Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Sports & Recreation

GUEST OPINIONS - BY CRAIG GEHRKE Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will be visiting the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise on Friday, giving him a great opportunity to broaden his perspective on the national forests he is charged with overseeing. Perdue recently told Congress that the trees of our national forests are “crops” that “ought to be harvested.” I hope the secretary takes the time to listen and learn how much more the national forests yield states like Idaho beyond their value for cutting. I hope he talks to…

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MACKAY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Favorable weather has allowed the Salmon-Challis National Forest to begin its White Knob Fuels Reduction project. The project began in Blaze Canyon, about 1.5 miles from Mackay. The forest plans to treat 200 acres of timber. Personnel from several districts are participating. Smoke from the controlled burns is visible in the Mackay area.

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Idaho anglers may get another chance to fish for spring chinook.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet via conference call Friday to consider reopening fishing seasons on the lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Clearwater rivers, as well as opening seasons for summer chinook on the upper Salmon and South Fork of the Salmon rivers.

Seasons on the Clearwater, lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers were closed Wednesday because of dismally low counts of adult chinook at Bonneville Dam. When fisheries managers from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game made the call to end fishing, the latest data told them the run was so low that there was a risk hatcheries on the Clearwater River might not get enough fish back to accommodate full production later this year, and that anglers on the lower Salmon River might harm protected wild salmon.

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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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