Amidst camping popularity spike, more Idaho state park recreators are making reservations

In 2021, 81% of campers made a reservation in advance
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:42 PM MDT
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IDAHO (KMVT/KSVT) — Idaho park visitation and overnight camping numbers have steadily risen in recent years, with roughly 7,700,000 visitors in 2020 making for the busiest year on record. Officials with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation said this year park day-use and camping appears to once again be a popular activity.

While the latest visitation statistics will not be available for a few more weeks, officials said one change they have seen is rather than “walking-in” to parks, more recreators are booking reservations in advance. In 2017, for example, camping stays were 33% “walk-ins,” but in 2021, only 19% of campers did not have a reservation.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation said they will need a few years worth of data in order to make more definitive conclusions on why more recreators are making reservations in advance, but they suspect the increasing number of visitors, making for a higher chance of being turned away at the gate has led campers to plan ahead.

“We definitely encourage reservations whenever possible,” said Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation spokesperson Chelsea Chambers. “We always have the rolling nine-month reservation window that is open for all of our parks nine months out, so you can start making plans for next year, already.”

Reservations can be made for cabins, tent sites and RV sites here.

For the first time, there is also a day-use reservation system for Bear Lake State Park. Chambers said this is in response to huge increases in attendance on Saturdays, which led to hundreds of cars being turned away a day. Bear Lake reservations can be made here.

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