Getting lost in the wilderness

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A picture of a sign at the Ashton-Tetonia Trail. Photo credit: Travis Skelton

Standing on the BYU-Idaho campus, stunning sights present themselves to students and onlookers. BYU-I distinguishes itself as uniquely rural among the BYU-trifecta. Looking at the counties containing the three universities, BYU-Hawaii is in the largest population center, with BYU-Provo as the second largest and BYU-Idaho, third, according to the United States’ Census website. Being the most remote of the BYUs, campgrounds, state and national parks flank the Rexburg campus on all sides. This gives BYU-I students opportunities to escape into nature as often as desired.

The Ashton-Tetonia Trail opened in 2010 according to https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/ashton-to-tetonia-trail.
The Ashton-Tetonia Trail opened in 2010 according to https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/ashton-to-tetonia-trail. Photo credit: Travis Skelton

While Yellowstone National Park is a popular destination for students to visit, Idaho is home to other camping destinations. According to the National Park Service, Idaho is home to six other national parks, 10 national historic landmarks, three national trails and 245 archeological sites. While some of the parks and sights like the Nez Perce National Historic Park are more than eight hours away, others like Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve are less than three hours away.

The Ashton-Tetonia trail 29.6 miles long according to https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/ashton-to-tetonia-trail
The Ashton-Tetonia trail 29.6 miles long according to https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/ashton-to-tetonia-trail Photo credit: Travis Skelton

While many of Idaho’s national parks are a few hours away from Rexburg, other, closer options exist. According to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Gem State is home to 27 State Parks, with five located in Eastern Idaho near BYU-I.

“My favorite thing about Idaho state parks is that all of the trails are very neat and clean,” said Randy Masulonis, a Rexburg resident. “They seem to be designed to give you the best views on any hike that you take through the parks.”

Signs like this aim to prevent litter and pollution from ruining protected areas.
Signs like this aim to prevent litter and pollution from ruining protected areas. Photo credit: Travis Skelton

Students from out of state appreciate the beauty surrounding BYU-I as well. Dawson Allen, a BYU-Provo student, said Idaho impressed him with its vast expanse.

“You’re able to drive for miles without seeing another person and take in nature,” Allen said. “It’s always cool to see the wild animals.”

While mostly sand, some plants spring up in the dunes.
While mostly sand, some plants spring up in the dunes. Photo credit: Travis Skelton
Old fences are scattered throughout the St. Anthony Dunes.
Old fences are scattered throughout the St. Anthony Dunes. Photo credit: Travis Skelton