IDAHO FALLS - What started out as an idea by local county commissioners to reopen a popular farm to market road nineteen years ago continues to be a success not just for humans, but also for wintering wildlife.
The absence of human disturbance created by the closure allows herds of deer, elk, and moose to spend more time down on the desert between St. Anthony and Dubois during crucial portions of the late winter and early spring. Special emphasis is being placed on preventing vehicles from accessing that portion of the Red Road within the closure. Vehicles found beyond barriers will receive citations.
The Egin-Hamer Area Closure places nearly 500 square miles of land off-limits to human entry for the protection of wintering deer, elk, and moose herds. The closure begins on January first and lasts through the end of March on lands south of the Egin-Hamer Road and until April 30, north of it. Signs marking the area north of the Egin-Hamer road are fluorescent orange, while signs for the earlier opening southern portion are lime green colored.
The arrangement for the closure was agreed upon when county commissioners approached the BLM with the idea of the area closure in return for the re-opening of the Egin-Hamer Road for winter travel. State agencies such as Idaho Fish and Game and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) also have land involved in the closure and play an active role in the management. Individual landowners accessing their own private lands are exempt from the closure. The active St. Anthony Sand Dunes, from the Red Road to Thunder Mountain and adjacent to Egin Lakes access, is also exempt from the closure.
Occasionally powered parachutes, helicopters, and small planes have been sighted flying low over the closure area. While the air space over the closure is not restricted, pilots of all types are cautioned to not harass the wintering, deer, elk, & moose. If the machines are flying low enough to cause the wildlife to move away, then they are flying too low. Students from BYU-I are also being reminded that the Civil Defense lava caves are within the closure area boundaries.
Maps and information are available at the BLM website: https://www.blm.gov/press-release/egin-hamer-closure-goes-effect-jan-1st
For more information, including free maps of the closure, contact either the Fish and Game Office in Idaho Falls at 208-525-7290 or the BLM Office at 208-524-7500.