Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Sports & Recreation

In a year like this, with snowpack and streamflow ranging up to 200 percent of normal, the top boaters really shine in the big water scene, and they go after it with gusto. They’re out running the Salmon River top to bottom, from Stanley to Lewiston, or Marsh Creek to Spring Bar, in a matter of days. They’ll be waiting to run the Middle Fork at 10 feet in a single day, all 100 miles in about 10 hours....

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...What they discovered, contrary to popular opinion, is that protected areas, which presumably have higher biomass and fuels loads, had lower-severity fires than forests that were actively managed. This is not surprising if you understand why and how forests burn. First, what burns in forest fires are primarily the fine fuels such as needles, small branches, grass and shrubs. That is why in the aftermath of a fire, there are snags. The tree boles themselves seldom burn. Logging and thinning tends to put more fine fuels on the ground and promotes the growth of things such as grasses and shrubs....

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A group is forming to help provide recommendations to the Salmon-Challis National Forest and the Salmon and Challis Field Offices of the Bureau of Land Management as the agencies move forward with updating their land-management plans. Toni Ruth is the director of Salmon Valley Stewardship, a local nonprofit organization that has been leading the effort to bring stakeholders together. Ruth said her group has been working on pulling together a collaborative group for almost a year and a half. “We have spent a lot of time and put on a lot of miles traveling throughout central Idaho to help people become more aware of the Forest Service and BLM plan revisions. We’ve had conversations with hundreds of people to find out what kinds of public-lands issues might benefit from a group of solutions-oriented citizens coming together to find some common ground,” Ruth explained...

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The Trip: Row Adventures, Salmon River For most of your trip down the Salmon River in Idaho (pictured above), the scenery alongside your inflatable raft will take most of your attention. White sand beaches, golden sunshine and rocky cliffs are part of the reason it is often referred to as the Riviera of the West. But there are challenges, too: Whitewater Rapids will require you to paddle hard alongside your fellow travellers. The reward? Evenings in camps that have been set up for you and meals that will banish the idea that camp dining means weiners and beans. There is no access to a Wi-Fi signal for most of the trip, meaning a real vacation is possible and you’ll have plenty of time for stargazing and campfires. Row Adventures’ trips aren’t limited to the Salmon River, either; consider trips to the Galapagos, Baja or the Amazon as well. www.rowadventures.com

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IDAHO STATESMAN - Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of camping season in Idaho. The national forests in our area have started releasing lists of what will be open and closed for the holiday weekend. Here’s what we know so far — and more will be added as the information becomes available. The information was provided by the agency listed...

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FISHING -- Idaho's spring chinook season will close on both the Salmon and Clearwater Rivers at the end of fishing hours on Wednesday, May 24, because of a weak run that's already closed some downstream fisheries in Washington, says Brett Bowersox, Idaho Fish and Game Department fisheries biologist in Lewiston. "We will continue to monitor returns over Bonneville Dam," he said, noting that fish counts at downstream dams have improved the past few days and the season could be reopened if the run were to pick up significantly. "However, even with those improvements we are still very concerned regarding our ability to collect brood stock for future hatchery releases," he said. "In addition, returns of natural chinook salmon in the Salmon River are far below expected and are likely to fall below the level needed for incidental hook and release mortality within those fisheries." Many anglers and guides are packing their boats and gear for Drano lake and other Columbia tributary areas that remain open for spring chinook stocks that aren't involved in endangered species protections.

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FROM THE IDAHO STATESMAN - Idaho’s salmon run this year is beginning to look bleak. Oregon and Washington officials shut down fishing season on the lower Columbia River earlier this month because so few spring chinook heading for spawning grounds in Idaho and other Snake River tributaries had shown up at the Bonneville Dam near Portland. Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission took a wait-and-see stand Wednesday on whether to close fishing season, because fewer than 400 salmon had made it to Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in Washington, the last of the eight dams between the Pacific Ocean and Idaho. For the past decade, nearly 30,000 spring chinook had returned on average by now. Idaho Fish and Game biologists worry they won’t have enough salmon returning to supply brood stock for the fish hatcheries that account for 80 percent of the run — and might mean no fishing at all for spring and summer chinook, which are the salmon most Idahoans catch. The chinook that are born wild and not in hatcheries make up 20 percent of the run, and they aren’t much better off.

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LEWISTON, Idaho – Three women navigating a 900-mile horseback ride to raise awareness about migrating salmon have faced flooded paths, busy highways and an escaped horse. During on stop in mid-May, they tackled a barrage of questions from a highly curious group of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at McSorley Elementary School in Lewiston. Hands shot up throughout the nearly hour-long presentation, giving way to queries about wild animals (they’ve seen elk, deer, eagles and beavers), the women’s ages (they’re all in their 20s) and what happens if one of the horses gets pregnant on the trip (a very unlikely scenario, they assured the children). One student wondered why the women chose horses to transport them on their journey. “We couldn’t find any salmon big enough to ride,” said MJ Wright, grinning at the kids...

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