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USFS and BLM announce annual winter travel restrictions for the Palisades Ranger District, Stinking Springs and Egin-Hamer areas to protect wildlife

 BLM Press Release: 

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho–The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Upper Snake Field Office, in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, will temporarily close the Stinking Springs area near the South Fork of the Snake River to all motorized vehicles and human entry to support wildlife survival rates in the area.  The closure area includes lands east of the Stinking Springs Trailhead and southwest of Kelly Canyon Ski Resort. This annual closure begins Dec. 15 and ends at sunrise May 1, 2024, however the opening day could change depending on weather conditions. 

 “Human activities in the Stinking Springs area create additional stress on wintering mule deer, requiring them to deplete their supply of stored winter fat more quickly,” said BLM Acting Upper Snake Field Manager Bret Herres. “We appreciate the public’s help every year in avoiding this area to help protect these sensitive animals.” 

 For similar reasons, the annual Egin-Hamer area closure will also begin soon. This closure temporarily closes BLM-managed public lands to human entry to protect wintering deer, elk and moose. Restrictions begin Jan. 1, 2024, and ends at sunrise April 1, 2024, south of the Egin-Hamer Road and until sunrise on May 1, 2024, north of it. A detailed map of the Egin-Hamer area closure is available online. 

 These seasonal closures apply only to BLM-managed public lands. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service also temporarily closes nearby National Forest lands during winter. It is advisable to check with agency offices before planning travel in these areas. For more information, visit the Stinking Springs ATV and Mountain Biking Trail or contact the Upper Snake Field Office at 208-524-7500. 



Forest Service Press Release:

Idaho Falls, Idaho.  – Friday, December 15, marks the start of the winter travel restrictions on many areas of the Palisades Ranger District on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Due to safety concerns, Forest Service Road 218 at the Forest Boundary near Kelly Canyon Ski Resort to the Y-Junction Parking Area will be closed to all motorized use, including snowmobiles, starting Thursday, December 14th.

“We encourage visitors to review the current maps and check the avalanche forecast to help them make better decisions when using the National Forest,” said Tracy Hollingshead, Palisades district ranger. “Also, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Be prepared for changing weather conditions.”

These restrictions include areas of crucial wildlife winter range close to all human presence. Rainey Creek, areas in the Fall Creek drainage, and National Forest slopes above the South Fork of the Snake River near Heise are areas where no human presence is allowed to protect wintering wildlife. In addition, other portions of the District are closed to all motorized use from December 15 to April 15. 

The lower elevations on the Palisades Ranger District are heavily used by wintering wildlife; protecting this habitat is essential to the survival of wildlife. When people enter a closed winter range, wildlife moves to new locations. Moving away from people requires wildlife such as deer, elk, and moose to use energy. This energy is vital to fend off disease or predators during the harsh winter. 

Maps are available at any of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest district offices or online at Winter Maps. Snowmobilers and other winter recreationists are urged to obtain a correct map before traveling on the Forest. The Forest Service will continue providing winter patrol and maintaining a presence on the Forest. For more information on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, visit