Looks like an early Christmas for backcountry trekkers.
The popular Idaho City yurts are now available for those who have reservations. They will be available for new reservations starting Wednesday.
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service reached an agreement Thursday after suspending yurt rentals in September because of a disagreement about liability insurance and permits.
The two agencies formed a cost-share agreement to resolve the issue of who was responsible for liability insurance, Idaho parks communications manager Jennifer Okerland said.
State parks officials said they are notifying people who had reservations for December and January to see if they want to renew them.
“Customers will be given the opportunity to reinstate their reservation for the dates they originally booked,” said Tammy Kolsky, state parks reservation program manager. “If customers wish to reinstate the reservation, payment will be taken at that time, or the reservation can be cancelled if the stay no longer meets the customers’ plans.”
All remaining yurt dates will become available for reservations at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at parksandrecreation.idaho.gov, or by calling (888) 922-6743.
The state-run yurt system has been running continuously since the first one was built in 1996. There have been no significant concerns or complaints about their operation, nor any lawsuits, according to Parks and Recreation officials.
But during last summer’s wildfires, Forest Service officials found there was no formal agreement between the agencies to operate the yurts.
About 2,500 people use the six yurts each year and they generate nearly $80,000 in revenue annually, according to Parks and Recreation officials.
The agency refunded about $26,000 in yurt reservations that were scheduled between September and mid-January.
“We are hoping to recoup some of that with reinstating reservations,” Okerland said.
The yurts are popular among cross-country skiers and snowshoers who use the Park ‘N Ski areas along Idaho 21.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors