Kootenai County backcountry deputies see spike in Memorial Day d - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Kootenai County backcountry deputies see spike in Memorial Day damage

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KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho -

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office says backcountry deputies have seen a dramatic increase in use and damage of the backcountry during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

Deputies with Kootenai County's Backcountry Unit say they made contact with hundreds of people over the weekend, sometimes for educational purposes, but several for enforcement reasons.

According Backcountry Deputy Jeff Burns, this past weekend was one of the busiest he’s seen in the past eight years that he’s been assigned to the unit, “There were a lot of folks out this weekend – and unfortunately a large number of them weren’t following the rules.”

Some of the violations Deputy Burns handed out tickets for include reckless driving, travel violations such as driving off designated routes. Driving off the routes can cause extensive damage, some of which will never heal.

Deputy Burns offered a few tips while recreating in the backcountry:

  • Stay on designated routes and roads, causing environmental damage can not only be costly from a criminal violation standpoint – but offenders may also incur civil liability.
  •  Be a responsible camper so that others may also enjoy our forested areas.
  •  Know the laws and rules for operating off-road vehicles, such as an unlicensed person under 16 years of age must successfully complete the required off-highway vehicle (OHV) safety course prior to operating an ATV/UTV or motorcycle.
  •  Be fire safe – if you build a campfire, make sure you have the tools to put it out such as a shovel and water

For more information about recreating in the backcountry, please contact the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Recreation Safety Section at 208-446-2250.

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