Our Mission

The mission of Friends of Idaho State Parks is to provide education about Idaho’s state parks and to work in partnership with the State of Idaho to sustain a financially stable, healthy, and vibrant parks system for use by all.

Friends believe that the operation of a public parks system for the purposes of outdoor recreation and preservation of important natural and historic sites is a proper role for state government.  At the same time, Friends support the exploration of appropriate entrepreneurial efforts and the use of sound business practices to assure its continuing operation.

How do Idaho State Parks fit into the Array of Public Lands in Idaho?

Over 67% of Idaho is public land. State Parks are an important element in Idaho’s rich bouquet of state and federal lands. Generally smaller in area than the National Forests and BLM lands, State Parks tend to provide more near-to-urban area opportunities, more highly developed recreation facilities, and a training ground for a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities.

Friends of Idaho State Parks Vision for the Parks

Scenic Resources: Idaho State Parks include the best examples of Idaho’s iconic scenery. Such scenic areas meet a standard of statewide significance.

  1. Scenic Resources: Idaho State Parks include the best examples of Idaho’s iconic scenery. Such scenic areas meet a standard of statewide significance.  

2.  Fish and Wildlife Protection and Habitat:  Idaho State Parks are very important areas for wildlife protection and habitat, especially for non-game and watchable wildlife species. Managing for this requires state parks that are of adequate size. For the most part, wildlife management areas are managed by the Department of Fish and Game. However, if outdoor recreation is the dominant use of these areas, consideration is given to transferring the land to the state park system. State parks remain open for licensed fishing and where safe and appropriate, to licensed hunting.

3.  Living History: Idaho State Parks provide for the protection of significant historic sites and provide visitors with a glimpse of history. Significant sites are identified in consultation with the State Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office.
4.  Trails and Trailways:  Idaho State Parks provide for trails and routes for hiking, biking, canoeing, rafting, and cross-country skiing.  Managing for this requires state parks that are of adequate size to accommodate trail systems within their boundaries. Unlike the more primitive conditions that exist on federally-managed public lands, state park trail systems are improved with some meeting full accessibility standards.

5.  Aquatic Access: Idaho State Parks continue to seek acquisition of popular beaches and launch sites for public use. Boat ramps and whitewater access facilities are developed where demand is present.  Swimming beaches have picnic facilities and restroom facilities.  

   6.  Open Space: Idaho State Parks have great value as open space, especially near urban areas. For this purpose, park lands of sufficient size are acquired when costs are reasonably low and then are held in the state park land trust until recreation demands justify development.

 7.  Natural Areas:  Idaho State Parks protect unique, rare and significant natural resources to preserve for future generations to enjoy.  Such natural areas function as “mini-wilderness” where nature, for the most part, is allowed to take its course.  Development of basic facilities to enhance experiences in these areas is appropriate.


8.  Safe and Orderly Use:  Idaho State Park visitors feel safe in their persons and property.  They are confident that necessary use regulations are enforced uniformly and fairly, such as fee collection, quiet hours, traffic control, pet restrictions, and carrying capacity for visitors and vehicles, and find that their experiences are enhanced by this. They observe regular patrols by rangers, camp hosts, and other park personnel.

 9.  Environmental Education and Interpretation:  Idaho State Parks provide relevant environmental education and interpretive programs.  Each state park has an interpretive plan that inventories interpretive resources and themes, and serves as a guide for the types of programs and facilities offered.


  10.  Reasonable Fees: All visitors to Idaho state parks are required to pay an appropriate fee that represents their "investment" for the use of provided services. However, fees are never so high that financially challenged people are discouraged from visiting. 

11.  Land Restoration: The Idaho State Park System includes lands that were historically used for other purposes.  Such lands serve as examples of how land can be restored. Restoration efforts include structure removal, vegetation planting, fuel reduction, prescribed fire, water quality improvement, invasive species eradication, and native species reintroduction.

   12.  Upgraded Campgrounds: One value that distinguishes state park campgrounds from the majority of federal campgrounds is the availability of developed sites.  Idaho State Parks campgrounds are destination experiences with highly developed facilities, including: flush toilets, sinks, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, grills, paved parking spurs that accommodate RVs, and complete or partial RV hook-ups. They include appropriate landscaping, spacing, and screening to offer comfortable opportunities for relaxation and solitude.  The proximate availability of recreation sites, scenic views, and interpretive programs sets state park campgrounds apart from the typical commercial RV park.

 13. Appropriate Day Use Facilities: Idaho State Parks provide visitor centers, family and group picnic areas, grills, restrooms, and other attractive facilities.  

   14.  Enhanced Roads: In Idaho State Parks, paved access roads and supporting infrastructure such as bridges, culverts, and parking lots are the rule, rather than the exception. Any gravel surface roads and parking lots are maintained to be suitable for street vehicles.  Such infrastructure requires and receives adequate funding support.

 15.  Tourism:  “Idaho State Parks” is a brand with great power to attract tourism. The State Legislature, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Department of Commerce, and local communities recognize this and support and use the brand.


Friends of Idaho State Parks • PO Box 7164 • Boise ID 83707 • Email

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