The Bureau of Land Management Upper Snake Field Office is seeking public contributions to improve the St. Anthony Sand Dunes for recreational visitors.
The dunes were designated as a recreation area in 1985, said Mike Setlock, outdoor recreational planner. Since then, there has been no recovery management plan for the area to date. This plan will help the office incorporate more sustainable and visitor-desired experiences in the area, Setlock said.
“We’re trying to come up with a plan that will satisfy users and management,” said Setlock. “Of course there are limits, we can’t create an amusement park or anything else that harms the resources out there.”
The plan will also include an associated environmental review for the sand dunes, according to a press release from the bureau.
Setlock said that a recreation plan has become a necessity because of the large number of visitors the dunes attract each year. According to the press release, the recreational area in the dunes is 48,607 acres and is a popular destination for off-highway vehicles that receives over 250,000 visitors each year.
“It’s full every weekend. We have to turn people away, ”said Setlock.
The office is considering potential management goals, including adding more access points and travel routes for vehicles, Setlock said. He added another example of developing special recreational permits that would enable a variety of activities such as guided tours, vendors in the dunes, and competitive events for visitors.
Public comments must be submitted in writing either electronically on the ePlanning website or by mail to the Bureau of Land Management Upper Snake Field Office, Attn: Mike Setlock, 1405 Hollipark Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83401 July 9, 2021.
“As the St. Anthony Sand Dunes become more popular, so too does the need to develop a comprehensive recreation management plan,” said Jeremy Casterson, manager of Upper Snake Field. “It is important that we hear from the public what they think about how the dunes will be managed in the future.”
For more information, contact Mike Setlock, Outdoor Recreation Planner, at [email protected] or 208-524-7529.