ALMO, Idaho (KLIX)-The City of Rocks National Reserve increased in size now that private land has become part of the reserve near Almo, Idaho. The National Park Service announced the acquisition of 22.2 acres of private property, known as the Gibson property, within the reserve boundaries. "Beginning immediately, the public may enjoy expanded recreational access for hiking, hunting, and rock climbing," said Wallace Keck, Superintendent, City of Rocks National Reserve said in a prepared statement. "Park maps will be updated soon to orient visitors to the new public lands." Keck said the only thing the public cannot do within the new addition is camp, which is only allowed in designated, numbered, campsites within the reserve. The new addition is located between Register Rock and Elephant Rock.

In the announcement the Park Service stated: "Under the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act of 1988, which provides a way for private landowners to willingly sell their property to a willing buyer (the United States) if continued ownership resulted in an operational hardship, the NPS was able to work with one of the reserve's private land inholders to acquire these acres."

The area includes known climbing routes and granite rock features such as Dungeon, Crystal Cow, and Electric Avenue. With the new addition, the reserve has 10,022 acres of federal lands, 640 acres of state park land, and 3,745 acres of private land; private lands are still off limits to the public. New maps and information will be published that will include the new addition. Around 120,000 people visit the area every year. The area features some of the early history of Idaho with carvings from the earliest indigenous inhabitants to the early pioneers who traveled through the area on their way west.

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City of Rocks Grows