Trashing the Trails

Apr 20, 2021

Outdoor recreation is massive here in Idaho, with 79% of all Idahoans participating in some form of outdoor recreation in 2017. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even more of us are now getting out there and taking advantage of the wonderful recreational opportunities available in Idaho. Whilst this can be great for our physical and mental health, recreation can have detrimental affects on our intricate natural environments. This week on Sustainable Idaho, to learn about how we can recreate more sustainably and responsibly, Scott and Rachel speak to Justin Dayley, a local expert in outdoor recreation and the Director of the ISU Outdoor Adventure Center.


Credit Justin Dayley

This week on Sustainable Idaho, we are investigating sustainable and responsible outdoor recreation. Outdoor recreation is massive here in Idaho. In fact, a recent study found that 79% of Idahoans participate in outdoor recreation, ranking the state third behind Alaska and Montana. Outdoor recreation supports a huge economy in Idaho, generating $7.8 billion in consumer spending annually and supporting 78,000 jobs in the state.

But, whilst it’s fantastic that we are able to enjoy our natural environment, we should be respectful of it and try to minimize the impacts of our recreation. To find out more about sustainable recreation, we spoke to Justin Dayley. Justin is a local expert in outdoor recreation and as the director of the ISU Outdoor Activity Center, he is heavily involved in facilitating in year-round recreational opportunities and training the next generation of outdoor instructors.

Justin started by explaining that sustainable recreation is when it is possible to repeat an activity over and over again with minimal impacts on the environment. However, Justin noted that all recreation tends to have some affect on the natural landscape.

Much of being a sustainable recreator has to do with common sense and being responsible. Justin explained that he teaches and encourages the ‘Leave No Trace Principles’. The leave no trace principles are made up of seven key concepts of outdoor ethics are designed to minimize the impacts of visiting the outdoors. They include proper waste disposal, being considerate of wildlife and other people, and fire safety. If you want to know more, here is a link to the principles: https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever are recreating expected to be recreating in Idaho. Justin told us that he has seen an ‘explosion’ in the number of people getting out there and trying new recreational activities. Whilst Justin is happy to be facilitating everybody’s equipment needs at the Adventure Center, he is continuing to advocate for sustainable recreation. He gave a few key tips for our local community, including to be prepared, to dispose of waste properly, to respect wildlife, and to seek permission to access private land.

Thanks very much to Justin Dayley, the Director of ISU’s outdoor adventure center. You can find the adventure center on the first floor of the Pond student union building on ISU’s Pocatello campus.

Also, the ISU sustainability club is offering an explorative education day, this Friday, February 12, at 1pm, with hiking, bird watching and discussion of local ecosystems. More information on the ISU sustainability club website.

Join us for Sustainable Idaho next week, where we explore the City of Pocatello’s 2045 100% clean energy resolution.