On August 21, 2017, individuals across Idaho will be treated to a total solar eclipse. A total eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. The Path of Totality, where the sun will be completely covered, stretches approximately 70 miles wide from coast to coast. Idaho Falls, and the surrounding area, has been identified by NASA as one of the top four sites to view this phenomenon. It has been decades since North America has been privy to this unique astronomic event and we are expecting thousands to turnout for the experience.
While there are many places in our area providing great viewing opportunities for the eclipse, some individuals may travel to more isolated areas on public lands to see this spectacle. The Bureau of Land Management, Idaho Falls District manages several hundred thousand acres of land within the path of totality, and while these areas are all open to the public, here are some things to consider.
- Travel time. Many of the areas on public land are isolated and will require hours of driving on dirt roads. An SUV or other high clearance vehicle is recommended.
- First Come-First Serve Campsites. All BLM Campgrounds on the Idaho Falls District, with the exception of the Birch Creek Groups Sites, Kelly Island Group site and pavilion at the Joe T. Fallini Campsite, are available on a first-come first-served basis. Please plan accordingly.
- Dispersed Camping. Dispersed Camping is allowed on BLM-managed lands within the Idaho Falls District. Please remember there is a 14 day limit, except for the River corridor, which due to high use, imposes a 5-day limit
- Stay on Routes and Trails. Please travel on legal routes and trails. Cross-country travel is not permitted. We manage vegetation and habitat and damage done by illegal riding can have impacts on wildlife.
- Don’t Dump on Public Lands. Please clean up after yourself. We anticipate a high number of users accessing public lands
- Wildfire Awareness. The eclipses will occur during the height of fire season, please take precautions necessary to ensure that you don’t start a wildland fire. This includes clearing out vegetation underneath your vehicle, making sure your campfire is completely out and ensuring vehicles and chains are maintained appropriately. Stay on routes and trails
- Special Recreation Permit (SRP) Requirements. Permits are not needed for personal viewing. However, SRPs are required for the following:
Commercial Use – recreation use of the public lands and related waters for business or financial gain. When any person, group, or organization makes or attempts to make a profit, receive money, amortize equipment, or obtain goods or services as compensation from participants in recreation activities occurring on public lands and related waters, the use is considered commercial.
Organized Group Activity or Event – a structured, ordered, consolidated, or scheduled event or occupation of public lands and related waters for recreation use that is not commercial or competitive, and that the BLM has determined needs a special recreation permit based on planning decisions, resource concerns, potential user conflicts, and/or public health and safety.
Vending – Vending is a type of commercial use defined as a temporary, short-term, nonexclusive, revocable authorization to sell goods or services on public lands and related waters in conjunction with a recreation activity or at a recreation site.
Limited SRPs will be available, please contact the IFD office at 208-524-7500, to find out who you need to talk to begin the process.
Recommended Viewing or Camping Locations
Borah Peak Trailhead
Joe T. Fallini Campground in Mackay, Idaho
Garden Creek Campground
Birch Creek Campground
20 Mile Trail in Hells Half Acre
St. Anthony Sand Dunes and Red Road
Egin Lakes Campground
Cress Creek Nature Trail
Kelly Island Campground
Desert west of North Menan Butte
Areas expecting High Use
North Menan Butte – Several areas near North Menan Butte have exclusive use special recreation permits in place for the August 21 event and will be unavailable to the general public for eclipse viewing