Valley residents to escape the heat. It’s also arguably one of the most Instagram-worthy locations within a 60-minute drive from Boise. The BLM believes that the area’s exposure on social media, other tourism websites, news stations and the region’s explosive population growth have contributed to the number of visits nearly doubling from 21,000 in 2014 to 40,000 in 2020.
Increased visitation means, increased maintenance and support are needed to keep Jump Creek beautiful and welcoming. That means everything from cleaning, trash removal and pumping toilets, to paying Owhyee County law enforcement for their work helping respond to search and rescue calls. According to the proposal that BLM posted this week, there are about 20 calls for things like snake bites, cuts/bruises, broken bones, lost hikers, accidental deaths and suicides that originate from Jump Creek every year.
These things take money and that’s why the agency is accepting public comments about their prosal to add a visitation fee to the recreation site.
How Much Would Visiting Jump Creek Falls Cost if the Fee Moves Forward?
The proposal suggests $5 per car per day or a $25 annual pass with that fee staying fixed from 2023-2032. After that, they suggest bumping the day-use fee to $7 and the annual pass to $35. If the fee goes into effect, the BLM would eliminate the seldom-used overnight camping available by special permit.
The fees would be collected at a new self-serve kiosk and be enforced by BLM personnel/law enforcement and the Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office. They estimate that setting up the new kiosk, which would accept credit cards, would cost about $20,000.
It’s estimated that the fees collected by both day-use and annual passes would lead to about $63,333 a year to help maintain the site. The fees could go into effect before the end of this year.
Can I Get in With My Idaho State Parks Passport?
We still maintain that the Idaho State Parks Passport is the absolute best $10 that you can spend when renewing your Idaho Driver’s license. It basically pays for itself after two visits to Eagle Island State Park or Sandy Point at Lucky Peak.
But…it won’t do you any good at Jump Creek if these fees go into place since this is federal BLM land. They would, however, honor the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass. For most citizens between the age of 16-62, that pass costs $80 a year. That pass is free for fourth graders, volunteers who have completed over 250 hours of service for federal lands, veterans, families of current military members and those with disabilities.
What Are Day Use Hours Anyway?
The BLM actually established these in the ‘90s to cut down on partying, vandalism, theft and gang activities. April-October, they’re 6 a.m.-9 p.m. October-March, they’re 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Want to Leave a Public Comment?
You can do that by e-mailing BLM_ID_OwyheeOffice@blm.gov or mailing a letter to the Owhyee Field Office at 101 S Bruneau Hwy in Marsing. (They also have a fax number, but who actually has a fax machine?) Comments are due by September 28.