Tens of thousands of years ago, when the weather was much cooler and wetter than today, lush
vegetation was grazed by one-humped camels, mammoths, pony-sized horses and large bison.
As the shoreline sands dried out, that sand began to be blown into what is now known as
the St. Anthony Sand Dunes.
Today recreationalists of all kinds like to come here to enjoy this unique area, which
is the largest tract of sand dunes in Idaho. Endless OHV opportunities can be enjoyed on
15 continuous miles of open sand, covering approximately 175 square miles. And if you
are not an OHV-enthusiast, you can enjoy other opportunities for camping, horseback riding,
sledding or antler hunting.
Egin lakes access is located midway along a 15 mile stretch of sand dunes. To the east
are small rolling hills suitable for beginning ATV users or youngsters. To the west are challenging
hills rising over 400 feet and surrounding the dunes is another 10,000 acres of juniper
and sagebrush. Together the two land types comprise the Sand Mountain Wilderness Study
Area. The BLM is required by law to maintain the
natural values of the area. This is the focus of management and the basis for rules and
regulations. So what does this mean to motorized recreation? It means that there are rules
in place to ensure safety, and assist the preservation of the dunes.
Jeff Long, BLM Ranger>>
The St. Anthony Sand Dunes Wilderness Study Area are closed to all fires except in the
campground or in the small designated area along the Red Road. Inside that area you're
only allowed to burn clean fuel wood; that means no pallets, no furniture, no plastics
or tires; anything that would be leaving a mess behind to ruin our dunes.
When you consider the hot, dry summers and the cold, snowy winters, you might expect
the dunes to be inhospitable for animals, but visitors usually find the dunes crisscrossed
with tracks of small rodents, birds and insects. In fact, the dunes host the largest desert
wintering elk population in North America.
The St. Anthony Sand Dunes is critical range for large game animals and habitat for sharptail
and sage-grouse. Because of this critical range, portions of the Sand Mountain Wilderness
Study Area are closed off to all forms of human entry from January 1st to April 1st
or May 1st of each year. In the coming months the BLM is working on designating routes within
the Winter Wildlife Closure.
Blake Baker, Lead Rec Tech>>
Umm, be a defensive driver. Always watch for a flag and make sure you have a flag.
Although this area looks like a playground, many species thrive on this unique environment.
Nowhere else is the sand evening-primrose found, and its relative the pale evening-primerose
grows in a special form that is known only to these dunes. In addition, the St. Anthony
Sand Dunes boasts the largest and most viable population of the rare tiger beetle that is
known only two other locations in the world.
Each year 300,000 people visit the sand dunes; so come and enjoy, play, ride, but remember,
you are not the only ones here.