4 Simple Ways You Can Help Sustain Stanley, Idaho’s Stunning Scenery


Stanley, Idaho is arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Beyond the charming views, one of the most thrilling characteristics of Stanley is the diverse terrain that allows for endless recreational opportunities like biking, hiking, fishing, relaxing, horseback riding, river rafting, skiing, and motorsports.

If you’ve never been to Stanley, Idaho you owe it to yourself to experience the pristine alpine lakes, an assortment of wildlife, the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, and the awe-inspiring Sawtooth National Forest. If you have made the trek, you know exactly why a little over 100 people brave the cold Stanley winters to don the title of, “Resident.” They take pride in genuinely welcoming visitors to their beautiful town and urge travelers to “Recreate Responsibly” to ensure the land stays safe, accessible, and preserved for future generations.

A picture of a dog in a field

What Does Recreate Responsibly Mean?

During the pandemic, Idaho became one of the fastest-growing states. Record numbers of people sought social distancing through outdoor recreation which caused a strain on resources. In response, state and federal governments began the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign. They offer tips and encourage etiquette to ensure everyone, and everything (including the land and wildlife) is safe.

A picture of someone on a mountain trail with a backpack

How Do You Recreate Responsibly?

Recreate Responsibly Idaho offers four easy ways you can do your part to recreate responsibly:


Stay safe by planning in these ways:

  • Create a trip agenda in advance. Make sure to share the details with someone who can help account for your whereabouts.
  • Reserve camping sites before making your trip to ensure you’ll have a place to stay when you arrive.
  • Pay attention to special regulations and make sure to comply.
  • Understand what wildlife may be in the area you are in and what to do if you cross paths.
  • Pack the appropriate clothing and supplies that you’ll need. Note that nighttime temperatures cool down, sunscreen is wise, and trash bags are a must!


With an increase in recreationists, staff can be limited and rescues may be delayed, so avoid risky behaviors.

  • Check with locals about unsafe areas to avoid.
  • Follow speed limits and other signs that may limit behaviors. They are posted for your safety.
  • Spring runoff can be dangerous, so know your skill level when it comes to kayaking.
  • Research the difficulty of trails before you try them and be sure you’re equipped with adequate gear.
  • If there are avalanche warnings, take heed.
  • Maintain a healthy distance from others enjoying the land.
  • If you are sick, especially with COVID-19, stay home to reduce the spread.


You can play an important role in keeping Stanley and the surrounding Sawtooth National Recreation Area beautiful.

  • Adhere to the old Idaho adage, “Leave it nicer than you found it.” Simply pick up after yourself and any extra garbage that may have been there when you arrived to leave no trace.
  • Avoid leaving trash in your campfire ring, backfill catholes, and take any soiled toilet paper (not disposed of in a toilet) with you.


If you are camping in the Sawtooth Recreational Forest around Stanley, the forest service has some excellent tips we can all follow to practice fire safety.

  • Utilize designated fire rings if possible. If not possible, make your own with a ring of rocks and clear all vegetation or potential fuel from around its perimeter.
  • Burn in designated areas only and on days when it is legal to do so. Respect red/extreme fire risk warnings from The National Park Service by not making a fire.
  • Keep your fire small and NEVER leave your campfire unattended.
  • Make sure a fire is completely out by covering it with water and stirring it with a shovel until all of the embers are extinguished. Then, pour more water over it.
  • Keep vehicles on trails to prevent sparks from igniting a brush fire.
  • Use firewood from within the area unless it is certified heat-treated to reduce the risk of introducing tree-killing insects.
A picture of a hammock in front of a blue lake

Why Should You Recreate Responsibly?

With such a small population of residents to care for the recreational area, and a large number of visitors, everyone must do their part to help sustain the magic and beauty of Stanley, Idaho. Additionally these guidelines are meant to help keep people safe. There is a lot at stake, so Recreate Responsibly by Knowing Before You Go, Recreating Within Your Limits, Packing It In And Packing it out, and Being Fire Safe.

For more information about Stanley, visit our web pages Things to Do, Where to Stay, Plan Your Trip, or check out the Stanley Sawtooth Chamber of Commerce Blog.

Written by: Amber Hawton-Hill