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Egin-Hamer Area to Close January 1

For the 10th year, the Egin-Hamer Area closure places nearly 500 square miles of land off-limits to human entry to protect wintering deer, elk, and moose herds.

The closure begins January 1 and lasts through March on lands south of the Egin-Hamer Road and until April 30, north of it. The signs marking the northern portion are fluorescent orange, and the signs for the earlier opening southern portion are lime green colored.

Last year, the opening time was moved to sunrise on the first of April for the southern portion and sunrise on the first of May for the northern portion.

What started out as an idea by local county commissioners to reopen a popular farm to market road a decade ago continues to be a success not just for humans, but also for wintering wildlife. The lack of human disturbance has allowed herds of deer, elk, and moose to spend more time on the desert between St. Anthony and Dubois during crucial portions of the late winter and early spring.

The increased numbers of animals observed down on the desert later into the spring are a sign of the success of the project.

Of the dozens of closure violation contacts last winter, federal Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officials issued six citations. Penalties can range into the hundreds of dollars.

Individual landowner access to private lands is exempt from the closure. The St. Anthony Sand Dunes, from the Red Road to Thunder Mountain and adjacent to Egin Lakes access, also are exempt from the closure.

In the past few years, powered parachutes have been seen flying over the closure. The air space is not restricted, but pilots are cautioned to not harass the wintering, deer, elk and moose. Machines flying low enough to cause the wildlife to move away are flying too low. Student from BYU-I also are reminded that the Civil Defense lava caves are within the closure area boundaries.

Closure boundaries are posted, and free maps are available from the BLM or Fish and Game in Idaho Falls. The Fremont and Jefferson counties sheriffs' offices also have maps available. For information contact the Fish and Game office in Idaho Falls at 208-525-7290 or the BLM office at 208-524-7527.