IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Spring has sprung, and outdoor enthusiasts are taking full advantage of the backcountry for a variety of activities.
Bonneville County Sheriff's Office's captain Sam Hulse tells us, some people are on the wrong path.
"We begin to see problems with underage drinkers and those kind of parties in the backcountry, as well as just people back there navigating that don't necessarily know the roadways," he said.
To keep everyone safe, the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office will have extra deputies in the backcountry areas to look for any kind of criminal activity, but they are very focused on one group in particular.
"We get a lot of underage drinkers in the back country and there's a lot of danger to that because if they do drink and drive there's a lot of risk there we have had fatality accidents in the past," Hulse said.
He says backcountry roadways generally aren't as safe, especially for drunk drivers. Sometimes they can be narrow dirt or gravel roads with uneven surfaces.
"So you have to be very cognizant of when you're traveling through those areas that you have to pay attention to the road surface, you have to drive at a speed that allows you to do so safely," Hulse said.
Captain Hulse also says you should be mindful of private property no mater what you are driving.
"Don't drink and drive your ATV or your four wheeler. It's just a bad idea. That's how bad things happen. So just be safety minded. Go have fun and be careful."
Enjoying the outdoors is a great thing to do this time of year, Hulse says just make sure what you're doing is legal, responsible and mindful of others.
"Just pay attention to those things when they're out recreating in the backcountry and be mindful of other people's space. If you're camping out in these areas, make sure that you leave the appropriate space between you and the other people that are camping and be appropriate in those areas so that we have less conflict," Hulse said.
Another thing to remember is practicing water safety. Captain Hulse tells us right now the water in the Snake River is running very fast with a lot of debris, and that boaters should think twice before getting in.
“Now is not a good time to put your boats on the snake river. If you choose to put your boats on the snake river, you need to make sure that you have all your safety implements and that you are a capable boat operator and that the boat that you're using is sound. The water is dangerous and will get you into trouble very quickly, and a lot of times people that don't understand the dangerousness of that water they get in, and a lot of times we can't save them. We can't get to them quick enough and we can't rescue them," Hulse said.
Last weekend the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office issued over two dozen citations to people under 21 in backcountry areas for disturbances, reckless driving and underage drinking.
To fund the extra deputies in the backcountry areas, BCSO will be using grant money.