April 2, 2017 The Yellow Pine Times

April 2, 2017 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Village News:

RIP: Oscar 
July 2004 – March 2017

(Oscar at Rainbow Lake)

Yellow Pine has lost a great Ambassador.
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Village of Yellow Pine Special Meeting March 31, 2017 12:05pm

A special meeting was called by Deb Filler Vice President, Lorinne Munn Secretary and Cecil Dallman Member at Large to address the resignation by Cecil Dahlman as Member at Large.

Kathy Hall was also present and agreed to assume the position of as acting Member at Large until the next election which will be next year. This was voted on and passed by the quorum of officers present.

Also mentioned by Cecil the Grill Committee with be moving forward with the purchase of a new grill.

Respectfully Submitted by
Lorinne N. Munn, Secretary
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Freeze Warning!!

Hey fellow Yellow Piners, we are in for a hard freeze the next couple of mornings!

Tonight Partly cloudy, with a low around 17.
Monday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 14.
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South Fork Salmon River Road Weight Restrictions

I wanted to make folks aware that the weight restrictions have been placed on the South Fork Salmon River Road. We anticipate this restriction remaining in effect until late May. Be cautious when driving on the South Fork and East Fork South Fork Salmon River Roads. There have been and continue to be numerous slides and debris rolling onto the roadway. In addition there is a fill slope failure occurring near MP 12.0 that we will continue to monitor through the spring with anticipated repair work this summer.

– Will Perry – Payette National Forest
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Vet Day

Reminder: Cascade Vet Clinic has tentatively scheduled us for the morning of Wednesday June 14 for our annual Vet Day clinic. Please call (208) 382-4590 to get on the list. Note: this date may change depending on how many folks sign up. – rrS
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Something New!

Recipes have been “tagged” – see the “tag cloud” at the bottom of the right side of the page.

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Local Observations:

Monday (Mar 27) snowed enough early this morning to make the ground white, rain/snow mix or snow or rain falling, low clouds and ridges socked in. Lots of birds calling this morning, robins, jays, juncos and woodpeckers. “Sprintering” off and on during the day. Internet out 250pm-310pm. Thinner clouds and filtered sun in the afternoon, a little breezy. Pileated woodpecker tearing up the ant pile this afternoon. Got a report the mail truck broke down on the way in, so no mail for YP today. Robins chirping at dusk.

Tuesday (Mar 28) clearing overnight and hard freeze, low of 25 degrees. Mostly clear and robins chirping, juncos twittering and woodpeckers drumming this morning. Cloudy after lunch and breezy. First buttercup sighting reported down by the YP campground. A report that the transfer station is full and the road is clear of snow.

Wednesday (Mar 29) overcast and light sprinkles this morning, dozens of birds calling from the trees. Pileated woodpecker whooping. Pine squirrel scolding our chickens. Most of the old snow is gone, piles from the plow along the sides of the road. Little sprigs of medusa-head grass sprouting, weeds also putting out leaves. Light sprinkles all morning, steady rain later in afternoon. Rained continued until around midnight.

Thursday (Mar 30) skiff of snow fell before 6am, melting and low clouds this morning, VanMeter socked in. Lots of birds singing. A little breezy and chilly during the day, calmer and snowing late afternoon (not sticking) snowed until dark.

Friday (Mar 31) light freeze early this morning and cloudy. Dozens of birds calling from the trees in the neighborhood, male and female cassins finches, robins, juncos, jays, woodpeckers drumming (hairy woodpecker on the tree) and even a white-breasted nuthatch. Curious young pine squirrel visited. Cloudy but dry day and warm. Very little snow remains except the big piles in the shade. Quiet day, very little traffic.

Saturday (Apr 1) light freeze this morning, partly cloudy with a lot of blue sky. Not as many birds but still a lot of birdsong, robins, jays, finches and a woodpecker. Sunny warm morning. Fire siren tested at noon. High thin haze early afternoon, filtered sun and warm, jays visiting. Late afternoon thicker clouds and almost “shirt-sleeve” warm. Not quite dark yet at 830pm.

Sunday (Apr 2) barley down to freezing briefly during the night, partly clear and warm this morning. Not as many birds singing, but spied the first tree swallow checking out a birdhouse. Robins, jays and finches calling. Our daffodil leaves are up a couple inches and a few sprouts have started on the bleeding hearts. Buds swelling on the lilac bushes. Gusty winds and mostly cloudy all afternoon, then light snow flurries around 530pm and 630pm (no accumulation of course.) The sun was still above the horizon at 730pm.

Letters to Share:

Commissioner Cruickshank’s March Newsletter


From the desk of Commissioner Cruickshank,

Well I see that the March Lamb avoided us this year. Oh well April flowers will be well watered.

Wednesday March 1st
I reported last month in my National Associations of Counties (NACo) report of this day however I will recap here. This morning I was able to meet with Congressman Simpson and discuss issues. I was able to catch up with a former commissioner who now works for NACo and have lunch together. This afternoon I met with Senator Risch and discussed issues. Later this afternoon I attended a seminar at NACo Headquarters on Human Trafficking.

Thursday March 2nd
I flew home from Washington DC. I did visit with a few commissioners in the airport while waiting for our flights.

Friday March 3rd
I received an invitation to return to Washington DC to testify in front of the House Natural Resources Sub-Committee on Federal Lands to speak on Innovative Ideas with the Forest Service and National Park Service.

Monday March 6th
Commissioner meeting today. Minutes when approved are on the Valley County website at Valley County, Idaho | Official Site just click on the commissioners section. http://www.co.valley.id.us/

Tuesday March 7th
I discussed a potential parking area being considered for winter recreation needs with a citizen.

Wednesday March 8th
Received confirmation from NACo staff on my upcoming flights and hotel room to be in Washington DC to testify.
Contacted General Richy with Idaho Office of Emergency Management to discuss mudslides in Valley County and cost to repair the roads.
I met with officials from the Association of Cities to discuss proposed legislation that concerns road right-of-ways.
I visited with an Oregon commissioner on Secure Rural Schools (SRS) concerns and thoughts of what the future might be for SRS.
This afternoon I attended the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) Legislative Committee meeting in Boise.

Thursday March 9th
This morning I reviewed the Roles and Responsibilities of the NACo Western Region Representative to understand my duties on the NACo Executive Board of Directors.
I discussed Tax Deed properties at Tamarack with a local realtor who was interested in the process.
I received a phone call from NACo Executive Director to go over the Roles and Responsibilities for NACo. We also discussed some issues that had already been brought to my attention by NACo members.

Friday March 10th
Sent a topic on recycling to the Star News for possible publishing and worked on issues to discuss in my testimony.

Sunday March 12th
Worked on emails and correspondence for testimony this week.

Monday March 13th
Before the commissioner meeting I spoke with a business person concerned about workforce housing for employees.
Commissioner meeting minutes will be on the website once approved. http://www.co.valley.id.us/
Today the commissioners decided to offer the Tamarack Tax Deed Parcels in a bundled package on May 1st at 1:00 PM.

Tuesday March 14th
Testified today at the Idaho Legislature on lowering the threshold on Tax Exemptions for a business to move into a county if they meet certain requirements. A few years ago this bill passed with a 3 million dollar minimum which is hard for smaller counties to meet. Today I spoke in favor of lowering the minimum to $500,000.00.

Wednesday March 15th
I flew to Washington DC. Once there I went to the NACo Office and discussed more of my duties as the NACo Western Region Representative with the Administrative Assistant for the NACo Executive Board. Later I worked with other NACo staff to fine tune my testimony for tomorrow.

Thursday March 16th
This morning I testified along with three other folks on Innovative Ideas for the National Park Service and Forest Service. My testimony was on how Valley County has worked with the Forest Service to replace bridges, resurface roads and maintain access by partnering and pooling our funding and resources to stretch the dollar and have more work on the ground accomplished.
This afternoon I flew home.

Friday March 17th
I participated in a NACo Executive Board conference call today. Discussed the “Skinny Budget” released and what this means for counties with reductions in funding for programs.
I returned a call to a citizen looking for information on tax assessments.

Monday March 20th
Commissioner day today. Minutes will be posted on the website once approved. http://www.co.valley.id.us/

Tuesday March 21st
Phone calls on costs of emergency repairs and declaring a state of emergency.
The 3 folks who will be presenting for the Americas Best Communities (ABC) met to discuss our 15 minute talk.
I attended the Midas Gold presentation on their Plan of Restoration and Operation in McCall.

Wednesday March 22nd
The ABC Project Leads met today to go over the final submittal to show how our 21 Initiative accomplishments. Really proud of all the work put into these initiatives as we completed 20 at 100% and the one lone initiative is being worked on however we are not able to claim 100% on this one.
This afternoon I participated in the IAC Legislative Committee conference call to discuss legislation that is moving fast now in Idaho as the session is drawing near.
I discussed submitting our “Bring It Don’t Burn It” program, with our Fire Wise consultant, to submit to NACo for the Achievement Awards held each summer. This year they are showcasing 100 ideas.
I received a phone call to discuss snow grooming equipment potential changes with the Chair of the Snowmobile Advisory Committee.
I received a phone call from the moderator of a panel I will be speaking on at Boise State University next week on “Why Public Lands Matter”.

Friday March 24th
I sent out the actual 25% receipts document that I had received on Timber Harvest on the National Forest. Valley County will receive $114,000.00 in funding which is shared 70% County Road Department and 30% Schools in Valley County. Not much to work from when our last years payment with the Secure Rural Schools added offset was around 1.6 Million. If nothing is done to reauthorize the SRS payment then the Road Department will not have enough fund to do much other than patch pot holes and blade a few roads.

Sunday March 26th
I worked on my talking points for the “Why Public Lands Matter” panel this week.
I sent emails to all the Idaho Senate and House Transportation Committees reminding them of the emergencies couties are facing with the winter snow, mudslides and flooding to remember the local jurisdiction are in need of help with funding and to allow some of the Surplus Eliminator funds to flow to the local jurisdictions.
I worked on talking points for the ABC presentation in Denver next month where the West Central Mountains-Idaho’s Adventure Corridor strategic plan will be awarded top prize. (Just staying positive that we will WIN).

Monday March 27th
Commissioner meeting today please see the minutes on the website once approved. http://www.co.valley.id.us/
I contacted the Idaho Office of Emergency Management to inform them that Valley County has now Declared a State of Emergency due to the estimated $400,000.00 dollars of damage to roadways from mudslides and such we know of. With other areas inaccessible until the snow melts it is unknown if there is more damage to repair.

Tuesday March 28th
Today was the “Why Public Lands Matter” event hosted by the Andrus Center on Public Policy at Boise State University.
Participating in this event were Congressman Mike Simpson, former Governor Cecil Andrus, Governor Otter and Montana Governor Steve Bullock who spoke during our luncheon.
I was on a panel with a Twin Falls County Commissioner and a Latah County Commissioner. We spoke on the use of the Public Lands and how they were viewed as important to our economies, building relationships with various agencies, managing the Public Lands responsibly and looking at what the future holds. This event was attended by 225 folks which was a sold out crowd. I reconnected with many folks I have not seen for awhile and met new folks who appreciated the work that is being done to understand and educate about Public Lands.

Wednesday March 29th
I participated in a conference call for the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition (NFCSC). We discussed advocacy efforts ongoing for reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Program. NFCSC folks will be headed to Washington DC next week to meet with Senators and Representatives to explain the need of the payments and responsible forest management.
I received a call from Valley County’s Emergency Manager that Governor Otter had approved our State Declaration of Emergency for damage across the county.

Thursday March 30th
I discussed several topics with our Wild Fire Consultant on “Bring It Don’t Burn It” program, the Bio Mass Campus and contacting folks to finalize some areas in the Bio Mass Campus Study Valley County has ongoing.
This afternoon I met with the folks presenting for ABC in Denver to final more of our talking points.
I also attended a going away party for one of our Deputy Clerks who is leaving us.

Friday March 31st
I participated in the NACo Executive Board Conference call today. We discussed future NACo Annual Conference locations, having the Executive Board, Committee Chairs, Rural Action Caucus Chair, Large Urban County Caucus Chair and the WIR President come to Washington DC to meet with congressional offices on a variety of issues that will be impacted with President Trump’s proposed budget cuts. We discussed Immigration, Health Care, Tax Reform and the potential of a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running. Most important was the discussion on doing everything to maintain our publics safety and protecting peoples rights.
This afternoon I submitted a Guest Opinion to the Idaho Statesman to respond after reading last weeks opinion on “Logging Threatens our National Forest ‘which don’t need restored’

Well that brings us to watching for the Easter Bunny. So Happy Easter everyone as it will be here and gone before I send out my next letter.

Thanks for reading.
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Federal Obligation To Idaho Counties Must Be Met

Guest Column Submitted By U.S. Senator Mike Crapo March 27, 2017

Secure Rural School payments are critical to ensure that counties across Idaho and the nation, accommodating tax-exempt, federally managed lands, have the resources necessary for local schools, roads, bridges, forest management projects and public safety priorities. The federal responsibility to meet this commitment remains. I recently joined fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch and 78 of our congressional colleagues in sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) calling on it to provide funding for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program in the President’s upcoming budget request that will be submitted to Congress.

We stressed the importance of prioritizing the SRS program in the federal budgeting process, “SRS payments provide critical revenues to more than 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools throughout the country, impacting nine million students across 41 states. In many cases, these ‘forest counties’ include massive swaths of public lands, particularly National Forest System lands, often consuming 65 to 90 percent of total land within their boundaries. . . . Prevailing uncertainties about SRS make it nearly impossible for local governments to plan their annual budgets. The federal government has long recognized its obligation to these forest counties, and we are committed to working in Congress to provide these counties the resources they need to serve their populations.” Twenty-five senators and 53 representatives signed the letter asking the new Administration to work with us on this effort.

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West Central Mountains scores another incredible outcome

April 2, 2017

I want to share an outcome we all had a hand in.

The 2017 County Health Rankings came out yesterday. Among public health professionals, these rankings are the premiere metric for community wellness.

Valley county again ranked healthiest county in Idaho – our second consecutive year. The rankings are a composite of social health, economic health, environmental health, physical health, and behavioral health. Sounds a little bit like our ABC initiatives.

Here’s the astonishing outcome I especially want to share: the heaviest weighted variable out of the 37 measurements is Length of Life. Valley County Idaho ranks # 1 out of America’s 2,300 counties in Length of Life. In 2016 we were #2 nationally which I thought was just a coincidence and aberration of data collection . But now – two years in a row – it is unheard of in county ranking history for one county to be so prominent And a rural county on top of that. (Rural counties typically have less longevity than urban counties.)

I know our work for ABC helped make this happen. And next month we get the another whopping best in America achievement. We are blessed.

– Lyle (from St Luke McCall)

You can Google “county health rankings” to view the detailed rankings.

[h/t GC]

Idaho News:

Hwy 55 Rock

March 30, 2017 (via Facebook) Horseshoe Bend Community Gatherings


So grateful no one was hit when this came down on HWY 55 near Porter Creek late this afternoon. Kudos to Boise County Sheriff for being right behind us and providing traffic safety and getting Horseshoe Bend Fire out here to handle it. (Later report that the road had been cleared.)

photo gallery:
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Record-breaking season brings high hopes to Tamarack

by Sierra Oshrin Sunday, March 26th 2017

Donnelly, Idaho (KBOI) — If you drive about 100 miles north of Boise, you’ll be greeted by snow, pine trees, and a ski resort surrounded by unfinished construction.

“It had the same problems that a lot of ski resorts go through. We went through a bankruptcy. We are now out of that,” General Manager Brad Larsen said.

Developers had been eyeing the mountain since the 80’s. In 2004, Tamarack finally opened. Larsen says the resort was exploding in the early 2000’s, but construction stopped during the housing bubble. Resort buildings have remained covered in white Tyvek ever since.

But this summer, the destiny of the ski resort changed. Homeowners purchased the resort, hoping to revitalize the vision of Tamarack and finish up the real estate projects.

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Streets local-option tax raised $1.5 million in first year

Unexpected money will assure projects are built

By Tom Grote for The Star-News March 30, 2017

McCall’s local option taxes to rebuild city streets collected $1.58 million in 2016, or double original estimates, figures from the city said.

The extra money means the city will be able to complete all the projects on its initial list as well as add projects, McCall Public Works Director Nathan Stewart said.

In November 2015, city voters approved adding a 1 percent sales tax to all purchases covered by the state’s 6 percent sales tax except for groceries.

Also, 3 percent was added to the city’s previous 3 percent sales tax on motels, vacation rentals and other overnight lodging. The new taxes were approved by 65.4 percent of voters.

When the ballot measure was proposed, city officials estimated the tax could collect about $800,000 per year. In 2016, that total was $1.58 million collected from nearly 500 businesses, according to the city clerk’s office.

full story The Star-News:
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Cascade, Valley get $100,000 grant to improve Mill Street to pool, Kelly’s

By Max Silverson for The Star-News March 30, 2017

A $100,000 state grant will allow Mill Street in Cascade to be repaved and pathways added next year, the Cascade City Council was told Monday night.

The grant from the Idaho Transportation Department’s Local Roads Improvement Program will pave Mill Street between Main Street (Idaho 55) and Kelly’s Whitewater Park.

The project will improve access to Kelly’s as well as to the Cascade Aquatic and Recreation Center, Valley County Road and Bridge Superintendent Jeff McFadden said.

The street runs through city and county property, and both crews will work together to get the most work done with the grant, Cascade Mayor Rob Terry said.

“This project will pave the current dirt road with room for a bike lane,” Terry said, adding that he hopes two five-foot pathways could be built.

full story The Star-News:
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ITD plans two projects on U.S. 95 near New Meadows

The Star-News March 30, 2017

Two projects on U.S. 95 north of New Meadows are planned for this year by the Idaho Transportation Department, a news release said.

Little Salmon River Bridge

The bridge over the Little Salmon River about 15 miles north of New Meadows will be rebuilt starting in April with completion expected next winter.

The project will reduce the highway to one lane during most of the construction as the new bridge will be built one side at a time. A single lane of traffic will be controlled by a temporary traffic signal.

Work will take place Mondays through Fridays during daytime hours. Braun-Jensen of Payette is the contractor on the $2.5 million project.

Curve Flattening

Work will start in the summer to improve curves on two miles of U.S. 95 about 11 miles north of New Meadows.

The project will cut rock faces back away from the road, remove loose rock from the slopes and build walls along the Little Salmon River to provide a wider roadway in some areas, a news release said.

U.S. 95 will be reduced to one lane for most of the project’s duration. Traffic will be controlled by temporary signals in the work areas. The project, estimated at $1.4 million, is currently out for bid.

source The Star-News:
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Greater GV Chamber Says – Don’t Shoot the Messenger – Hear the Facts

Posted on April 1, 2017 by admin in Garden Valley

Imagery of Crouch where fireworks have been set off in the center of town. Photo by Janet Juroch

The Greater Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce has been under attack of being the entity that is banning illegal fireworks in the City of Crouch. Many event planning meetings at different times involved the Sheriff, the County Prosecuting Attorney, the Fire Chief and the land owner representative. The meetings included Chamber Board members. At those meetings it was made clear to Chamber President Diane Caughlin, that the land owners of the center of Crouch did not want the illegal fireworks activity on their property any longer.

The information was given to the media about that decision before the General Meeting of the Chamber, Thursday March 9th. A surprised Caughlin started to get calls prior to the meeting that evening from news organizations. KTVB news of Boise was present at that meeting reported on the discussions that the Chamber had after following up on the requests by city officials and land owners of Old Crouch Road which aired later that night with correct and positive information.

At that meeting, the chamber had two options after the landowners who are most affected said they no longer wanted fireworks on their property. Members were asked if the Chamber should hold the normal 4th of July Chamber sponsored events and continue forward, or shut the entire event down this year and do a re-set. Since the Chamber sponsors the Fourth of July celebration, they wanted to show they would be in agreement with city of Crouch and property owners to disallow the use any fireworks in the center of town. The chamber voted on those requests by a show of hands.

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Idaho men escape Custer County plane crash

Local News 8 Mar 27, 2017

Mackay, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Two Idaho men walked away from a small plane crash near Mackay Saturday.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office said a pilot instructor Phillip Bates, 37, and trainee Ryan Jennings, 30, of Boise were flying a Cessna C 182 P from Nampa. At 3:24 p.m. the men reported they were making a second pass up a canyon toward Shelly Mountain when the plane hit a strong down-draft of air, forcing the plane into the snow and trees.

There was no fire or explosion and both men escaped with minor cuts and bruises.

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Major storm uproots trees around Payette

KTVB March 30, 2017

Downed tree in Payette (Photo: Payette Police Department)

Payette — Violent wind and rain has toppled several large trees in the Payette area Thursday.

The Payette Police Department says officers were called out to a downed tree in the 1300 block of 1st Avenue South that had completely blocked the roadway. Heavy winds uprooted in the tree from in front of a home, damaging the sidewalk.

Officers were dispatched again later Thursday morning to another fallen tree, this time in on North 9th Street between Center Avenue and 1st Avenue North. The Payette Street Department has also been sent out to help clear the downed trees.

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Winter Can’t Quite Say Goodbye

IME 3/31/2017

photo by Roland Lane

During a spring snowstorm Thursday, Sun Valley stable workers Sienna Pearson and Dee Towner encounter a herd of elk while out feeding draft horses. The horses pull sleighs in the winter and wagons in the summer carrying guests to dine at Trail Creek Cabin.

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Heavy snow, wet spring pushes fire season back a bit in SW Idaho

by Scott Logan Wednesday, March 29th 2017

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — Fire managers say this rough winter and heavy spring will delay the start of fire season in our area from June into July.

Fire season may be set back by a month or so but when it gets going, it will quickly ramp up in the lower elevations such as in the Foothills.

All this moisture means heavy growth of grass and brush and when that dries, it’ll be ready to burn.

After the heavy winter snows, the outlook is for a cooler and wetter than normal spring.

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States declares emergency due to high water on Boise River

4/1/17 AP

BOISE, Idaho — The city of Boise, Ada County and the state have all declared a state of emergency because of high water levels on the Boise River.

Boise River flows on Friday exceeded 8,200 cubic feet per second, making conditions dangerous for people and pets, The Idaho Statesman reported. Emergency declarations allow for immediate expenditure of public money to secure materials needed for disaster relief and public safety.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing more water than usual from upstream reservoirs in hopes of minimizing flooding later this spring when large amounts of snow in the mountains melt.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said Friday when declaring a local emergency that the river levels are nearly unprecedented. He asked that people stay away from the river altogether.


Letter to Share:

Let’s Eliminate A Trail Fee

Western Slope No Fee Coalition 3/26/2017

Residents of southern Ohio have convinced the Wayne National Forest to eliminate its “Trail Permit” fee. They need your help to make it happen.

Years of effort by equestrians for access to their own public lands have potentially come to a happy outcome on the Wayne National Forest. Horse owners there have long been required to buy a “Trail Permit” to ride anywhere on the 79 miles of trail that are open to equestrian use. The other trails on the Wayne don’t allow horses, so there has been no place where you could ride a horse without paying a fee. The Forest’s justification for this has been that horseback riding is a “specialized recreation use,” putting it in the same legal category as commercial uses, organized events, and large group gatherings, which is ridiculous.

The permit requirement has especially rankled horse riders because of their long history of volunteering on the Wayne, including creating new trails for riders and hikers, and helping re-route others to make them safer and more environmentally responsible. Local riders have been working with other user groups to get changes made to the Forest’s overall recreation fee program, and thanks to their efforts a general revision to recreation fees on the Wayne has been proposed and is out for public comment until July 28. It includes the elimination of the Trail Permit requirement for horseback riders!

You can read the details of the proposal HERE. This chance to eliminate an inappropriate fee is a rare event, so no matter where you live your comments to the Wayne will help make the rest of the National Forests sit up and take notice that general access fees remain unpopular with the public and need to end.


Public Lands:

Payette National Forest begins Stibnite Gold Plan of Operations Environmental Impact Statement Process

Date: March 27, 2017
Contact: Brian Harris, Forest Service (208) 634-0784 cell: (208) 634-6945

McCall, ID – The Payette National Forest is beginning an National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis on a plan of operations (Plan) for mining development at Stibnite, located 14 miles ESE of the community of Yellow Pine in Valley County, Idaho. The proponent for the project is Midas Gold Idaho, Inc. (Midas Gold).

While this analysis is early in the process, members of the public can find information pertaining to the proposed project at

The Plan, as submitted from Midas Gold is available for download in its entirety on this project website.

This project is being analyzed under the NEPA in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared in compliance with 36 CFR 218, and there are three opportunities for public review and comment:

* The first opportunity is the Public Scoping period in early summer of this year. This comment period is at the beginning of the process and before preparation of the Draft EIS. Comments received during this scoping period are used to refine the proposed action, develop alternatives, and identify issues for analysis.
* The second opportunity is during the public review and comment period for the Draft EIS document, expected in the of spring 2018. Comments received on the Draft EIS are useful in identifying issues or data that was not considered, or other concerns with the environmental analysis.
* The third opportunity is during the 45 day objection period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the draft Record of Decision (ROD), expected in the fall of 2018. Comments filed during this period will be evaluated to determine if they meet the legal requirements for an objection under 36 CFR 218, Subpart A and B. Objections must be filed within the 45 day period according to the directions of the legal notice and objectors must have previously commented on the same concern during one of the previous two comment periods in order to have standing for objection. After resolution of objections, the final ROD is expected in the winter of 2019.

Each opportunity to comment will be announced in a Notice of Intent or a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register, as required for an EIS. The Forest will also publish timely legal notices in the McCall Star News and the Idaho Statesman. Direct notification will also be made via email to everyone subscribed to the project via the project webpage. Public meetings will also be held prior to, or during public comment periods.

“Get Connected” to receive email information about the project

Anyone interested in receiving emailed information about the project is encouraged to subscribe at the project website:

On the project website, you will see a box titled “Get Connected” on the right hand side of the page. Click on “Subscribe to Email Updates.” When you click on that item, you will be prompted to provide your e-mail address and select a password for your GovDelivery subscription. When you have logged in, you will be able to manage your account by subscribing to projects by Forest, District, project type, or project purpose. You will also be able to change your e-mail address and password as you desire. If you no longer wish to follow the project(s), simply delete your subscription. Once you are subscribed, you will receive all project information via e-mail, unless you request hard copies.
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Road to Stolle Meadows on the Cascade Ranger District damaged by slides

3/29/2017 BNF

Boise, Idaho, March 29, 2017– The Boise National Forest is temporarily closing National Forest System (NFS) Road 474 from the Warm Lake Highway (NFS Road 22) to the junction of NFS Roads 474 and 427 for public health and safety. Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.54 (e), this order is in effect when signed and will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2017, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first.

High snowpack and increased precipitation saturated the roadway causing it to give way in three places above the South Fork of the Salmon River. The largest slide is approximately 50 feet long and will require extensive work to repair. The road is one of two routes leading into Stolle Meadows and snowmobilers can still use NFS Road 427 around Warm Lake to access Stolle Meadows.

The extreme snow year, warmer weather conditions and spring runoff has started to cause damage on some travel routes throughout the forest. Visitors should be extremely cautious since many travel routes are still snow covered and holding a lot of moisture. Forest officials warn travelers to pay attention to posted warning signs and be aware of their surroundings.

With the Boise Basin having about 140 percent of snow pack (SNOTEL data), spring runoff is extremely high, cold, and swift and is expected to continue. https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref/gis/images/id_swepctnormal_update.png

A detailed description of the closure is attached. For this and all Boise National Forest area closures visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices

Linda Steinhaus
Public Affairs
Boise National Forest
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Wet weather wipes out road in Boise National Forest

KTVB March 29, 2017

A road in the Boise National Forest has been closed after three sections of it collapsed due to saturated soil. (Photo: Boise National Forest)

Boise – A road in the Boise National Forest has been closed after three sections of the road collapsed this week.

The damage to National Forest System (NFS) Road 474, which occurred above the South Fork of the Salmon River, is being blamed on high snowpack and increased precipitation saturating the roadway.

Until the road can be repaired, the stretch between the Warm Lake Highway and the junction of NFS 474 and 427 will remain closed.

Forest officials say the longest of the three road collapses is about 50 feet long and will require extensive work to repair.

The road is one of two routes leading into Stolle Meadows. Snowmobilers can still use NFS Road 427 around Warm Lake to access Stolle Meadows.

continued w/more photos:
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Mountain Home Ranger District temporarily closes roads for upcoming tree planting

3/29/2017 BNF

Boise, Idaho, March 29, 2017 – As part of the ongoing reforestation effort for the 2013 Elk Complex fires, the Mountain Home Ranger District will temporarily close National Forest System (NFS) Roads to plow them in preparation for spring planting of various conifer species, primarily ponderosa pine.

NFS Roads affected include the entire length of 119, 124, 124A, 124B, 124C, 124C1, 175, 175D, 175E, 175E2, 175G, 175G3, an 175G4. NFS Road 175 is closed at the private/state lands boundary, approximately 1,000 feet east of the intersection with County Road 117. The closures are in effect immediately until April 30, 2017.

The roads are closed to provide for public safety, prevent road damage and to protect wintering wildlife during the Elk Reforestation effort on roads typically inaccessible during this time of year.

The Elk wildfire burned hot and consumed most of the trees so planting is needed to accelerate the establishment of ponderosa pine. An additional 3,000 acres just south of this area, are scheduled for conifer planting in 2018 and other areas within the Elk wildfire are expected to be planted for several more years.

Any violation of this order is punishable by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual or $10000 for an organization, and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.

For details on this, and all Boise National Forest closures visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices

For more information, contact the Mountain Home Ranger District at 208-587-7961.


Area needing planting

Linda Steinhaus
Public Affairs
Boise National Forest

Odd News:

200-ton boulder blocks Oregon highway

by KPIC Thursday, March 30th 2017

Glide, Ore. – A 12-foot tall, 200-ton rock fell on Highway 138E just after midnight Thursday, blocking the road 10 miles east of Glide on the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway.

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Authorities blast through 200-ton boulder blocking Oregon highway

by ODOT, KOMO Staff Friday, March 31st 2017

cool video:

Letter to Share:

Free Kids Day at Little Canyon

For good directions go to the Little Canyon Shooting Reserve web page. There is a google map that will take you there. The map I have attached will get you there. Sign up is from 8:00 to 12:00 noon. You don’t have to preregistor just be there and sign up. We would just like to know you are coming so we can have food for you.

Map Link – LittleCanyonMap.pdf

Idaho boys and girls aged 10-17 with an interest in hunting and shooting are encouraged to attend Little Canyon Shooting Preserve’s annual Kid’s Day celebration on Sunday, April 9, 2017. All events will take place at the hunting ranch near Peck, Idaho, located at 44854 Little Canyon Road. All events are free, with registration running from 8:00 am – 12;00 Noon.

The day is intended to provide young people a full day of activities designed to build hunting and shooting skills in an environment stressing safety and the importance of ethical behavior in the field. Participants are welcome to participate in any or all of the following activities under the supervision of qualified adult instructors:

* Rifle practice and coaching with .22 caliber weapons.
* Tours of the Little Canyon game bird hatchery. Baby chicks are hatching.
* Sporting clays practice simulating wing shooting with clay targets.
* Practice at the archery range featuring life size 3-D targets of Idaho big game animals.
* An opportunity to hunt pheasants over trained gun dogs with one-on-one safety supervision. (Idaho hunter safety card, ID and hunting license required for pheasant hunt.) (non-resident must have Hunter Safety Certificate and a 502 class non-resident shooting preserve license.
* Free lunch

All children must be accompanied by an adult aged 18 or over. Participants are welcome to bring their own equipment or use firearms, ammunition and archery equipment provided on site. Participants are asked to call (208) 486-6235 or (208) 883-3423 for more information and driving directions. Email jhag1 @ frontier.com

Event sponsors include Little Canyon Shooting Preserve, Vista Outdoors of Lewiston, the Gamebird Foundation and the Les Schwab Tire Company of Orofino. Helbling Machine, Spence Hardware, and more coming. Money Saver will give us free space.

Dan Blanco, Jim Hagedorn

Critter News:

Tribe euthanizes dog pack after 2-year-old boy attacked

3/31/17 AP

Pocatello, Idaho — Animal control officials have euthanized eight of 11 dogs that attacked and seriously injured a 2-year-old boy north of Pocatello.

The Idaho State Journal reports that the Fort Hall Business Council on Tuesday approved the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ animal control ordinance that would address the issue of stray dogs on the Fort Hall Reservation.

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Cyanide device on US land broke agency policy

By Keith Ridler – 3/29/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — A cyanide device for killing coyotes that spewed the poison on a boy and killed his dog was set up on public land in Idaho in February despite a decision months earlier by federal officials to halt use of the devices on all U.S.-owned land in the state, officials said.

The device activated March 16 when 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield and his dog checked it out 300 yards (275 meters) from their home on the outskirts of the small city of Pocatello. The boy has suffered headaches since he was exposed.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Erin Curtis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday that the device that went off and another one were put there by the U.S. Agriculture Department in late February.

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Ban sought for cyanide trap that hurt Idaho boy, killed dog

By Keith Ridler – 3/29/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — Environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. Agriculture Department to ban its use of cyanide-ejecting devices aimed at killing coyotes after one went off near a boy and his dog earlier this month, killing the dog.

The petition filed late Tuesday by the Western Watersheds Project and other groups starts a formal process to prevent the department’s wildlife services division from using the devices across Idaho and to mandate the removal of existing devices.

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Keep an eye on your pets: Vets see uptick in poison cases

by Amika Osumi Friday, March 31st 2017

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — As the weather warms up this weekend, you or your gardener might think twice before using rat or mouse poison in your yard.

However, poison that’s meant to kill rodents, can also kill your dog.

“In the past month we’ve probably seen upwards of 20, so it’s almost one a day,” said Dr. Jessica Loweth, a veterinarian at All Valley Animal Care Center.

That’s how often the All Valley Animal Care Center is treating dogs poisoned by rat bait.

Just last weekend the center treated six poisoned dogs.

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Pet owners prepare for tick season in Pocatello

By Erin Oshaughnessy Mar 31, 2017

Pocatello, Idaho KIFI/KIDK – According to the Community Animal Hospital in Pocatello, ticks in the spring and summer time have been especially bad the last two years.

As temperatures start to warm up, people head outside. But that also means pets and people could pick up ticks.

Ticks do not just bite pets, they will also bite humans. The problem with ticks, is they carry diseases, some of which can be life threatening to animals.

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Cats killed in Boise Bench neighborhood: who or what is to blame?

by Devan Kaney Wednesday, March 29th 2017

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — There have been a dozen cats allegedly killed in the Boise Bench neighborhood in the past week. Many neighbors believe violent dogs are to blame.

“I just feel…I just feel I don’t know I just feel really nervous. I feel like something has come through our neighborhood,” Bench resident Marni Moore said.

Moore came home to find her two outdoor cats dead last Saturday.

“This has made me feel very sad and disappointed and also determined I would like to figure out some sort of solution but I just don’t know quite what it is,” Moore said.

She is among several Boise Bench cat-owners who believe two large dogs are to blame.

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Pet talk – Kidney Disease In Cats, Part 2

By Dr. Karsten Fostvedt and Dr. Malia Wayment 3/31/2017 IME

How does a vet diagnose kidney disease?

A vet will ask questions such as, “Has your cat started drinking more or lost weight?” Examination of your cat will include coat quality and the presence of mouth ulcers. The kidneys can often be carefully felt from the outside. Urine samples can be assessed for concentration or the presence of protein, which can indicate increased leakiness. Blood tests can show increased levels of toxins that would be filtered into urine by healthy kidneys.

Examination and laboratory tests will also help rule out other diseases that can cause similar clinical signs. X-ray, ultrasound or kidney biopsies may in certain circumstances provide extra necessary information.

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Washington wolf population continues to grow

3/31/17 – AP

Seattle — Wildlife officials say the Washington wolf population is on the rise in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife latest report.

The Seattle Times reported Friday that a wildlife report released March 17 determined that 115 wolves in 20 packs were living in the state in 2016. Wildlife officials have also documented 10 successful breeding pairs using airplanes, remote cameras, tracks and signals from radio collars.

Officials say the state had a net gain of at least 25 wolves in 2016, despite the deaths of 14 who were killed for various reasons. Seven wolves in the Profanity Peak Pack were killed late 2016 after they continue to attack the livestock of northwestern Washington ranchers.

Wolves neared extinction in the 1930 from trapping, poisoning and shooting. The first Washington wolf pack was documented in 2008.

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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

Last week of March 2017
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Mexican wolf from reintroduction effort captured in Arizona

3/30/17 – AP

Phoenix — A female Mexican wolf from an ongoing reintroduction effort in Mexico has been captured on private ranch land in southeastern Arizona.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials say the wolf captured Sunday has been relocated to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico, where it is in good health.

Management agencies in the U.S. and Mexico will determine the most appropriate long-term management action for the young wolf.

Authorities say the wolf was born last year at a captive wolf breeding facility in Cananea, Mexico, and released last October about 90 miles from the international border.

The last collar radio transmission was Feb. 14 from 21 miles south of the international border with New Mexico.

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Wolf Education International

Newsletter last week of March 2017

Wildlife officials kill nearly 200 Minnesota wolves in 2016

Beach closed, dogs temporarily banned after wolf attack near Ucluelet

Wolf sighted in Northwestern Nevada

Hungry wolves take big bite out of profits, cattle producers say
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Scientists predict expansion of US grizzly bear habitat

4/2/17 – AP

Jackson, Wyo. — Grizzly bears continue to expand their range amid an ongoing effort to turn over management of the bears from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, a federal official said.

“We’ve seen an 11 percent change in increasing range in just a couple of years,” Frank van Manen, head scientist of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, said last week at a meeting in Jackson.

Since coming under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, grizzlies have steadily expanded their habitat outward from the population’s core in Yellowstone National Park.

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Colorado bears waking up from hibernation seek food, trash

3/30/17 – AP

Steamboat Springs, Colo. — Colorado wildlife officials say it’s time to start securing trash and putting bird feeders away — bear hibernation period is over.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today reports that the Steamboat Police Department has already received two reports of bears digging into trash. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras says all black bears across the state are waking up now.

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Black bear stops for snack at bird feeder

by WHAM Friday, March 31st 2017

Sodus, N.Y. (WHAM) – A Sodus woman said she was shocked to see a visitor at her birdfeeder Thursday night.

continued w/cute video:

Note: Bears are due to be out and about in the YP area soon.
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Badger buries cow carcass in Utah, shocks science world

by Larry D. Curtis, KUTV Saturday, April 1st 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – University of Utah biologists have caught a badger doing something that scientists have never observed before: burying a meal much bigger than itself.

The university released its finding and a video of the new behavior Friday.

continued w/video:
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Antelope herd in Payette will be left alone for now, Fish and Game says

by KBOI News Staff Monday, March 27th 2017

Payette, Idaho (KBOI) — A large group of pronghorn antelope that made its way from Oregon to Idaho over the winter will be allowed to stay in Payette.

On Monday, the Idaho Fish and Game said the antelope will be left alone, despite numerous complaints from locals.

“We’ve received a number of calls from citizens concerned about the pronghorn, asking us to trap and move the animals to more suitable habitat,” said Regan Berkley, Fish and Game wildlife manager. “We are equally concerned, but after weighing options, have determined that any effort to trap and move the animals might do more harm than good.”

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Idaho bighorns killed after contact with domestic sheep herd

3/30/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — State officials on Thursday killed two bighorn sheep rams in central Idaho that came in contact with domestic sheep and might have carried deadly diseases back to the wild bighorn herd.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game in a news release says attempts to dart and put radio collars on the 5- and 6-year-old rams near Challis failed Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

Samples taken from the sheep and their carcasses have been sent to a wildlife health lab for analysis.

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Otter appeals dismissal of Idaho sage grouse lawsuit

By Keith Ridler – 3/31/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is appealing the dismissal of his sage grouse lawsuit against the federal government.

Otter late last week filed the notice appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Otter sued in September 2015 after federal officials opted not to list sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act but announced federal land-use restrictions.

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Sockeye salmon removed from flood-threatened Idaho hatchery

By Keith Ridler – 3/30/17 AP

BOISE, Idaho — About 4,000 endangered Snake River sockeye salmon have been evacuated from a flood-threatened hatchery in southwestern Idaho.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game on Thursday morning loaded the fish at the Eagle Fish Hatchery west of Boise into four trucks. The fish will be transported to a hatchery in eastern Idaho.

The fish are expected to arrive in the afternoon.


Fun Critter Stuff:

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Border Collie Herding Flock of Ducks – Dog Tricks

Border Collie tricks and herding abilities shown in the video. Border Collies love challenging jobs and are always happy to learn new things. They are best working dogs.

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Mesmerising Mass Sheep Herding

It’s woolly’s roundup! This incredible footage of hundreds of sheep being herded across New Zealand’s grasslands will blow you away.


Fish & Game News:

Spring chinook fishing to open April 22 on Little Salmon River

The Star-News March 30, 2017

Spring chinook fishing will open April 22 on the Little Salmon River, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has announced.

Anglers should consult the 2017 spring chinook salmon seasons and rules brochure for other rules and special restrictions regarding fishing from shore and watercraft.

The Little Salmon River will be open for chinook fishing from the mouth upstream to the U.S. 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.

Bag limits for the Little Salmon River are four chinook, only two may be adults and 12 in possession, only six may be adults.

Season limit is 20 adult chinook salmon statewide during 2017 for salmon seasons occurring prior to Sept. 1.

Only hatchery chinook with a clipped adipose fin may be kept by anglers, and all others must be released unharmed. Chinook anglers are also restricted to barbless hooks.

source The Star-News:
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F&G to host hunter education field day on Saturday

The Star-News March 30, 2017

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host a Hunter Education Field Day on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Super 8 Lodge in McCall.

Hunters must complete the online hunters education class before they can sign up for the field day class.

The field day is an overview of the online class with another test that will need to be passed before the hunter can get their certification and hunting license.

Cost is $9.75 online and $8 if registering at the McCall F&G office at 555 Deinhard Ln.

To sign up online go http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. Select the “Education” tab, then “Hunter Education Field Day” courses, then “View and sign up for Courses here”

For questions, call the McCall office at 634-8137.

source The Star-News:
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F&G News Releases


Back-Country Humor: