You can enjoy the outdoor activities of your choosing, and recreate responsibly and sustainably on the Idaho lands and waters you love. To help you accomplish that, here’s information on how to adventure responsibly and how to get involved in projects to care for our public lands and outdoor adventures. Learning how to recreate responsibly is a key piece of getting outside. ICL does this in two ways—by educating about Leave No Trace principles, and by running a wilderness stewardship program.
Over 60% of Idaho is public lands—including vast forests, miles of sagebrush grasslands, numberless lakes, hot springs, mountains, and rivers. They are ours to enjoy and we want them to be enjoyed by future generations as well, so it is up to all of us to care for these natural resources.
Let’s Leave No Trace
Our love for the outdoors can take a toll. With well over 100 million visitors on more than 10 billion outings in the U.S. each year, impacted areas suffer from litter, invasive species, habituated wildlife, trail erosion, polluted water sources and more. ICL is honored to partner with Leave No Trace (LNT) and help folks learn to adventure responsibly. Since 1994 the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has educated people about their recreational impact on nature as well as the principles of Leave No Trace to prevent and minimize such impacts. LNT teaches a set of outdoor ethics to follow that promote conservation.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that minimizes human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so you can apply them in your backyard or your backcountry.
Note: click any of the headers below for a much deeper explanation on each principle. Or, download a pdf of the LNT principles—it’s a handy little reference!
Idaho’s public lands support a wide variety of activities, from recreational pursuits such as camping, hunting, fishing and hiking to natural resource development. They also provide clean air, clean water and picturesque scenery—resources enjoyed by all Idahoans and the visitors who flock to Idaho from around the world. Idaho’s public lands also provide extensive habitat for wildlife of all types: moose, elk, deer, bear, mountain lions, coyotes, raptors, and countless small birds and mammals. If we all work together and educate ourselves on sustainable recreation we can help keep Idaho the spectacular place that it is.
In 2016 ICL partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to create the first stewardship program in the state of Idaho. Since then we have expanded the program to southern and northern Idaho. This boots-on-the-ground program gets volunteers out into wild places to work on stewardship projects such as plant restoration, invasive plant removal, fire rehabilitation, debris removal and signage.
- Central Idaho Wilderness Stewardship Program: The volunteer stewards act as extra eyes and ears for Idaho’s newest wilderness areas—Hemingway-Boulders, White Clouds, and Jim McClure-Jerry Peak—as well as the Sawtooths. This program uses volunteers to help out the limited staff of our land management partners.
- Owyhee Wilderness Stewardship Program: In the rugged landscape of the Owyhees we are partnering with the Bureau of Land Management for our wilderness stewardship program. The wilderness stewards pour their love and service into self-directed projects, day-long trail cleanups, and occasional overnights with project leaders. They work on anything from recording broken fences and escaped livestock to repairing vandalism in interpretive kiosks to counting boats on the Owyhee River.
- South Fork of the Boise River Stewardship Program: The South Fork of the Boise River has incredible recreational and scenic values but some portions of the river corridor are being loved to death. Trash and sanitation issues from improperly disposed human waste are of immediate concern. In addition, fires and subsequent mudslides and hazard trees have impacted the river corridor. For this stewardship program we are partnering with the U.S. Forest Service which manages more than 650,000 acres of public lands in the Boise National Forest. River stewards stop at key access points along the river to clean up trash, document any sanitation problems or problematic bank erosion, and note fish and wildlife observations which then get sent back to the Forest Service.
ICL’s Adventure Series
Our adventure series provides experiences to will connect you to these wonderful places, so you can experience incredible wildlife sightings and enjoy the clean water of Idaho’s rivers. We offer both ICL events to take you outdoors with others and information with which you can plan your own adventure.