IDAHO FALLS, ID (May 20, 2009): New Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service regulations were established on the South Fork and Lower Henry’s Fork of the Snake River to help protect the many valuable and unique natural resources in the river corridors. These changes will also assist managing agencies in properly maintaining the river corridor in an age of shrinking budgets coupled with increased visitor use. Some of the new regulations include:
· Fire Pans Required: In order to prevent additional vegetation and soil disturbances, fire pans are now required. It is also impossible for agency staff to continuously remove all the ash from the fire pits that is left behind by visitors. Fire pans should be elevated off the ground to prevent scorching and should be at least 12-inches wide, with a 1 1/2-inch lip around its outer edge to sufficiently catch fire remains. All ash needs to be packed out with visitor before leaving their campsite.
· Additional Designated Campsites: Over the next couple years, the entire river corridor on the South Fork will be identified with designated overnight campsites. These new sites will be modified after the designated campsite system in the “canyon” stretch below Conant Boat Ramp. By designation sites, people will know exactly where good camp locations are along the river, providing for better trip planning and safer boating. Designating sites also deters visitor use from sensitive plant and wildlife species, while providing an area where visitor impacts can occur.
· Portable Toilets and Certified Waste Disposal Bags (WAG Bags or RESTOP): The human waste problem is getting worse on the rivers due to the increased use and the fact that people are not properly disposing of human waste. Agency staff continues to clean up messes left at designated camp sites. All overnight and day use boaters are required to carry out human waste properly, for example by using a portable toilet or certified waste disposal bags. Portable toilets must be reusable, washable, water tight and SCAT Machine or RV dump compatible. Portable toilets with snap-on lids (ammo can or plastic buckets) are required to have a rubber gasket in the lid. Plastic bag liners are not acceptable unless they are the Environmental Protection Agency approved WAG bag or RESTOP systems.
The BLM manages more land - 256 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.