Abuse Results in Closure of Popular Recreation AreaMonday June 13, 2022
Jerome, ID – Endowment land at the East Fork of Rock Creek in Power County will close to camping and UTVs beginning Wednesday, June 15, 2022, due to abuse by people recreating on the parcel. This 40 acre parcel is managed by the Idaho Department of Lands to generate funding for the Public School Endowment. This popular recreation site is located four miles east of Rockland.
IDL staff discovered that after moderate weekend use, users continued to leave significant amounts of human waste and trash at the site, and UTVs going off trail damaged the area, leading to an increased risk of erosion.
Because abusive behavior damaged the land and diminished its ability to generate revenue for public schools, the area is now closed to camping and UTVs indefinitely. Walk-in day use is still permitted provided people stop leaving human waste and trash in the area.
Endowment Land generates revenue from grazing and other management activities. Last year, the 2.5 million acres of Endowment Land across the state earned $54,798,000 for Idaho’s public schools. Recreational use of endowment Land is a secondary privilege allowed only if it does not cause damage or disturb management activities.
Last year IDL experienced similar problems in the East Fork of Rock Creek area and launched an educational media campaign, letting visitors know there would be not restroom or trash service and that the popular area was at risk of closing due to abuse of the land. Signs asking users to respect the land were also posted in the area last year and again this spring when it opened.
Endowment Land is different than other state or federally owned land. It was granted to Idaho at statehood, creating a legal trust for the sole purpose of financially supporting specific beneficiaries, in this case public schools. The Idaho Constitution requires endowment Land to be managed to maximize revenue for the beneficiaries.
Dispersed camping and other recreation activities provide no revenue to the beneficiaries. Money to clean up and repair damage to the East Fork of Rock Creek Endowment Land reduces funding for public schools and short-changes Idaho’s children. To learn more about Endowment Land and understand the important role in plays in funding education, visit https://www.idl.idaho.gov/about-us/understanding-endowment-land/.
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Public Information Officer