It's no April-fools joke, the southern part of the Egin-Hamer closure will open at sunrise April 1.
Since its inception nine years ago, the southern and northern portions of the Egin-Hamer closure have opened April 1 and May 1 respectively. This meant that technically people could legally be out in the desert one second after midnight.
"Why would anyone want to wander around in the desert in the middle of the cold dark night?"
The answer is exclusively to gather shed antlers, and according to some Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officers, it was amazing how many antlers people "found" before the sun was even up.
To help create a more level playing field, local resource managers and county commissioners this year agreed to move the opening time to sunrise on both days. To be exact, the southern portion opens at 7:09 a.m. Sunday, April 1, and the northern portion opens at 6:19 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, for the northern portion.
The current closure plan was created when Fremont and Jefferson County commissioners approached the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Game about revisiting an earlier winter road closure.
The Egin-Hamer Road divides the closure area into two uneven segments. They agreed on opening the road to winter travel in return for closing off important winter range adjacent to the road.
But because habitat needs change for wildlife as the winter progresses, the two segments have different opening days. The agreement also included access for private landowners with legitimate business inside the areas. And the eastern portion of the dunes also has remained open year-round.
The southern segment borders the Egin-Hamer Road on the north, Highway 33 on the south and Interstate 15 on the west. The eastern boundary runs from where the Henrys Fork crosses Highway 33 and heads north through Plano and then toward Egin.
To identify the areas, the southern portion is posted with bright green signs and the northern portion with bright orange.
For more information about the closure agreement, contact the local BLM office in Idaho Falls at 208-524-7445 or the Fish and Game office at 208-525-7290.