You may have noticed recently that Idaho Parks and Recreation has a new online registration system. You may have also noticed that it is somewhat confusing. The News-Examiner has spoken with Andy Stokes, Park Ranger for Bear Lake State Parks, regarding this situation and he has clarified some logistics of the site.

To begin with, he wants everyone to know that the online registration system is a work in progress at this point. Idaho Parks and Recreation will be tweaking the system quite a bit over the next few months to make it more user friendly and to update information as it is made available.

At this point, it seems the most confusing issue is the $40 per year Annual Park Pass versus the $10 per year State Park Pass. There needs to be some clarification here, and Mr. Stokes was able to help with this. According to Stokes, the $10 State Park Pass can be added on when an Idaho resident renews his/her license plate registration online. The $40 Annual Park Pass is for non-residents to purchase online.

If you renew your vehicle registration without purchasing a park pass, the State Park Pass can be purchased when you pull up to a kiosk at the entrance to any state park in Idaho. The Annual Park Pass for non-residents can be purchased at the kiosks as well. Park passes may also be purchased at the local Idaho Department of Motor Vehicles and the Fish Haven General Store, as well as the Idaho Parks and Recreation office.

The News-Examiner also spoke with Mr. Stokes regarding reservations for spots on Bear Lake’s North Beach. There will soon be a system in place where residents and non-residents alike can go online and pre-book spots at the beach. An attendant at a kiosk in place at the entrance to the beach will then scan a barcode on your cell phone to verify your reservation. There will only be one reservation allowed per vehicle.

This advance reservation system for spots on North Beach will allow a person to book a spot as much as nine months in advance. This will give people the chance to book their spot in advance and not have to sit in lines in the sweltering heat on the road to the beach, hoping there will be spot when they finally get there. It will also give local residents an advantage if they take the opportunity to book far enough in advance.

The unfortunate part is that Idaho Parks and Recreation will probably not have this early booking system up and running until late June or early July, and possibly not until the summer of 2022. They have high hopes for it, however, but there are just so many moving parts to the system that have to be put in place, according to Mr. Stokes.

If you have any questions about the online registration system; need to register any off-road vehicles, such as snowmobiles, ATVs, motor bikes, or water crafts; or need an invasive species sticker, Mr. Stokes has said he will be available at any time to help. He can be contacted on his cell phone at (208) 530-3248. Registration stickers can also be purchased at any Parks and Recreation office or Ranger Station.

Hopefully this has clarified the online registration system to some extent. Just know it is a work in progress and will be more user friendly as time goes by. We all need to be patient with Idaho Parks and Recreation as they fine-tune this system. In the end, it will be a great tool for registering our crafts and reserving places on North Beach. That alone will be something all of us in the Bear Lake Valley will appreciate when it comes to having the beach available to us over and above the many tourists who come in and take advantage of the beach during the summer.

Be patient! It will be awesome!

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