Monthly Archives: January 2016

Jan 31, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times

Jan 31, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Local Observations:

Monday (Jan 25) cold clear morning, an average of 17″ of snow on the ground. Mostly sunny all day, got above freezing for a little while, icicles dripping, then temperature dropped below freezing the rest of the afternoon. Mostly clear and cold night.

Tuesday (Jan 26) mostly clear and cold morning, no new precip. Mostly sunny, increasing clouds in afternoon. Quiet evening.

Wednesday (Jan 27) mostly cloudy morning. Decreasing cloudy by lunch time and warm afternoon. Slick spots on local roads, paths slick. Increasing clouds by evening.
Thursday (Jan 28) partly cloudy morning, increasing clouds during the day. Socked in and raining late afternoon. Rain/snow mix towards sundown, then wet snow falling by dusk. (Really slick while it was raining!)

Friday (Jan 29) mostly cloudy snowing, 3/4″ new snow, average 17″ snow on the ground. Yesterday’s rain froze under the wet snow, hard to shovel, but better for walking.

Saturday and Sunday, both mornings received 1/3” new snow, quiet weekend.

Local Crafts:


Yellow Pine and Lodge-pole table by Mushroom Man


Bernice Parks


Bernice passed away this morning, Jan 31, 2016


Bernice Irene Parks

September 17, 1927 – January 31, 2016

Bernice Irene Parks formerly of Yellow Pine and Emmett, Idaho went to her final resting place to join her savior the morning of January 31, 2016.

Bernice was born in Greeley, Nebraska. She was the 7th of 10 children born to Leo and Lillian Zahm. The family moved to New Plymouth Idaho in 1937 where the family farmed. Bernice graduated from New Plymouth High School in 1945. She married Howard Eugene Parks on July 25th, 1945. They farmed on the Emmett bench where they raised their family of 7 children. Bernice was a hard worker who taught that same ethic to all her children whether in the beet fields of Emmett, the dairy barn or in her large garden in the back yard.

In August of 1973 Gene, Bernice and Joe moved to Yellow Pine Idaho where they purchased the Yellow Pine Merc and Post office. They built the Snow Inn and welcomed many family, friends and strangers into their home for great meals and a warm bed. In March of 1983 Bernice lost Gene and Joe to a tragic accident but she continued to operate the Post office and store until her retirement in 1998.

Bernice was also known for her ability to knit and quilt. She won many awards with her quilts and all of her children and grandchildren are recipients of those treasures. A testament of Bernice’s love can be found in her grandchildren who absolutely adored Grandma Bernice. Many of her nieces and nephews called her my favorite “Aunt Bernice”. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.

Bernice was preceded in death by all but 2 of her siblings, her husband Gene and son Joe. She is survived by her brother Mike Zahm and sister Betty Callahan, three sons Gene (Dianna) Parks of Emmett, Richard Parks of Boise, Bill (RJ) Parks of Eagle; three daughters, Sharon (Dick) Terry of Eagle, Vickie (Les) Hull of McMinnville, OR, and Kathy Parks of Boise; 14 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren, 4 great great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at the Potter Funeral Chapel in Emmett, Idaho at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

The Family would like to thank Les Bois quality care and Heart ‘N Home hospice for their help and compassion during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Opal Foundation (Heart ‘n Home Hospice Care) at 1107 N.W. 11TH St. Fruitland, Idaho 83619.

Guest Book:
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Ned N. Pence


Ned Pence passed away Friday, January 15, peacefully at home. Ned was born on July 21, 1937. He grew up in Mackay, Idaho, with his loving parents and four brothers. In 1955 he left Mackay to attend the College of Forestry at the University of Idaho to study Forest Management. He received his B.S. degree in Forest Management in 1959 and married Arleen Westfall, the love of his life, on January 29, 1959 in Salmon, Idaho. After graduation he worked at many jobs as a professional forester in Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana. He returned to the University of Idaho in 1966 and received a Master of Forestry degree in 1967.

Ned believed and practiced active forest management. The high point of his career was his position as District Ranger for the Island Park Ranger District on the Targhee National Forest from 1976 to 1980. The Island Park Ranger District was experiencing an infestation of the mountain pine bark beetle and becoming a dead forest. Ned supervised the harvest of about 150,000 acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine. The 1988 wildfire in Yellowstone National Park stopped at the District boundary where there was no ground fuel to burn. Over thirty years later the area is stocked with rapidly growing lodgepole pine. Today few people would understand what happened in the 1970s. There are thousands of acres of new forests g­­rowing in Washington State, the Boise National Forest, Payette National Forest, Targhee National Forest and the Tongass National Forest as a result of active forest management that involved Ned. Ned was a Fellow and Golden member of the Society of American Foresters.

In 1980 Ned transferred to the Petersburg Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. He resigned from the United States Forest Service in 1990 to become a forest consultant working with his wife, Arleen, and son, Don. In 2005 he recognized that the mountains were too steep and the brush too thick to continue and retired.

Ned leaves his wife, Arleen at their Moscow home, his son, Don (Deb) Pence in Hauser Lake, ID, his daughter, Tammy (Tim) O’Connor of Deary, three grandsons, four granddaughters, and his four brothers. One son, David, preceded him in death.

A vigil service will be held on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 AM. A luncheon for family and friends will follow at St. Mary’s Family Center.

In lieu of flowers, Ned asks that donations be made to the Steel House Inc. Building Fund, 501 ( c )3 Charitable Organization, % Zions Bank, 105 S. Main ST., Moscow, ID 83843.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to

Share Your Condolences:

Photo to Share:

Cascade Lake


photo by Dave Putman

Letter to Share:

Commissioner Cruickshank’s January 2106 Newsletter

Jan 31, 2016

From the desk of Commissioner Cruickshank,

Well Happy New Year everyone. What a great way to start the new year with plenty of snow for all to play in. This surely will provide the much needed moisture for the coming year.

Saturday Jan. 2nd
Today I fielded a few calls from concerns on trash pickup and snow removal. Worked on a few grant support letter re-writes for agencies and groups applying for Idaho Parks and Recreation Grants. Had a call on folks wanting to help with the Capitol Christmas Tree which comes off the Payette National Forest this year.

Sunday Jan. 3rd
I read emails on the Oregon Wildlife Refuge situation. Replied to a citizen about the recent power outages and the closure of Elo Road due to tree hazard.

Monday Jan. 4th
Commissioner day today where we discussed my being invited to attend the Western Governors Association (WGA) workshop on Endangered Species issues and will miss the January 19th commissioner meeting. Approved grant support letters for the Payette National Forest, a market value increase from a Board of Tax Appeal decision, a letter to request utilizing Fire Wise treatment in existing subdivisions was sent to the Idaho Department of Lands, letter of support for the Eastside Bridge replacement project for Eastside Drive and discussed the disbursement of funds from a trust account to Lake Irrigation District.

Worked this afternoon on the draft agenda for the upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) Western Interstate Region (WIR) Board meeting to be held in Washington DC during the Legislative Conference in late February.

I registered for the WGA workshop that will be in Boise on February 19th.

Tuesday Jan. 5th
The commissioners attended a Valley County Waterways Committee meeting to review and discuss the proposed Lake Ordinance that will work for all water bodies in Valley County. Also discussed was beach erosion on Lake Cascade primarily in the Boulder Creek Arm of the lake due to wake boarding.

Wednesday Jan. 6th
Today I attended a meeting, in Boise, hosted by the Idaho Farm Bureau and the Idaho Recreation Council to discuss Restoring Water Rights to Ranchers and Reasons for State Management of Federal Lands. Presentations were;
Idaho Supreme Court Justice Dan Eismann – the Joyce and LU Livestock water rights Idaho Supreme Court Decision
Randy Parker, CEO Utah Farm Bureau – Federal Extortion of water rights from permittees
Ramona Hage – the recent Wayne Hage Jr. Nevada case finding that water rights equal grazing rights and permanent preference rights
Discussion of Benefits – for State Management of Federal Lands

Thursday Jan. 7th
Today I worked on catching up with emails and phone calls.

Friday Jan. 8th
I met with our Fire Wise Consultant, Idaho Department of Lands officials and a Forest Service official on the request to amend our agreement to allow work to be done to reduce wildfire in existing subdivisions.

This afternoon many county elected officials and staff attended the Funeral of our Sheriff’s husband who passed recently. Needless to say the church was overflowing with folks showing their condolences.

Saturday Jan. 9th
I was invited to attend the Idaho Recreation Council’s meeting held in Boise. Legislative issues were discussed as it pertains to recreation that could impact some of the activities in Valley County. Also discussed were National Monument possibilities, State Lands being leased for recreation, Transfer of Public Lands, recreational crossing signs and match funding for a project in Valley County. I am pleased to say before the meeting concluded Valley County had $3,500.00 promised for matching funding.

Monday Jan. 11th
Regular Commissioners meeting today. Thank you to my fellow commissioners for re-electing me to be chairman. Approved Resolution 16-08 to disburse fund to Lake Irrigation District, claims and Jr. College Tuition. Heard reports from Elected officials and Department heads. Held a Closed Indigent session, had a presentation by  the Public Defender on the 2015 Year End Report and had a presentation from local folks with the Americas Best Community contest explaining the process and where Valley County/Meadows Valley are with their application. The Mayor of McCall presented on happenings in McCall including the recent loss of the prior City Manager. We approved an Agreement to do additional work on the Jumbo Creek Arch culvert on Lick Creek road and approved bids to Cascade Auto for new Sheriff Patrol vehicles.

Tuesday Jan. 12th
I met with one of the participants in the Woody Debris collection to hear comments on the past work and to offer ways to improve this in the future.
Worked on emails, returned calls and more letters of support for grant applications.

Wednesday Jan. 13th
The commissioners along with many others gathered at Midas Gold offices to learn if Valley County/Meadows Valley become one of the top 15 finalists in the Americas Best Communities (ABC) contest. Happily we made it through and will now compete for the top 8. When we move to the top 8 we are in the final round. KUDO’s to all that are helping make this happen. Now the ABC group here in Valley County/Meadows Valley will need to decide who will represent us in Duram, North Carolina in April to present our plan. …

I participated in a National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition conference call to discuss an upcoming meeting in Washington DC directly after the NACo conference. This event will be to continue the advocacy for Secure Rural School (SRS) payments and the continue the request for responsible forest management which is how the funding source was originally intended instead of payments from the SRS program.

Later today I met with a representative, in Boise, from the University of Nevada Reno who is working on garnering information about Economic Development for the 10 Southwest Idaho Counties. As prior President of the Idaho Council of Government who represented this same region we discussed the ups and downs of the region since I was involved. This information will be used to determine how the Economic Development Area for this region continues into the future.

Thursday Jan. 14th
Today was a meeting of the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) Legislative Committee to review and discuss what legislation seems to be moving and what is being proposed now that the Idaho Legislature is in session.

Monday Jan. 18th
I drove to Boise for the WGA workshop meeting tomorrow.

Tuesday Jan. 19th
The WGA Species Conservation and ESA Initiative meeting was held at the Riverside Hotel. Roundtable discussions were held on:
Role of State and Local Governments in Species Conservation and ESA Implementation
Best Available Science
Critical Habitat Designations
A working lunch where we broke into groups to discuss the issues
Governor Otter spoke on the work accomplished by State and Local Government on ESA issues
Recognition of Voluntary Conservation Efforts
Landscape Level Conservation and Incentivizing Private Land Owners
Facilitators reported on the work group lunch session
And we ended with any final thoughts.
Panels of various agencies, organizations and local government were utilized for each of the above to discuss their accomplishments or lack of accomplishments in their experience to tell their side of the issues.

Wednesday Jan. 20th
Before heading home I stopped by the IAC offices and chatted with the staff on various issues.

This afternoon I attended the retirement party for our retiring Jail Commander held at the Emergency Operations Center in Cascade.

Thursday Jan. 21st
After phone calls and emails this morning I then attended the afternoon portion of the Payette Forest Coalition (PFC). Discussed while I was in attendance was the formation of a potential Land Allocation Committee under the umbrella of the PFC which would encompass the entire Payette National Forest (PNF) including the Frank Church River of no Return Wilderness. This project will be a trial run for 1 year and then reevaluate the need. Then a presentation was done, by PNF staff, on the Middle Fork Weiser River project. I also learned that PNF Supervisor Lannom will be leaving on a detail to the Washington DC office for 5 weeks this spring.

Friday Jan. 22nd
I received a call today from an ABC representative that I was one of the folks chosen to go to Duram, North Carolina in April to represent the Valley County/Meadows Valley group in the ABC Contest. Being asked to be nominated was okay with me however many others could of well represented us also. I am very honored to be asked to do this for our region.

Monday Jan. 25th
Commissioner meeting today. Approved were claims and Jr. College Tuition, presented awards to an individual for 10 years of service and one individual for 25 years of service. We heard reports from Elected Officials and Department Heads. Enough employees did their work with our Risk Management Program to qualify for a 5 percent discount on our Liability Insurance. Thank you all who participated. We approved a GIS software contract. We held our closed session for Indigent, approved the minutes of January 19th, reviewed election precinct and commissioner districts on a map created by the GIS staff, representatives from Cascade State Parks, Bureau of Reclamation and Idaho Transportation Department came to discuss recent inquiries to have snow removal performed on Stonebreaker Lane for Ice Fishermen. As this is an added cost to everyone no one is willing to provide the service as it takes away from other areas which need the service. A potential solution is a larger parking area near Highway 55. More research is needed on this issue. We then reviewed policy requirements for employees who have medical insurance through the county. Ending the day was an Executive Session informing the commissioners of the issue. This resulted in no decision needed at this time.

After commissioners I met with a consultant representing a potential investor for Midas Gold. He was interested in the county perspective as to the working of Midas Gold and how the community was involved or not.

Early evening I had a phone conversation with an individual to discuss the PFC and their discussions on this new committee to understand why this was moving away from Adams County and more into all of the Payette National Forest.

Tuesday Jan. 26th
I was invited to attend a meeting with the ALZAR School to look at the potential of doing Fire Wise fuel treatments on their property. Especially exciting with this meeting was the opportunity for the ALZAR School to add this into their Science Curriculum on an ongoing basis. With the ALZAR landscape it would provide a great opportunity to teach students how the forest ecosystem works and how to manage it for sustainability.

Wednesday Jan. 27th
Wow I needed to catch up with emails and such. I also reviewed some proposed legislation on forest management to provide comments. I then sent my comments to the parties who asked for the review.

Thursday Jan. 28th
My day started with a conference call with the NACo Western Region. Not to be confused with the Western Interstate Region. The Western Region is a part of the NACo governance structure and the representative is on the NACo Executive Committee. Okay during this call we heard a very detailed report from Judge Grasty in Harney County, Oregon. In Oregon the commissioners are often called Judges when they preside over the commissioners. Judge Grasty provided us a what if this happened in your county. One item that was concerning was the militia had 30-40 people surround their courthouse when they were having meetings to discuss the occupation of the Wildlife Refuge. The militia were armed with assault rifles or hunting rifles along with hand guns. In Harney County they only have 13 officers so many of the Oregon Counties provided additional support with Sheriffs and Deputies responding when needed. Oregon State Police were also providing any resources to assist. This is just one of the topics the Judge brought up on what to be aware of.

The Big CK/Yellow Pine Group was also meeting today so I then attended their meeting. Today we had a presentation, by Anthony Bottello the Krassel District Ranger, of the Big Creek Roads Access Management Plan (BCRAMP for short). This presentation was  a preview of what the PNF will be asking for public comment on in the near future. The next part of the meeting was a presentation by the three focus groups who have reviewed the areas in the main South Fork Drainage on the PNF for possible opportunities for recreation and restoration. These groups are Recreation, Resource (fish, wildlife, etc) and Rounded (mining, private land access, etc). Each group after reporting will work on additional questions and or concerns brought up during this meeting.

Friday Jan 29th
Today I met with the other two representatives who were selected to be the team to present Valley County/Meadows Valley’s plan to the folks in North Carolina. Our fist meeting was spent learning a little about each other and where our passions are for this project. We will have our “A” Game on for this presentation as we all are working to be the number one in the end.

Well folks that wraps up another eventful month of meetings and working to keep Valley County in the forefront of everyone I meet and to insure Valley County’s needs and struggles are known out side of this region.

To see more of Valley County’s commissioner minutes or to learn more about Valley County check our website at

To learn more about the ABC contest and see our proposal along with the other 14 go to

Here is an article about the ABC in Fortune Magazine
One of These 15 Small Towns Will Win $3 Million

Thank you to everyone for reading my newsletter and asking questions or providing comments.

Happy Ground Hog day a few days early.


Idaho News:

McCall Fire issues warning about falling ice

BY DAN GALLAGHER for The Star-News Jan 28, 2016

McCall Fire & EMS is asking homeowners to clear snow and ice from around their propane tanks following a recent explosion at Rock Flat and three calls about gas leaks in the past week.

Firefighters responded to a Jan. 4 call about a blast and fire at the shed at Rock Flat west of McCall. The blaze destroyed the shed owned by Ted Ketlinsky of Boise, including a boat, snowmobiles and jet skis stored inside.

The cause was a severed propane connection caused when ice falling off the roof cut it. Gas leaked inside and was ignited by a heater, Fire Chief Mark Billmire said.

Crews rolled several times last week on propane leaks. They checked the interior of AmeriTitle at 507 Pine St., last Thursday, shut down the tank and ventilated the business. Firefighters continued to smell liquid propane and entered the building next door at 1206 Roosevelt St., Billmire said.

“Snow and ice had broken the connection at the tank and there was an audible hissing sound from the escaping gas,” he said. “The structure was ventilated and utilities shut down.”

The department returned to the Roosevelt address on Friday because of a propane odor. AmeriGas found no leaks, but determined the gas leaked under the snow earlier and was seeping out as the temperatures warmed.

Later that day, they responded to a propane leak at 712 Samson Trail. AmeriGas checked the system, the home was ventilated and the residents advised to stay elsewhere for the night as the problem was fixed.

Home owners should clear away ice and snow from around their tanks, Billmire said. They also should check their roofs to ensure falling ice does not damage the regulator and supply lines below.

“We have been fortunate to only have had the one explosion and fire with the multiple problems and leaks we are seeing,” he said.

source: The Star-News
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Avalanche awareness class to be held Feb. 12-13

The Star-News Jan 28, 2016

Snowmobile enthusiasts who want to know about avalanches safely should attend an Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation clinic on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13.

The Feb. 12 meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Valley County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center at 107 W. Spring St. in Cascade.

The Friday clinic will be followed by a field class on Saturday, Feb. 13., starting at 9 a.m., at the West Mountain snowmobile parking lot at the Anderson Creek trailhead across Lake Cascade from Cascade.

To register, call (208) 514-2414 or register online at

source: The Star-News
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Winter Festival goers decorate ornaments for capitol Christmas tree

KTVB January 30, 2016

MCCALL – Winter Festival goers were able to take part in a special craft project on Saturday. Young and old made ornaments to go on this year’s Christmas tree for the capitol building in Washington D.C.

Senator Mike Crapo said that for the last 50 years, a tree has come from a state across the country and this year, Idaho was selected to provide the tree. This year’s tree has been selected to come from the Payette National Forest.

Senator Crapo decorated an ornament himself. He said this is a fun and good opportunity for Idaho.

“People all over Idaho will help to decorate that tree. We will share our heritage and our culture and our values with the rest of the country.”

Idaho will provide the nation’s capitol with a 60 to 85 foot tree.

continued w/video report:
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Fight over public lands takes to Boise

Morgan Boydston, KTVB January 30, 2016

Downtown Boise was a battle ground for two opposing views Saturday afternoon. While a property rights workshop was going on at the Boise Centre, a group was rallying in support of keeping public lands in public hands.

Land ownership is a hot-button issue in the West, and it has been brought to light recently through the take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. However, it’s not a new concern for ranchers, or for those who want public lands to stay in the hands of the public. Those rallying against privatizing public lands- against the corporate and individual land-grab- marched from the Capitol to the Grove where Utah’s Freedom Conference was hosting a workshop.

continued w/video report:

Letter to Share:

Sausage and More Sausage

Hi all,

The Viola community Center has some of the best home made sausage made from real meat.  For a donation to the Community center you can get the following.

Hot August Night.  This is a stick you will like kind of like pepperoni.  $10.00 donation to C/C gets you 1 pkg.

Pepper Stick.  This is a little hotter than the Hot August Night.   $10.00 donation to the C/C gets you one pkg.

Sweet Italian bulk.  $5.00 donation to the C/C will get you a pkg.  This is supper for breakfast or meat balls.

Hot Italian links.  $5.00 donation to the C/C will get you a pkg.  This is my favorite.

Regular Breakfast sausage bulk.  $5.00 donation to the C/C gets you a pkg.  Very low fat.

Our famous German Sausage in link.  $5.00 donation to the C/C will get you a pkg.  Now here is a deal you cant pass up.  $20.00 donation to the C/C will get you 5 pkgs.  This is the best German Sausage in the country.

We have some limited amount of our famous Summer Sausage.  The casings are 25 to 30 inches long and about 3 inches thick.  For a donation of $30.00 you can have a full casing.  We do cut them in thirds and for a donation of $10.00 you can have a 1/3 stick.

All the Sausage is very lean, when you pan fry you will need to put a little oil in the pan.  You can give me a call at 208-883-3423 for directions for pickup or we will deliver in the Moscow area.

Sausage is going fast. If you want some great eating you need to reserve now.  Give me a call or email and I will hold for you.  First come gets first. We have it frozen and ship to Az. Tex, the coast.  All the pepperoni and summer sausage is cooked and smoked.  The rest is smoked except the bulk.

Jim Hagedorn

Forest/BLM News:

North Zone Districts of the Boise National Forest Intend to Submit Grant Proposals to Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation

Jan 25, 2016

Cascade, ID – The Lowman, Cascade and Emmett Ranger Districts of the Boise National Forest are applying for grant funding from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation to help trail and developed campsite improvements and maintenance.

The different applications will request funding through the Departments Off-Road Motor Vehicle (ORMV), Recreation Trails Program (RTP), Recreational Vehicle (RV) programs, Mountain Bike Plate Funds, and (MBR) Motorbike Recreation Account.

* ORMV funds would improve maintenance of 300 miles across a large cross section of the 687 miles of motorized trails within the three northern districts.

* RV and Road/Bridge Program would be to extend the existing pavement on National Forest System Road (NFSR) 489 approximately ½ mile, past popular and/or high use recreational areas, including the North Shore Lodge/Resort and Picnic Point CG.

* ORMV funds would support providing the necessary equipment and crew time to assist in the heavy trail maintenance and signing of approximately 250 miles of motorized trail.

* Mountain Bike Plate Fund/ORMV would assist with the completion the last section of the Wewukiyi mountain bike trail and rework previously constructed portions of trail.

* RTP funds would help maintain approximately 80 miles of the 230 miles of non-motorized trails located on the North Zone of the Boise National Forest.

* RV funds would be concentrated on improving Tie Creek Campground. The grant will fund the replacement of campground furniture and tent pads as well as improve the ramp.

* ORMV funds would support 2 OHV Trail Rangers and enhance OHV trailheads with regulatory and informational signage, conduct trail clearing, install three new OHV map kiosks, and barricade illegal user created trails.

* MBR funds would support providing the necessary motorcycle equipment and crew time to assist in the heavy trail maintenance and signing of approximately 250 miles of motorized trail.

All grant proposals will improve the visitor experience, and mitigate public health and safety hazards.  If received, implementation of the trails and ORMV grants would begin in late summer and the RV grant would be implemented in the fall.

Comments or requests for more information should be submitted to Ronda Bishop, Cascade Ranger District, and P.O. Box 696, Cascade, ID or by calling 208-382-7460.

Linda Steinhaus
Public Affairs
Forest Service
Boise National Forest
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Wildfire plan seen as biggest land policy change in decades

By KEITH RIDLER – AP Published: 1/26/16

BOISE, Idaho — A year after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell shifted the national approach to fighting wildfires across a wide swath of sagebrush country in the West, her strategy is turning out to be one of the most significant federal land policy changes in some 80 years, public land experts, outdoor enthusiasts and scientists say.

The five-page order she issued last January directed federal resources for the first time to fight massive blazes in open sagebrush steppe habitat that supports cattle ranching, recreation and some 350 species of wildlife, including the imperiled sage grouse.

“It is one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States,” said Janice Schneider, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

Firefighting officials say Jewell’s order led more of the nation’s firefighting resources to respond to blazes in Great Basin sagebrush steppe last year, when the U.S. experienced one of its worst wildfire seasons, with nearly 16,000 square miles burned. Experts say her strategy helped extinguish several smaller fires, though one giant blaze scorched sagebrush steppe in portions of Idaho and Oregon.


Mining News:

Nevada governor seeks change in sage grouse mining rule

By SCOTT SONNER – AP Published: 1/28/16

RENO, Nevada — The governor of gold-rich Nevada is pressing the Obama administration to alter its sage grouse protection plan to free up thousands of mining claims by shrinking the restricted area in exchange for making other unprotected areas off limits, restoring burned out rangeland and reining in wild horse herds.

Gov. Brian Sandoval maintains his alternative would exclude only about 6 percent of the federal land the government has temporarily withdrawn from future mineral development in Nevada. Previously unverified mining claims in the state are effectively frozen across 4,200 square miles — a swath nearly as large as Connecticut.

The moderate Republican wants to swap about one-fifth of the withdrawn area, some 555,000 acres, for 394,000 alternative acres he says contain higher quality habitat more critical to the survival of the imperiled bird, according to interviews with his aides and documents obtained by The Associated Press.


Critter News:

Idaho wolves far exceed minimum levels for 16 years

Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 25, 2016

Despite allowing hunting and trapping for wolves, Idaho has far exceed federal gray wolf recovery levels of 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs for 16 consecutive years, the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s top official says.

“The bottom line is that Idaho has a healthy, sustainable wolf population that is over seven times higher than the federal recovery goal,” said director Virgil Moore in a media release.

Following is Moore’ assessment of the state’s management since wolves were reintroduced in the state by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1995 and 1996.

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Wolf pack closely watched after surrounding rural couple’s dog

Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 29, 2016

A northeastern Washington wolf pack is under scrutiny after rural residents fired shots to scare at least five wolves away from a confrontation with their two dogs.

“We’re taking this incident very seriously,” said Donny Martorello, who heads the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s wolf recovery program.

On Monday, Jan. 25, the pack of wolves confronted dogs near the home of a family northeast of Chewelah off Burnt Valley Road.

At dusk, the Stevens County  residents were alarmed to see wolves in a field approaching their female Great Pyrenees, Martorello said.

The man got his rifle as the wolves surrounded the dog. The wolves were posturing and jumping and his German shepherd-mix was approaching the group.

Martorello said the man fired “two or three shots” over the heads of the wolves and dogs as his wife reported the incident to the Stevens County Sheriff.

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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

Last week of January 2016
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Wolf management reaching new levels of success in region

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 1/24/16

MISSOULA, Montana — Aggressively dealing with wolves that kill livestock works better than a gradual approach, according to research in Montana.

“Killing livestock is a learned behavior,” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Liz Bradley said. “You might have a pack in an area for several years and not have a problem, and then, boom, you have a livestock kill, and then it happens again and again and again. There are many variables, but if you decide removing wolves is the best option, you’re better to take more earlier than picking away at them.”

Ten years of data and study on wolves has helped wolf managers improve their tools for protecting cattle and sheep. Livestock deaths have shown a steady decline in the past several years.

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Idaho to be clear on using drones for hunting: No

Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 26, 2016

Idaho will move to explicitly ban the use of drones to locate, track or flush out game under a change recommended by state Fish & Game officials, according to news reports from the Statehouse in Boise.

The popular devices meet definitions for aircraft and motorized vehicles, the use of which by hunters is already restricted. Animals spotted and located from the air may not be hunted for 24 hours.

The state Fish & Game Commission “has heard from many sportsmen that they are concerned that unmanned aerial vehicles are not held to the same hunting restrictions already in statute for aircraft and motorized vehicles,” Deputy Director Sharon Kiefer told the Senate Resources & Environment Committee Monday.

Kiefer said Fish & Game has received reports of drone use from hunters, but has not independently witnessed such activity.

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Relatively unknown disease killing deer in Wyoming Range

Christine Peterson Casper Star Tribune  Jan 23, 2016

The fawns just curled up and died, said Kevin Monteith, a University of Wyoming assistant professor.

Nothing appeared wrong with them. They looked healthy — fat, even — and had no marks from predators. But last summer and fall, high in the Wyoming Range, fawns were dropping dead.

On a hunch, Monteith asked that the fawns be tested for adenovirus, a relatively new, little-known disease he had seen before in California.

The tests came back positive, leaving researchers wondering if it was an isolated incident, an ominous sign of future die-offs or simply a result of improved diagnostic testing.

“It is surprising for sure,” Monteith said. “I don’t think any of us expected to see this. Of the animals we lost, a third of them are associated with this disease. That is alarming.”

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

The Columbia Basin Bulletin

Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
January 29, 2016
Issue No. 779

Table of Contents:

* States Set Columbia River Spring Recreational/Commercial Fishing Openings; Spring Chinook Forecast Just Above 10-Year Average

* Flows Below Bonneville Dam Remain High For Chum Operations Intended To Protect Redds, Emergence

* Oral Arguments In Federal Court Over Lower Snake River Dredging Set For Feb. 2

* Global Analysis Finds High Levels Of Toxic Pollutants In Ocean Fish, But Concentrations Dropping Last 30 Years

* Study Looks At How Interaction Of Leaf Litter, Salmon Carcasses Impacts Nutrients In Salmon Spawning Streams

* Research Shows Priest Lake Non-Native Lake Trout High Density, Low Productivity; Management Options Studied

* WDFW Seeks Comments On Siting Gene Bank For Wild Steelhead On Lower Columbia River

* It Isn’t Just El Nino: Researchers Study Another Huge System In Western Pacific That Impacts World Weather

Fun Critter Stuff:


— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

The Cat May Have Been Domesticated Two Separate Times

One time it stuck, One time it didn’t really

By Grennan Milliken – PopSci January 27, 2016

There are more than 500 million domestic cats (Felis catus) worldwide. Their grip on the globe is tangible, too. For anyone who has spent any amount of time wasting away on the internet, they’ll know it’s awash in cat videos and memes. Millennia ago, just as we do now, Egyptians depicted cats on walls and worshipped them as gods. Yet, it wasn’t always so.

Scientists know for certain that all domestic cats are descended from the North African and Near Eastern subspecies of wildcat Felis silvestris lybica, and recent evidence has shown that this domestication occurred probably 10,800 years ago near the Middle East. But new findings suggest that cats were likely domesticated twice–the second time some 5,000 years ago in China, when an altogether different species of wildcat was brought into a then catless human community. This puts cats in the company of pigs and dogs on the short list of animals whose domestication occurred more than once. The findings are published in the science journal PLOS One.

Cats, perhaps not surprisingly, largely domesticated themselves. This likely happened in concert with the Neolithic revolution and the advent of agriculture. Large fields and stores of grains meant large numbers of mice and rats. And humans, of course, did not object to having helpful hunters around to protect their crops. So they started taking care of the felines to make sure they stayed around—and to increase their numbers for the war on rodents. Cats’ presence around humans is well documented in Ancient Egypt, but it is believed domestication was well on its way before then, with cat remains found associated with human burial sites in Cyprus from as early as 10,800 years ago.


Fish and Game News:

Fish and Game News Releases

* Idaho wolf management a success ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Radio collars are vital tool for game management ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Grangeville angler nets first Idaho catch-and-release record fish ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Phone scam reported in Magic Valley ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Spring turkey controlled hunt information available online by Feb 1 ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Commission to meet in Boise this week ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Rep. Scott targets Fish & Game issues with three bills

By Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review Jan 27

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, presented her first three proposed bills today, all dealing with Fish & Game issues. The House Resources Committee agreed to introduce all three, but members had lots of questions and concerns about the proposals.

One would repeal an existing law that allows conservation officers, upon their retirement, to be issued their badge, gun and handcuffs, if three of their fellow officers certify “that the retiring officer has served meritoriously for a minimum of 15 years and should therefore be so honored.”

… The second bill would restrict inspections and searches by Fish & Game officers of storage facilities, requiring a search warrant or consent for any inspection or search. “It just kind of appears that the way this is written, the state has a right to search, and they don’t have a right to search without consent or a search warrant,” Scott told the committee. “So this just clarifies that.”

… The third bill would impose minimum safety standards for Fish & Game check stations, including  lighting, signage and sight distance, plus add this line to current law: “Fish and game check stations are only authorized to stop licensed hunters and fishermen.”

full story:

Fun Stuff:

Photo of potato sells for over $1 million

Irish visual artist charges premium for portraits

By Kevin Lui for CNN MST Jan 27, 2016

What’s more lucrative than Johnny Depp or Yoko Ono?

A photogenic potato, at least for renowned celebrity photographer Kevin Abosch.

His “Potato #345” — a simple portrait of an organic Irish spud — reportedly sold for €1 million ($1.08 million) last year to a European businessman, who saw it while dining at Abosch’s Paris home.

The 46-year-old Irish visual artist — who typically charges up to $500,000 for portraits of famous figures — revealed earlier this month that the sale, brokered over a few glasses of wine, was the biggest of his career.

continued w/photo of photo:

Winter Tips:

During the cold weather, it’s a good practice to keep at least a half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times. Not only does it prevent you from being stranded, but it prevents any water in the tank from freezing, which can damage the fuel pump.

– from The Farmers’ Almanac

Idaho History January 31, 2016

1864 Boise City

Visitors often praised Boise City and its valley

By Arthur Hart January 16, 2016 Special to the Statesman

One of the earliest descriptions of Boise Valley appears in Washington Irving’s “The Adventures of Captain Bonneville,” published in 1843: “The country about the Boise (or Woody) River is extolled by Captain Bonneville as the most enchanting he had seen in the Far West, presenting the mingled grandeur and beauty of mountain and plain, of bright running streams and vast grassy meadows waving to the breeze.”

Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville, for whom so many things in the West are named — Lake Bonneville, Bonneville Dam, Bonneville County, Bonneville Peak, Bonneville Springs, Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls and even a Bonneville Crater on Mars — was born near Paris, France, on April 14, 1796. His family moved to the United States when he was 7, and in 1813 he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he graduated in 1815 as a second lieutenant of artillery.

In 1831 he resigned his commission to lead an expedition to the Oregon Country to gather information on the Native Americans, and the geography, geology and climate of the Far West. It was then that he passed through Boise Valley. He planned to write a book about all he had seen, but after meeting Washington Irving at the home of John Jacob Astor, Bonneville agreed to let Irving write the book, which is now considered an American classic.

Prolific historian Hubert Howe Bancroft, writing in 1890, had a different view of Idaho’s charms: “It was the common judgment of the first explorers that there was more of strange and awful in the scenery and topography of Idaho than of the pleasing and attractive.”

On Jan. 21, 1865, the Idaho World observed, “Boise City is a striking instance of what force of character, energy and united purpose can accomplish in rearing a town, and establishing it on a prosperous basis. A year ago there was but little in the appearance of the present site of Boise City to indicate the importance which it has since assumed. It was an uninhabited plain. In a year it has become the county seat of a new county, the center of a large and widely-extended business, and the Capital of the Territory.

“All this is due to the harmonious and united feeling of those interested in the town. However divided they have been in all other matters, when the interests of Boise City were at stake, its people have stood shoulder to shoulder, husbanding their resources among themselves, aiding each other under all circumstances and presenting a united front to all the balance of the Territory. This policy has been the secret of the success and prosperity of Boise City.”

In July 1865, the World observed of Boise, “It is the center of what is considered the agricultural portion of the Boise country, but as yet nothing in the vegetable line is visible but onions at the table, onions on the side; onions on end in tumblers, onions strong enough to stand alone; in short, onions till you can’t hold your breath. If I were the Legislature, I should change the name of the place to Onionville. Withal it must be a soothing sort of place to reside, by keeping the streets well sprinkled, as the Chinook winds have free access — and ‘it is an ill wind,’ etc., you know. Being an acknowledged new center, in absence of telegraphs now, the publication of a newspaper in that place should be comparatively easy — good health would be all that could be required; and according to the philosophic (Josh) Billings ‘a good reliable set of bowels are worth any quantity of brains.’ If I had to live at any first-class cross-roads in the land, and had my choice, I should certainly live in Boise City.”

Albert D. Richardson, in his book “Beyond the Mississippi,” described Boise as it looked to him in 1865: “The broad level treeless avenues, with their low, white, verandahed warehouses, log cabins, neat cottages and ever-shifting panorama of wagons and coaches, Indians, miners, farmers and speculators remind one of a prairie town in Kansas or Iowa.”

link to: IdahoHistoryBoiseCity.doc

page updated Nov 10, 2018

Weather Reports Jan 24-30

Jan 24 Weather:

At 930am it was 30 degrees and mostly cloudy. Fine grained snow falling at 1135am and 32 degrees, lasted maybe 10 minutes. Breaks in the clouds and a spot of sun at 1150am. Snowing at 1225pm, lasted 10-15 minutes. Short lived sucker hole gave a bit of sun at 130pm, then cloudy. Partly clear at 340pm. At 515pm it was 28 degrees and partly cloudy. Mostly cloudy at 8pm. At 10pm it was 20 degrees and partly cloudy. At 11pm it was 18 degrees.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 25, 2016 at 09:30AM
Observation type daily (24 hr values/totals)
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 8 degrees F
At observation 11 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Multi-day Accumulation No
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 17 inch
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Jan 25 Weather:

At 930am it was 11 degrees and mostly clear. Sunny day, got above freezing for a short time. At 530pm it was 21 degrees and mostly clear. At 1230am it was 10 degrees and clear.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 26, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly clear
Max temperature 37 degrees F
Min temperature 6 degrees F
At observation 7 degrees F
Precipitation 0.00 inch
Snowfall 0.0 inch
Snow depth 0 inch
— — — — — — — — — — — —

Jan 26 Weather:

At 930am it was 7 degrees and mostly clear. Mostly sunny day, clouds building in late afternoon. At 530pm it was 25 degrees and mostly cloudy. At 6pm it was 27 degrees and cloudy.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 27, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly cloudy
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 7 degrees F
At observation 26 degrees F
Precipitation 0.00 inch
Snowfall 0.0 inch
Snow depth 17 inch
— — — — — — — — — — — —

Jan 27 Weather:

At 930am it was 26 degrees and mostly cloudy. Breaks in the clouds and sunshine around lunch time. At 5pm it was mostly clear and 34 degrees. At 6pm it was mostly cloudy. Mostly cloudy at 2am.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 28, 2016 at 09:30AM
Partly cloudy
Max temperature 48 degrees F
Min temperature 20 degrees F
At observation 21 degrees F
Precipitation 0.00 inch
Snowfall 0.0 inch
Snow depth 16 inch
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Jan 28 Weather:

At 930am it was 21 degrees and partly cloudy. Overcast after lunch. Raining at 345pm, clouds socked in nearly to valley floor. At 440pm it was 33 degrees and a little snow mixed with the rain. Pretty much all snow by 535pm. Wet snow falling at 6pm and 32 degrees. Snowing at 1030pm. Not snowing at midnight and 32 degrees, about 1/2″ accumulation (very wet.)

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 29, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly cloudy, light snow
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 21 degrees F
At observation 31 degrees F
Precipitation 0.33 inch
Snowfall 3/4 inch
Snow depth 17 inch
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Jan 29 Weather:

At 930am it was mostly cloudy and snowing. Flaking snow at 1045am. Breezy at noon, steady light sideways snow. Quit snowing around 3pm. Raining before 4pm. At 5pm it was 33 degrees, raining and socked in low, kinda foggy. At 6pm it was 34 degrees and light gusty breezes, the foggy clouds had lifted enough to see the top of Golden Gate and not raining. Little short sprinkle of snowballs around 10pm. Measurable snow fell before morning.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 30, 2016 at 09:30AM
Partly clear
Max temperature 36 degrees F
Min temperature 22 degrees F
At observation 24 degrees F
Precipitation 0.22 inch
Snowfall 1/3 inch
Snow depth 17 inch
— — — — — — — — — — — —

Jan 30 Weather:

At 930am it was 24 degrees and partly clear. At 12pm it was 29 degrees and partly clear. At 430pm it was 30 degrees and partly clear. Snowing at 130am.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 31, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly cloudy
Max temperature 36 degrees F
Min temperature 18 degrees F
At observation 21 degrees F
Precipitation 0.01 inch
Snowfall 1/3 inch
Snow depth 17 inch

PAC Advisory for 1/31/16

Avalanche Advisory published on January 31, 2016

bottom line

The Avalanche Danger is Moderate today in most areas. The exception is wind loaded terrain above 7000 feet especially in the Southern Half of our advisory area and throughout the West Mountain area. In these areas human triggered avalanches are more likely on windloaded slopes over 30 degrees and protected slopes where the Surface Hoar layer was preserved below the new snow. Moderate Danger means heightened avalanche danger on specific terrain features, careful snowpack and terrain evaluation is essential.


Look for scattered snow showers over the next few days with cooler temperatures. Light accumulations will be possible through the next few days with temperatures staying below normal. Winds today will be in moderate out of the West switching to the North as a cold front moves into the area. Cold northerly winds will drive wind chills down into the 0 degree range tonight and tomorrow. Another storm will be entering the West Central Thursday, until then cooler temps and light accumulations are forecasted each day.

recent observations

We took our Lift Access Backcountry class out into the Tamarack Back Country yesterday and found some surprisingly touchy snow in the windloaded northerly aspects. Our Compression Test scores were in the 8-10 range with an ECT that propagated full block at 12 Q1/SC. These tests failed on a new layer of preserved surface hoar at 35 cm. The snow in the South Valley area seems quite a bit more dense as temperatures were slightly warmer in this area when the snow came in on Friday. The resulting slab above the weak layer was a dense combination of windslab and heavy/dense new snow resting on lower density snow below…not a good combination. Tamarack Ski Patrol also reported a skier triggered slide on the South side of the resort that left a skier at least partially buried and with a tweaked knee after tangling with the heavy debris. We were shocked at how many skiers and boarders were accessing this terrain under CONSIDERABLE danger without any rescue gear, remember this area is not part of the resort, has no avalanche control work and rescue by the Ski Patrol is not a given. On the flip side, reports from the Northern half of the advisory area reported better bonding, less Buried Surface Hoar and a lower density windslab problem. George was out in the area near Goose Lake and reported better bonding in the new snow layers and overall better ski conditions than what we saw down South.

Avalanche Problem #1: Wind Slab

Wind slabs continue to be a problem in the upper or wind exposed middle elevations, especially in the Southern portion of our advisory area. With the new snow and wind over the last 48 hours, expect to find fresh wind slabs on north, northeast, northwest and crossloaded west and east aspects. You are most likely to find these slabs at or near the ridgetops or in exposed terrain above 7,000 feet. They are still relatively widespread in the upper elevations and range in sensitivity from easily triggerable to resistant. Shallow wind slabs are more likely right now but you may also find some deeper ones still lingering under a layer of new snow. These slabs range in density between soft to hard, which means they may let you get well out onto them before they fail. Also, some of these wind slabs may be resting on a new layer of buried surface hoar that was formed early last week. We saw a 8-12 inch, moderately hard windslab that was fairly reactive to ski cuts yesterday throughout the Tamarack back country.

Avalanche Problem #2: Persistent Slab

While we are still thinking about and looking for the older buried surface hoar layer that is now proving to me mostly non-reactive or has been crushed in most areas, we now have a new crop of preserved surface hoar that was buried under this week’s new snow. We found this new layer to be obvious in our pits and reactive in our tests yesterday in the West Mountain area. Slightly higher temperatures during the Thursday/Friday Storm resulting in a fairly dense slab overlying the Surface Hoar in the Southern portion of the valley have made this our next layer of concern. We were able to initiate failure on this layer with Low Compression Test scores yesterday and also had full block propagation in our ECT test at 12 loading steps. Both of these layers merit concern in protected, northerly terrain and are going to be more reactive to the weight of a skier or snowmobile right now than the snow in other areas. Use caution and good travel protocols if you are riding or sliding in this kind of terrain. These buried surface hoar layers have the potential to spread out or propagate over large areas when triggered and are the type of layer responsible for the majority of avalanche incidents and fatalities. Take the time to look for it on slopes before committing to any slope steep enough to slide. We will be out tomorrow in the Northern portion of the advisory area looking for this layer there as well.

advisory discussion

Our condolences go out to the families and friends of the 5 snowmobilers killed Friday in BC. Early reports say 13 people were injured in one large avalanche with 5 fatalities. Canadian avalanche forecasters were on scene conducting an investigation yesterday but have not released their findings yet.


This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.

Road Reports Jan 26, 27

Tuesday (Jan 26) report the road is clear all the way in, snowpacked and icy surface. More traffic than usual on the road.

Wednesday (Jan 27) mail truck driver (Bruce) reported that sections of the South Fork road were icy and slick. Another report, road icy on the South Fork, studs or chain advised.

PAC Advisory for 1/28/16

Avalanche Advisory published on January 28, 2016

Bottom line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE in elevations above 6,000 feet due to human triggered avalanches being possible on wind loaded slopes. If one of these wind slabs were to step down to the buried surface hoar it could be quite large. Below 6,000 feet the danger is LOW.


Precipitation should start to fall early this afternoon. 1-3 inches are forecasted for the mountains with winds out of the southwest blowing 15-25 MPH. The temps will be right on the edge of freezing to start with colder temps moving in tonight. Tomorrow the mountains will pick up another 2-4 inches with winds out of the southwest blowing 20-25 MPH.

recent observations

We observed some decent sluffing or loose dry avalanche activity on a steep Northerly slopes this week. Most recently up Trail Creek, PAC Forecasters were unable to locate the layer of buried surface hoar in our NNE pit at 7900 feet that we have been discussing recently. However, that does not mean that it is not out there. They did find some shallow instabilities in the upper portion of the snowpack that failed in Compression Tests at density changes between the new and older, firmer snow below. CT scores were 12 and 18 at the 25 and 35cm layers.

Avalanche Problem #1: Wind Slab

Wind slabs continue to be a problem in the upper or wind exposed middle elevations. With today’s incoming snow and wind, expect to find fresh wind slabs on north, northeast, and east aspects. You are most likely to find these slabs at or near the ridgetops or in exposed terrain above 7,000 feet. They are still relatively widespread in the upper elevations and range in sensitivity from easily triggerable to resistant. Shallow wind slabs are more likely right now but you may also find some deeper ones still lingering under a layer of new snow. These slabs range in density between soft to hard, which means they may let you get well out onto them before they fail. Also, some of these wind slabs may be resting on a layer of faceted snow or surface hoar that was buried almost two weeks ago. If you were to trigger an avalanche it could step down to this weak layer causing for a large, possibly lethal avalanche. Your best bet until our snowpack begins to ‘heal’ is to take the time to assess the snowpack on each slope before you commit. Or safer yet, stick to slopes that are less than 30 degrees.

Avalanche Problem #3: Loose Dry

We saw some fairly decent natural Loose Dry avalanche activity this week in a steep, north facing terrain. The largest was in a confined gully, possibly resulting from a cornice failure. If you are skiing in steeper terrain today, you will need to anticipate sluff activity and have a plan so you don’t get knocked down or off course. In confined terrain, sluffs can pile up and gain momentum pretty quickly. As temperatures rise with the incoming warm and wet storm, the possibility of loose dry avalanches will wane.

advisory discussion

Upcoming Events:

McCall Winter Sports Club’s Hometown Races and Après Ski Party
Saturday, January 30th
Reister Online at:

Brundage Mountain Resort and Bear Basin Nordic Ski Center Hometown Races

3 Race Categories

Vertical Challenge: 11 am Start at Brundage

Endurance challenge. Racers skin up, check-in with the volunteer up top of run then ski down. Runs include: Sensation, Celebration, Lower Temptation. Winner is the person who can do the most check-ins in an hour.

Nordic Race: 10 am Start at Bear Basin Nordic Center

U-8 and U-6 – 1 km
U-12 and U-10 – 2 km
U-14 – 3 km
U-18 and U-16 and open race – 5 km
Open race – 10 km

All ages friendly timed obstacle course and jump competition to follow races. Points for style and distance in the jumps. Obstacle course featuring the popular parachute tunnel and limbo.

Combi: 1 pm Start at Brundage.

A fastest time wins race. Skiers will race through a series of panels, single pole, and stubby gates, as well as a few other surprises down Griz and Badger.

Individual or Team Format


This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains between Hard Butte on the north and Council Mountain on the south. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.

Jan 24, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times

Jan 24, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Local Observations:

Monday (Jan 18) Rain and a little snow during the early morning, trace of snow and 15″ total snow, quite foggy (for here.) Partly sunny day and mostly clear evening, temps dropping. Quiet day.

Tuesday (Jan 19) clouds came in and warmed up during the early morning, flaking snow. Trace of snow and an average of 15″ of snow on the ground. Didn’t snow very long, most of the day was cloudy and above freezing. Late afternoon sprinkle. Red light at sunset (but the clouds were not colored.) Paths getting slippery. Rain and freezing rain and slush falling after dark, turned to snow before midnight.

Wednesday (Jan 20) Power off and back on around 4am. Snowed during the night, 1.5″ new (wet) snow, 16″ total snow on the ground and snowing. Done snowing before noon, temp above freezing, snow dropping out of the trees. Filtered sun in the afternoon, clearing towards dark. Report of elk tracks in the area. Temp dropped during the night until clouds came in.

Thursday (Jan 21) Cloudy and a little bit of snow fell early. Brown Creeper (bird) inspecting tree trunks for food. Cloudy day. Hazy moon at 830pm.

Friday (Jan 22) Cloudy, fresh fox tracks and scat in the neighborhood. Sprinkle of rain in the afternoon, icy paths are slick.

Saturday (Jan 23) Rainy morning and early afternoon, slick paths. Snowed most of the night.

Sunday (Jan 24) 4.5″ of new fluffy snow, 19″ total snow on the ground. Neighbor plowed the roads by the school.

Photo to Share:

Ermine at my bird feeder

Jan 22, 2016


photo by Lynn Imel

Idaho News:

McCall Winter Carnival

January 29 – February 7
— —

Event Guide: 2016 McCall Winter Carnival

MCCALL – A hefty helping of snow in Idaho’s mountains has made the McCall a winter wonderland. And that’s great news for the always-popular McCall Winter Carnival, which kicks off on Friday, January 29.

In its 51st year, McCall’s signature nine-day event brings tens of thousands of visitors from around Idaho and across the country to take in the larger-than-life snow sculptures, breath-taking fireworks shows over Payette Lake and a bevy of family-friendly events around town.

The theme for this year’s carnival is “Beyond Tomorrow.” Snow artists from across the West always strive to come up with the most creative sculptures – while sticking to the event’s theme – in an effort to take home top prize.

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Four-vehicle crash blocks Highway 55

KTVB January 18, 2016

CASCADE — A wreck on the Rainbow Bridge in Valley County halted traffic for more than an hour Sunday night.

The collision happened at about 5 p.m. on Highway 55 just north of Smiths Ferry.

According to Idaho State Police, 34-year-old Jason Dunn of Boise was headed north in a Chevrolet van when he crossed over the centerline and hit a southbound Subaru Forester. The Subaru, driven by 50-year-old Cory Hamilton of McCall, then struck a Ford pickup driven by 43-year-old Adam Pishl of Boise.

Dunn’s van bounced off the bridge rail and hit a Toyota Corolla driven by 26-year-old Daniel Bixler of Cascade. The impact caused Bixler’s car to slide broadside across the narrow bridge.

No one was injured in the wreck, but traffic was backed up several miles as crews worked to clear the crash. Highway 55 was blocked in both directions for an hour and a half.

The road was reopened after tow trucks removed the wreckage from the highway.

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Suspect in beating of elderly McCall man caught

KTVB January 13, 2016

MCCALL — A man accused of injuring an elderly McCall resident was taken into custody Tuesday night after police asked for the public’s help in locating him.

Gary Goodson was arrested in Riggins at about 7:30 p.m. by deputies with the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. He faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon by a felon.

Investigators say Goodson was living with the victim, who is disabled, when the crimes occurred. He is accused of repeatedly beating the man over several days last week.

The elderly man was treated at a local hospital for his injuries, and has since been released.

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Last Stop, Horseshoe Bend: Thunder Mountain Line Shuts Down

by George Prentice Boise Weekly Jan 19, 2016

Thunder Mountain Line, which has chugged families through some of south-central Idaho’s most picturesque vistas since 1998, has announced it is suspending its operation. Owners made the announcement Jan. 18 on the company’s website, “with great sadness and disappointment.”

“We are very thankful for the many years of support from the communities, state of Idaho, tourist train industry, suppliers, sponsors, employees and general public,” wrote Chris Bertel, vice president of the Thunder Mountain Line. Bertel did not give a reason for the shutdown.

The history of the Thunder Mountain Line goes back a full century, when the rail line served gold and ore prospectors who filled mining camps in the region. The original railroad ran to Smiths Ferry in 1913 and extended to McCall one year later. The Union Pacific operated the line until the 1990s, when the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad purchased the railroad in 1993. In 1998, Idaho Historical Railroads rejuvenated a passenger line and in 2001, Thunder Mountain Line expanded its operation to include themed train rides out of Horseshoe Bend.

“We were able to provide a unique experience for our younger generation and a glimpse back to the past,” wrote Bertel in the company’s closure announcement. “We provided an environment for families to reconnect and create lasting memories for years to come.”


[Note: Check the weekly history page for more info! – rrS]

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Site of Idaho City boardwalk fire for sale

Bonnie Shelton, KTVB January 21, 2016

IDAHO CITY — People who live and work in Idaho City are hopeful someone will buy the now vacant lot at the corner of Highway 21 and Main Street where several popular tourist shops and attractions used to sit.

According to an online listing, the price for the .61-acre parcel is $75,000. The listing was posted by Todays Real Estate Group LLC.

Flames ripped through a handful of Idaho City businesses early in the morning on June 5th. Investigators have since determined the fire was intentionally set.

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Idaho legislators back rule allowing advertising in parks

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 1/22/16

BOISE, Idaho — Some Idaho lawmakers are backing a state rule that would give private sponsors the ability to name state parks.

The rule presented on Friday before the Senate Resource and Environment Committee gives the Legislature the final say in naming future parks. However, it prohibits a corporate sponsor from renaming any state park that is historically known by a different name.

Idaho Parks and Recreation Department Administrator Anna Canning told the committee on Friday the rule would also permit private advertising within the park. She said the advertising must be consistent with the department’s goals and would be small and tasteful.

In 2015, the Legislature gave the department the green light to pursue corporate sponsorship to offset their depleted budget, but lawmakers expressed concern about corporate naming and advertising within the public space.

The rule will need to pass a House committee for final approval.

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Idaho Senate panel approves divisive water quality rules

By KIMBERLEE KRUESI – AP Published: 1/20/16

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho legislative panel has approved new water quality standards tied to fish consumption rates, which critics argue places the state’s Native American residents at a higher risk of cancer than their non-Indian counterparts.

Officials with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality presented the proposed rule change to the Senate Resources and Environmental Committee on Tuesday. The committee passed the rules on a voice vote with only Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, opposed.

The updated standards stem from a directive from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If disapproved by the federal agency, the EPA will create its own standards for the state before the expiration of the directive.

Coming up with the rules has required a lengthy three-year process that attracted a wide range of feedback with very little consensus between Idaho’s five tribes, environmentalists and industry representatives. In that time, both the state and EPA conducted in-depth studies on fish consumption to have better information on how much fish people eat in Idaho.

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Dairy profits fall after record-high 2014

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 1/22/16

CALDWELL, Idaho — The low price of milk last year may have been good for consumers, but it was bad for Idaho dairies’ profits.

The Idaho Statesman reports ( ) that dairy revenue across Idaho has fallen 27 percent. Experts say if the price of milk could fall another 20 percent from today’s level, possibly pushing dairies into the red.

The drop comes after dairy profits in the state reached nearly $2 billion in 2014, just below a record high set in 2013.


Forest News:

Decision Notice issued for Golden Meadows Exploration Project

USDA Forest Service Jan 21, 2016

The Payette National Forest has concluded the environmental  assessment process  and has  issued a Decision Notice approving the Golden Meadows Exploration Project. I signed the decision on January 14, 2016 following resolution and subsequent withdrawal of objections and conclusion of consultations. The signed Decision Notice is posted on the project webpage at

The project is located on the Krassel District, Payette National Forest, in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine Mining District in central Idaho, approximately 14 miles east of Yellow Pine in Valley County, Idaho. The proposed exploration drilling areas are located in Sections 1 – 3, 10 – 15, Township 18 North, Range 9 East, and Section 35, Township 19 North, Range 9 East, Boise Meridian.

My decision will implement a modified proposed action to conduct exploration drilling  operations on approximately 128 drill pads in 24 drill areas. Associated activities would include the authorization to use approximately 3.8 miles of existing temporary road, construction of 0.3 miles of new temporary road, and expansion of an existing borrow source to approximately 1- acre. My decision incorporates design features, operational requirements, and environmental protection measures to reduce the risk of adverse impacts. The project is administered in compliance with regulation at 36 CFR 228 subpart A that guide Forest Service management of surface resources associated  with mining.

Implementation of this decision is scheduled to begin immediately after the revised Plan of Operation is accepted by Midas Gold and bonding requirements are fulfilled.

Please contact Forest Geologist, Jim Egnew, at 208-634-0756 for additional information about this project.

Anthony B. Botello
Krassel District Ranger

Mining News:

Payette waiting for Midas Gold

Payette forest will need years to process proposal at Stibnite after plan is presented

BY DAN GALLAGHER for The Star-News Jan 21, 2016

Midas Gold Corp. still does not know when it will submit a plan of operations to the Payette National Forest, the company’s CEO said last week.

“We haven’t made the decision, but it would be in the not too distant future,” Stephen Quin said of the plan. “Our environmental baseline study is already largely complete.”

Once an operating plan is filed, then an extensive review is started by state and federal agencies that could take up to four years to complete.

“Everybody knows because of mining that there’s been negative impacts, but can we quantify it?” Quin said. “You can’t come up with a plan to remediate this unless you know what the problem is.”

The company has spent $110 million so far in Valley County to try and determine how much gold is under the ground at the Stibnite mining district near Yellow Pine in Valley County.

In 2014, Quin had said mining at Stibnite would be profitable as long as gold prices stay above $1,200 an ounce. The gold price on Tuesday was $1,088.

Midas figures it would cost $800 to extract an ounce of gold from its main Yellow Pine deposit, while mining at the company’s West End and Hangar Flats deposits would cost $1,100 per ounce.

“The key point is we’re not building the mine today,” Quin said. “All we’re moving to is the permitting stage and one of the permitting obligations is ensuring ‘reasonable foreseeable outcomes.’ ”

Latest estimates say 6.6 million ounces of gold are likely under the ground at Stibnite, of which 4.6 million ounces could be extracted profitably.

The Stibnite site is quiet this winter with only security employees on duty at the company’s residential camp. Midas currently employs 32 people in Donnelly and Boise with six in Canada, he said.

Midas Gold expects about 700 jobs would be created during construction of the mining operation, with 500 direct jobs created during mining plus 500 indirect jobs such as truck drivers and teachers needed for extra students.

As part of the permitting process, government regulators will set the amount of the bond Midas must provide for cleanup in case the company unexpectedly shuts down.

The company has committed to provide permanent storage of tailings and waste rock, establish the former salmon spawning stream through the historic “Glory Hole” pit and clean up metal pollution from prior mining.

“What you want to do is rather than promising when we get there is starting doing things now,” Quin said.
— — —

Payette approves more drilling for Midas Gold, but company may pass

BY DAN GALLAGHER for The Star-News Jan 21, 2016

The Payette National Forest has cleared the way for Midas Gold Corp. to conduct more exploratory drilling at Stibnite, but the company may not need any more test holes on the federal land.

The Idaho Conservation League and the Nez Perce Tribe had filed objections to the Forest Service decision to conduct further drilling at the site to develop a mining operations plan.

Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello last Thursday approved the exploration at the Stibnite Gold Project after the groups withdrew their objections.

The approval would allow about 128 drill pads in 24 drilling areas, but Midas has not decided whether to follow through after extensive drilling on nearby private property.

“With respect to drilling, our priority targets primarily lie on private land and so are not affected by this permit, once it is finalized,” Midas CEO Stephen Quin said.

“However, were we to drill on Stibnite, we might conduct some preliminary drill testing at some of the prospects now permitted during the three-year term of the permit,” Quin said.

Botello’s decision said exploration will not be allowed in the Sugar and South Sugar drill areas because it would be within 100 feet of Sugar Creek, which is critical habitat for endangered fish.

Included with the drilling would be approval to use 3.8 miles of existing temporary road, building three-eighths of a mile of new, temporary road, and expanding an existing borrow pit to about an acre, the decision said.

Quin said the objections centered around the potential for sediment going into Johnson Creek and the East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River from mining traffic.

Midas had crushed gravel near Yellow Pine for roadwork and has a local quarry, so it committed to use that material to help prevent sediment spills which satisfied the objections, he said.

ICL Public Lands Director John Robison praised the decision not to allow drilling near Sugar Creek in a Viewpoint that appears on Page 8 of this issue of The Star-News.

“However, having seen the impact of previous mining projects . . . we don’t think that the current open pit mine plan is compatible with protecting the clean water, fish, wildlife and recreation in the South Fork Salmon River headwaters,” Robison said.

source: The Star-News
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Conservation groups challenge exploratory drilling plan

By KEITH RIDLER – AP Published: 1/20/16

BOISE, Idaho — Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of a mining company’s plan to do exploratory drilling about 55 miles northeast of Boise.

The Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United and Golden Eagle Audubon Society in the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court say the federal agency violated environmental laws in approving the project.

The Forest Service in October approved Idaho CuMo Mining Corporation’s plan that includes building about 10 miles of roads and up to 137 drill pads for up to 259 drill holes in the Boise National Forest.

The company wants to determine if molybdenum, copper and silver exist in sufficient quantities to go forward with an open-pit mine.

The Forest Service declined to comment Wednesday.


Critter News:

Senate panel backs bill to drop wolf protections in 4 states

Associated Press Jan 21, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Senate committee has approved a Republican amendment to strip federal protection from gray wolves in three Great Lakes states and Wyoming. The measure also prohibits courts from intervening in those states on behalf of the embattled predator.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming sponsored the amendment to delist the gray wolf in Wyoming, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. The Senate Environment Committee approved the bill and it now goes to the full Senate.

Barrasso says the amendment recognizes that the four states have workable plans to protect wolves without federal intervention. He says it’s time to “recognize the science and focus our scarce taxpayer resources on truly imperiled species.”

Wolves are well-established in the western Great Lakes and Northern Rockies after facing near-extermination in the last century.

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Forest Service issues noncompliance notice to Fish and Game

Agency asks for explanation of why wolves were collared

Greg Moore – IME Jan 22, 2016

The Salmon-Challis National Forest has issued a notice of noncompliance to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for violation of a special-use permit that authorized landing helicopters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to capture and collar elk.

The agency authorized the helicopter landings on Jan. 6, and they were carried out from Jan. 7-9. The Forest Service stated in a press release that it was notified on Jan. 13 that one of the Fish and Game crews in the northern part of the study area also captured and collared four wolves. The department cited a breakdown of internal communications for why those landings occurred.

The permit authorized the department to make up to 126 landings to collar 60 elk. The purpose of the monitoring is to learn what factors are contributing to a decline in the elk population in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River area.

The Forest Service stated that collaring wolves can occur outside of wilderness areas when the opportunity is presented in the course of Fish and Game’s aerial elk capture program. The program is placing more than 400 collars on elk in eight areas of the state.

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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

Third week of January 2016
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Montana wildlife managers investigate wolf spotting report

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 1/23/16

THREE FORKS, Montana — Montana wildlife managers are investigating reports of a wolf in the Three Forks area in the southwest part of the state.

The superintendent of Three Forks schools says a parent called and reported to have seen a wolf. The school then posted a warning on its Facebook page.

FWP spokeswoman Andrea Jones tells KTVM-TV ( ) that wildlife managers have not seen any signs of wolves themselves.

Jones says area residents should be cautious and watch their kids at the bus stop and leash pets.

Jones notes that wolves can sometimes be confused with coyotes or some domestic dogs when spotted from a distance.

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Finland to start 2nd govt-sanctioned trial wolf hunt

By JAN M. OLSEN – AP Published: 1/22/16

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Beginning Saturday, Finland is holding a second government-sanctioned trial wolf hunt in what authorities say is an attempt to manage numbers and curb poaching.

Finland’s state Wildlife Agency says 46 licenses have been given out for the hunting period that ends Feb. 21. The agency said 17 wolves were killed in 2015, the first year of the trial cull, and it has permitted the killing of 46 wolves across the country this winter.

Wolf hunting was banned between 2007 and 2015 after the European Union accused Finns of breaching EU protection rules on the endangered species, resulting in widespread poaching in Finland. People in remote areas of Finland have been killing wolves considered threats to people and livestock, but there have been no reported wolf attacks on people in recent years.

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Idaho governor wants more say in species protection ideas

By KEITH RIDLER – AP Published: 1/19/16

BOISE, Idaho — Federal agencies need to do a better job considering state and local ideas when it comes to making decisions about species facing possible extinction, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said Tuesday.

“Being part of the process, being part of the solution, and being seriously considered with our ideas is what matters and will continue to matter,” Otter said in Boise at a Western Governors’ Association workshop intended to find a way to give states a stronger say in Endangered Species Act decisions.

Panelists at the Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative included representatives from conservation groups, extractive industries, scientists, and federal and state agencies. They discussed voluntary conservation efforts, incentives for private land owners, best available science and critical habitat designation.

A previous workshop for the 19-state association was held in Wyoming in November, and several more workshops are planned.

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Bill would prevent Wyoming from investigating some poaching cases

AP – Jan 19, 2016

JACKSON, Wyoming (AP) – Wyoming lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal for the state to investigate poachers or people who mistakenly shoot endangered animals.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that a bill brought forward last week would bar the Wyoming Game and Fish Department or state law enforcement from helping the federal government investigate, arrest or prosecute anyone who kills or injures a gray wolf or grizzly bear.

The Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee sponsored the legislation.

Committee member Sen. Larry Hicks, a Baggs Republican, says the bill is not meant to rebuke federal wildlife managers but instead to make a “philosophical argument.”

He says it’s not the state’s responsibility to enforce the Endangered Species Act.

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Four states join in wolverine research

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 19, 2016

An multi-state, multi-agency effort getting underway should greatly improve our regional understanding of the elusive tough-guy of the weasel family.

Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington state will work together on a multiyear, multistate study of wolverine populations. Wyoming began a pilot project in the southern mountains of the state, and next winter bait stations with hair traps will be put up in Idaho, Montana, Washington and northern Wyoming.

Also participating in the Western States Wolverine Conservation Program are the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Northern Arapaho, Eastern Shoshone, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, and the University of Montana, Montana State University and Colorado State University.

source w/link to more info:
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Survey: Most Idaho sportsmen OK with auctioning game tags

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 20, 2016

Most Idaho hunters would support the state offering more big-game tags for auction to raise money for wildlife management, according to an Idaho Fish and Game Department survey.

The voluntary mail survey pertaining to controlled hunts and big game auction tags was conducted late in 2015.

* Asked if it was acceptable for Fish and Game to auction tags to generate funds for wildlife management programs, 55 percent of hunters in the mail survey agreed, 37 percent disagreed and 8 percent were neutral.

* Asked if Fish and Game should release up to 12 more big game auction tags to help fund wildlife management and hunter access programs, 51 percent of mail responders agreed, 38 percent disagreed and 11 percent were neutral.

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More elk die from apparent yew poisoning

County commissioners to consider problem

Jan 22, 2016 by Greg Moore – IME

Following the deaths of at least 15 elk believed to have been killed by eating poisonous yew plants, the Blaine County commissioners will consider a potential ordinance on the exotic plants during their meeting Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Conservation Officer Alex Head said he picked up two dead elk late last week, one at the Valley Club and the second at the southern end of Golden Eagle subdivision, and confirmed from their stomach contents that they had eaten yew plants. He said he picked up two more dead animals at the same locations Tuesday, but did not inspect their stomachs.

The four followed 10 elk deaths at the Hailey Cemetery on Dec. 29 and three at the Valley Club on Jan. 5. All were believed to have browsed on nearby yew bushes.

The yew plants were removed from the cemetery the same day that the elk were found, and the owner of the property at the Valley Club where the elk apparently ate the plants said he covered the shrubs two days later.

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Idaho collars more Panhandle elk for research

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 20, 2016

At least 59 calf elk in the Idaho Panhandle have being captured by helicopter netters, fixed with GPS collars and released in the past few weeks as biologists continue research that will help determine how elk die.

A total of 169 cow and calf elk have been collared as the study heads into its third year, says Phil Cooper, state Fish and Game Department spokesman in Coeur d’Alene.

The collars enable researchers to monitor the elk movements by satellite and determine habitat use as well as when, where and how they might be killed.

“The study area includes big game Units 4, 6 and 7,” Cooper said. “The most recent capture work was completed in the Silver Valley, the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River and the St. Joe River.”

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The Columbia Basin Bulletin

Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
January 22, 2016
Issue No. 778

Table of Contents:

* Successful Salmon Homing Requires Both Olfactory Imprinting, Geomagnetic Navigation

* Proposed Yakama Nation Coho Salmon Restoration Hatchery Takes Another Step Closer To Funding

* NASA/NOAA Say Earth’s 2015 Surface Temperature Warmest Since Record-Keeping Began In 1880

* 2015 Warmest Year On Record For Washington State, Oregon, Montana

* Group Sues Council In Ninth Circuit, Says 2014 Fish And Wildlife Program Fails To Protect Salmon, Steelhead

* UBC Study Finds 30 Percent Of Global Fish Catch Goes Unreported

* NOAA Seeks Public Comment As It Prepares EIS For Oregon Coast Hatchery Programs

* Bighorn Sheep Capture/Transplant: 26 Animals Moved From I-84 To Lake County Herds

* BPA Puts Modernized Celilo Converter Station Into Service, Tames High Volumes Of Power Flowing Between Northwest, Los Angeles

* Report: Invasive Amphibian Fungus Could Threaten US Salamander Populations

* USFWS Announces Draft Methodology For Prioritizing ESA Status Reviews

* Best Way To Clean Up Ocean Plastics? Study Says Focus On Coasts, Not Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Fun Critter Stuff:

Panda plays in snow at National Zoo

Jan 23, 2016

Tian Tian a panda living at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. woke up this morning and played in the snow.

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Why Your Cat Is Always Kneading

She ain’t making challah bread!

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10 Sleeping Positions Cats Love

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Cat vs. Bobcat

Nov 23, 2011

Our cat was not impressed with the curious young bobcat wandering around our deck at Cedar Springs Bed and Breakfast, Whistler.


Tips & Advice:

Fight Pet Odors Naturally

Deodorize your pet’s bedding, between washings, by sprinkling it generously with baking soda, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. Pet odors are gone, without harsh chemicals!

from The Farmers’ Almanac

Fish & Game News:

Thanks for sharing news and photos for the YPTimes.

Idaho History January 24, 2016


Thunder Mountain Line History

The history of the Thunder Mountain Line dates back to more than a century ago. The prospects for the railroad were originally to serve the Thunder Mountain Mining District, which was full of gold and ore. The current roads could not handle the incoming freight for these areas. Prospectors were filling the Long Valley area as mining districts and camps were forming. Gold fever soon spread and an entrepreneur named Colonel W. Dewey formed a railroad syndicate due to the suspected wealth in the areas.

Railroad tycoons were at war for a route to the Pacific Northwest and West Coast to gain control of the region for their railroads. The three tycoons at war were James Jerome Hill (who just completed the Great Northern, had control of the Northern Pacific, the Chicago and Northwestern, and the Burlington), Edward Harriman (who controlled the Union Pacific), and Jay Gould (who had control of the Rio Grande and Missouri). The Idaho Northern was incorporated on December 18, 1897 by Colonel Dewey and presumed later to be in the camp of the Union Pacific.

The chartered railroad was expected to reach as far south as Paradise Valley, Nevada, as far north as Spokane, Washington, as far east as Butte, Montana, and as far west as Williamette Valley in Oregon. The railroad surveyed and completed tracks into Emmett on March 29, 1902. The Idaho Northern’s claims north of Emmett had expired in 1906 and the Chicago Northwestern jumped in and filed claims down the Salmon, Boise and South Fork of the Payette Rivers. Control of the Chicago Northwestern had swung from Hill to Harriman and back to Hill. Harriman passed away and when the C&NW’s claims ran out in 1910, a new war began between Frederick Weyerhauser (a close friend of Harriman) and Hill. Weyerhauser owned huge tracts of land along the Payette and Boise River and it became obvious railroads were needed due to the costs of driving logs down the river. The Union Pacific counter claimed everything the C&NW had claimed in 1906. Surveying began in 1910 to an area outside of McCall and grading was finished to Banks by April 1912. The railroad had hired 2,500 men to assist in the grading and building of the railroad.

The railroad was built to Smiths Ferry on July 10, 1913 and an inaugural run was made in August 1913 and regular service began later that month from Nampa. The railroad was completed on July 1914 with regular service beginning to McCall on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The trains were mixed with freight, mail, and passengers. Many people were excited to have access to the mountain lakes and rivers for their vacations.

Small towns and depots were established along the railroad tracks to support the local timber industry. Smaller logging railroads reached into the rich timber valleys and connected with Idaho Northern’s main line. The Union Pacific operated this branch line as part of their Oregon Short Line Division until the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad purchased the railroad in 1993. Until recently, the railroad had continued to be supported by the timber industry.

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Idaho Northern Railway

(later OSL’s Idaho Northern Branch, Idaho Division)

Nampa to McCall, Idaho, 132.8 miles

The following comes from Smoke Down The Canyons, by Ehernberger and Gschwind:

Idaho Northern Branch

Nampa, Idaho to McCall, Idaho

One of the most spectacularly beautiful branch lines on the Union Pacific System is the Idaho Northern Branch which heads northward from Nampa past rich farmlands and fruit-growing areas into a mountainous region where logging and livestock raising predominate. The first 27 miles to Emmett were constructed in 1900-02 by the Idaho Northern Railway and the line progressed no further until 1911 when steel was again laid northward and by October 29, 1912 had reached Smiths Ferry, 83 miles from Nampa. All Idaho Northern properties were sold to the Oregon Short Line on December 30, 1912 and in 1914 the new owner completed the remaining 45.7 miles to Lakeport, now McCall. In 1947 approximately sixteen miles of track were relocated between Cascade, 99.2 miles from Nampa, and Donnelly by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation because of the construction of Cascade Dam and the resulting reservoir on the North Fork of the Payette River.

After leaving the wide and fertile Emmett Valley the line proceeds along the Payette River Valley, passing through a small tunnel six miles above Emmett, and at Banks encounters the beginning of the heaviest grades on the branch. For 19 miles the grade is 1.75 per cent with some stretches as steep as three per cent and steam helpers were once used between Banks, 64.1 miles from Nampa, and Smiths Ferry, sometimes resulting in as many as four locomotives on one train. A hand-operated turntable and fuel and water facilities were maintained at Banks for these helpers. Above Smiths Ferry, Payette Canyon widens into lovely Long Valley, a cattle-producing area which is surrounded by high mountain ranges. some of which are snow-covered the year around. McCall itself is situated on mile-high Payette Lake in a highly popular resort area and a 2-stall engine house located at this point served steam power of the O. S. L. and U. P. in turn. Because of a forest fire blamed on sparks from a locomotive, oil-burning engines replaced coal-fired power permanently on this branch in 1941. Through the years, logs and lumber have produced the greatest amount of traffic on this colorful 132.8-mile branch. One of the many unusual features of this branch is the Centralized Traffic Control which prevails on the first 2.4 miles between Nampa and Fischer.

… (Time Line)

In the period between 1906 and 1911, the Idaho Northern Railway was the focus of the grand plans of E. H. Harriman’s Union Pacific and James Hill’s Northern Pacific as they battled for rights to control the railroad traffic in eastern Oregon and Washington, and western Idaho. Union Pacific purchased controlling interest in INRy in 1910 to keep it out of the hands of Northern Pacific, and began construction north from Emmett.

October 10, 1910
The Payette Valley Railroad Extension was completed to Emmett, connecting with Idaho Northern Railway. This completed a connection between Emmett, and the OSL mainline at Payette, Idaho.

The Oregon Short Line corporate history, completed for the federal ICC, shows the Payette Valley Railroad being started at Payette on April 27, 1906, and completed to New Plymouth, Idaho, on August 30, 1906 (10.83 miles). The Payette Valley Railroad Extension was started at New Plymouth on April 1, 1910, and completed to Emmett on October 10, 1910 (17.96 miles). Both railroads were sold to OSL on August 5, 1914.

Payette Branch

Payette, Idaho to Emmett, Idaho — The Payette Branch forms a 29.7-mile link between the main line at Payette, Idaho, 36.3 miles east of Huntington, Oregon and the Idaho Northern Branch at Emmett, Idaho, 27 miles from Nampa. Construction on the 11.1-mile segment between Payette and New Plymouth was completed by the Payette Valley Railroad in 1906. In 1910 the remaining mileage to Emmett was added by the Payette Valley Extension Railroad. The branch was purchased by the Oregon Short Line Railroad on August 5, 1914. It serves a portion of Idaho’s largest fruit-raising district as well as a highly-productive agricultural area which features sugar beets as one of its prominent crops. (Smoke Down The Canyons, by Ehernberger and Gschwind, page 17)

(The Payette Valley Railroad is not known to have owned or operated its own rolling stock. Leased for operation upon completion to Oregon Short Line Railroad.)

June 1911
Construction of INRy resumed at Emmett, by Union Pacific crews

August 1912
Construction completed between Emmett and Montour (14 miles)

December 30, 1912
Idaho Northern Railway (including Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railway) was sold to Oregon Short Line Railroad

January 6, 1913
Idaho Northern Railway (including Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railway) was merged into Oregon Short Line Railroad

October 31, 1913
Construction completed between Montour and Smiths Ferry (42 miles)

July 19, 1914
Construction completed between Smiths Ferry and Lakeport (later known as McCall) (46 miles)

OSL abandoned the portion of the Murphy Branch (formerly the Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railway) between Stoddard and Murphy, 9.5 miles, making Stoddard the end of the line and changing the Murphy Branch to become the Stoddard Branch

February 1993
Union Pacific abandoned the Stoddard Branch, Nampa to Stoddard, formerly the Boise, Nampa & Owyhee Railway

source w/more info:

more info: Idaho, Northern And Pacific Railroad

page updated Nov 10, 2018

Weather Reports Jan 17-23

Jan 17 Weather:

At 930am it was 19 degrees and mostly cloudy (a few breaks in the clouds.) Cloudy all day. Fine snow started falling about 345pm. At 5pm it was 33 degrees, low foggy clouds, light breeze, and light snow (almost rain.) At 545pm it was still 33 degrees, and misty rain. Snowing at 8pm. At 11pm it was 32 degrees and raining. At 130am it was 32 degrees and raining. Rain changed to snow during the night.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 18, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly cloudy, quite foggy
Max temperature 35 degrees F
Min temperature 19 degrees F (from yesterday morning)
At observation 32 degrees F
Precipitation 0.35 inch
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 15 inch
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Jan 18 Weather:

At 930am it was 32 degrees, mostly cloudy above moderate fog. Lighter fog by 1030am, then gone before noon. Partly sunny day, above freezing and dripping. At 530pm it was 29 degrees and mostly clear. Around 930pm it was 21 degrees. Very light snow before 9am.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 19, 2016 at 09:30AM
Cloudy, flaking snow
Max temperature 44 degrees F
Min temperature 17 degrees F
At observation 27 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 15 inch (avg)
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Jan 19 Weather:

At 930am it was 27 degrees, cloudy and flaking snow. Not snowing at 1040am. Cloudy day, above freezing. At 515pm it was 37 degrees, a little breezy and just started to sprinkle a little (didn’t last long.) Not raining at 545pm, breezy. At 750pm it was 32 degrees and raining turning to snow. At 10pm it was 33 degrees and slushy freezing rain stuff. At midnight about 1/2″ accumulation of snow.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 20, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly cloudy, light snow
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 27 degrees F
At observation 30 degrees F
Precipitation 0.19 inch
Snowfall 1.5 inch
Snow depth 16 inch
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Jan 20 Weather:

At 930am it was 30 degrees mostly cloudy (some little blue patches) and light snow falling. Pretty much done snowing by 1145am, a flake or two still fluttering down. Filtered sun, dripping and snow bombs dropping out of trees at 1pm. Partly sunny at times during the day. At 5pm it was 32 degrees and partly clear. Mostly clear at 8pm, temp dropping. Mostly clear at 230am. Clouds before morning.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 21, 2016 at 09:30AM
Overcast, flakes of snow falling
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 17 degrees F
At observation 25 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 16 inch
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Jan 21 Weather:

At 930am it was 25 degrees, overcast and just starting to snow lightly. Flakes of snow until 10am. Cloudy and above freezing all day. At 445pm it was 34 degrees and cloudy. At 545pm it was 33 degrees. Hazy moon at 830pm.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 22, 2016 at 09:30AM
Max temperature 37 degrees F
Min temperature 22 degrees F
At observation 28 degrees F
Precipitation Trace
Snowfall Trace
Snow depth 16 inch
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Jan 22 Weather:

At 930am it was 28 degrees and cloudy. Little sprinkle of rain in the afternoon. Cloudy and 34 degrees at 520pm. Cloudy night, probably didn’t get below freezing.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 23, 2016 at 09:30AM
Low overcast, light rain
Max temperature 41 degrees F
Min temperature 28 degrees F
At observation 35 degrees F
Precipitation 0.04 inch
Snowfall 0.0 inch
Snow depth 15 inch
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Jan 23 Weather:

Rain started before 9am. At 930am it was 35 degrees and raining lightly. Little bit of fog at 10am, sprinkling. Moderate rain at 1135am. Misting at noon and at 1pm. Clouds breaking up before 4pm. At 520pm it was 34 degrees and broken clouds. At 8pm full moon peeking out of broken clouds. At 9pm it was snowing lightly. 10pm still snowing, a good trace making the steps white. Very light snow at 130am. Snowed a bunch during the night.

NOAA Weather report:

Observation time January 24, 2016 at 09:30AM
Mostly cloudy
Max temperature 39 degrees F
Min temperature 29 degrees F
At observation 30 degrees F
Precipitation 0.29 inch
Snowfall 4.5 inch
Snow depth 19 inch

PAC Advisory for 1/24/16

Avalanche Advisory published on January 24, 2016

bottom line

The Avalanche Danger remains CONSIDERABLE on upper elevation terrain. Windslabs on steep, leeward slopes are widespread in the upper elevations. A layer of Buried Surface Hoar has been responsible for several natural, and human triggered avalanches this week in both the upper and middle elevations. Safe travel techniques, including sticking to lower angle slopes and keeping an eye on your partners are essential survival tools right now.



recent observations

You will see plenty of old avalanche crowns scattered around if you are in the mountains today. Most of the partially covered, natural release slides happened early last week, some are recent and have a light dusting of new snow covering them. While the hazard of natural avalanches has calmed down over the last few days, there have been several new human caused slides that were triggered over the last 3 days. Ski cuts in northerly terrain by local ski guides continue to produce impressive slides in relatively protected terrain. The layer responsible for these slides is the buried surface hoar that we have been finding in our pit tests over the last 2 weeks. We also saw a lower elevation slide that was triggered by a snowmobile playing on the roadcut on the Goose Lake Rd. near Clow Point. That smaller slide also failed on the layer of buried surface hoar. We have noted that in the older slides that the crowns were very wide or had propagated easily over a very long distance through complex terrain which is what happened on the ski cut triggered slide near Brundage Reservoir. This type of propagation over long distances is a trademark of a Buried Surface Hoar layer. This layer is well preserved in many places right now and the overlying slab is composed of 2+ feet of very firm snow. Where it did not release naturally, it is still waiting for a trigger.

NNW aspect skier triggered slide in a steep rollover from Saturday. This was triggered by the 4th skier that skied the slope.

Sled triggered test slope on the Goose Lake Road near Clow Point triggered Friday.

(View photos at the link at the top of this page.)

Avalanche Problem #1: Wind Slab

Wind slabs and wind loaded terrain continue to be a problem in the upper elevations. The mountains picked up another 4-6 inches in the last 24 hours wth some moderate SW winds.You are most likely to find these slabs at or near the ridgetops or on exposed terrain above 7000 feet. They are still relatively widespread in the upper elevations and range in sensitivity from easily triggerable to resistant. They also range in size from a few inches to a few feet in some areas. New snow over the last few days has also done a great job camouflaging some of the wind slabs formed earlier this week, so you may not see any visual clues. These slabs range in density between soft to hard which means they may let you get well out onto them before they fail. Also, some of these wind slabs may be resting on a layer of weak, faceted snow or surface hoar that was buried last week which may allow them to release deeper still. Your best bet until our snowpack begins to ‘heal’ is to avoid skiing or riding on or below steep, wind loaded slopes.

Avalanche Problem #2: Persistent Slab

While time may heal the fact that you missed all the fresh powder over the last week, it is not necessarily healing our snowpack right now. A layer of buried surface hoar that formed during the New Year’s high pressure is continuing to produce large human caused avalanches. This layer has been slowly covered over the last 2 weeks and has failed in some areas, and is still waiting for a trigger in other places. If you take 5 minutes to dig into the snow right now, you can see exactly where this layer is and what is on top of it. Buried surface hoar and faceted snow have the ability to propagate over large areas when they fail and are responsible for most avalanche incidents and fatalities. These are photos showing the depth of the buried surface hoar where we have found it in our test pits. It is collapsing and failing in the moderate to hard range right now(CT scores 16-18, ECTP 18-22) with impressive results on 28-30 degree slopes. The slab overlying this layer has become very firm this week with the warming temperatures and would be a nasty grinder if you were caught in the debris. Because of the random distribution of this weak layer, and the strength of the overlying slab it is very hard to predict exactly where you will trigger it.

(more photos)

NNW aspect, intentionally triggered avalanche from Friday 1/22/16

Profile and photo of the crown in the slide above done on 1/23/16 weak layer is visible as thin gray line near bottom of pit.

Thanks to everyone that came out in the weather yesterday for our Sleducation class, great group, great class, perfect conditions! Don’t forget to check our Events page for details about our next class and upcoming fundraiser.

Out of Bounds Safety | 01/30/2016 |

Introduction to avalanche awareness for out of ski area backcountry use. The close proximity to a ski area makes accessing the areas out of bounds easy, but with no avalanche hazard reduction… more

February Forecaster Round Table | 02/03/2016 |

Join the Payette Avalanche Center Forecasters each Wednesday in February to discuss a different avalanche topic ( weather and snowpack, terrain and route finding, Human Factors, and Rescue… more

February 23 Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center Fundraiser at Little Ski Hill-drinks, bbq, silent acution and night skiing! Don’t miss this one it’s going to be a hoot!


This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Payette National Forest and the Payette Avalanche Center with help from the Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the West Central Mountains in the Northern half of Valley County and the Eastern portion of Adams County. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general snow and avalanche conditions throughout the advisory area, local variations should be anticpated. This advisory expires at midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.