Stop Idaho from Killing Grey Wolves in the Clearwater National Forest

4.26.2006
Despite overwhelming opposition, Idaho has asked for federal permission to kill 75% of the wolf population in the state's Upper Clearwater Basin. Worse yet, they'll keep killing wolves for the next five years, likely with airborne marksmen in planes using radio collars on the wolves to track them down and kill these helpless animals.

This decision was made despite the fact that the public overwhelmingly opposed such actions. Out of approximately 42,000 comments submitted to the state - 41,600 were against Idaho's wolf killing plan (Source: Defenders of Wildlife).

The only thing holding the state back is that grey wolves are on the endangered species list, and as such, are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If not for the ESA, Idaho would have already started their widely opposed wolf killing program.

Idaho Wolf Misconception

Hunters think wolves are responsible for game loss. This is not true, game loss is a result of habitat loss. Hunters interested in thriving game populations need to elect politicians that have habitat-conservation agendas. Killing wolves that were just reintroduced is merely a temporary patch, and does not address the core problem of habitat loss. The wolf killing program also puts the reintroduction of wolves in the Northwest at risk as a whole, as Idaho is central to the regional effort.



Here's a copy of the letter I wrote in opposition of Idaho's wolf killing plans:

Please deny Idaho's request to kill wolves in the Lolo district of the Clearwater National Forest. Using aerial gunners to kill the wolves is inhumane, and is not an effective solution to game control.

Alaska has received an onslaught of criticism in regard to their highly controversial wolf control program by use of aerial gunners, which was even shut down at one point.

The grey wolf recovery efforts are important to wolf recovery across the Northwest, and as a resident of Idaho I urge you to combat the real threat to the state's game populations - habitat loss. Utilizing existing principles of Habitat-conservation planning can be used to help develop a sustainable solution that addresses the core problem of habitat loss.

The basic theory of Habitat-conservation planning is that plant and animal communities depend on a complex set of interconnecting systems, like humans depend on roadways and transit. Habitat-conservation planning provides additional benefits as well; communities unite to face problems that are independent of political boundaries, and city planners can utilize natural boundaries to aid in the planning of road and transit systems.

Please make the correct decision to not kill grey wolves, and focus on a sustainable solution that addresses the needs of not only Idaho's wildlife and land, but that of it's citizens as well.


Bonneville Hot Springs in Idaho Revisited

4.21.2006


What a trip! I feel a little sad that is has been 4 years since I've been back here to qualify for a soak. The campground is still closed and gated, but there was a sign posted on the gate stating that it would open on April 15th... hmmm today is the 20th. My best guess is that it will take the snow another couple weeks to melt, plus time for the forest service crews to come in and prep the grounds - so the campground should be open in May sometime.



It was a very scenic hike through the snow while basking in the warm glow of the sun. Spring is just beginning here. We passed a friendly guy on the hike to the hot springs. He opted to not soak, citing large amounts of silt as the reason. Our soaking party discovered quite the opposite. The soak shack, mega-pool and waterfall pool were all in great soaking condition. There was silt in the mega-pool, but there was also a good sized silt-free zone - optimal for soaking.



This is the best time of the year to visit Bonneville. Warmer months bring in a steady stream of campers, and by the end of the summer expect ORVs and other vehicle traffic to kick up enough dust to coat the inside of your tent or camping device. During the core of winter Bonneville sees a steady stream of Nordic and snowshoe recreational enthusiasts. It is only during this time of the year, while the snow is melting and the ground features a smattering of bare spots, can you soak in solitude and truly enjoy this hot springs haven.



We did just that.
Rating: A

Olympic Hot Springs in Washington Added!

4.07.2006


My first time in the Olympic National Park proved to be an excellent experience. The goal was to visit Olympic Hot Springs just after the 8 feet of snow melted and road barriers were pushed back, and before the continuous wave of geo-soakers hit the NP and hot springs for the warmer season. The timing of my soaking party's arrival couldn't have been any better.



As we hiked toward the hot springs through the lush and vibrant green forest we passed a group of 5 on their way out. They had spent a couple nights at the hot springs and had the whole place to themselves. The hike along the slightly elevated old, paved forest service road was fairly easy. The only problem is that the trail was washed out in 3 places. The first required a slight walk-around to a fallen tree and a dip-route through a huge broken stump. The 2nd had a semi-narrow earth bridge, and 3rd a single log bridge with handrail.



Snow only slightly came into play on the hike in. We encountered about a foot within the last quarter mile of the hot springs. At most, there was about 2 feet on the ground at the backpacker campsites, which are located just before the bridge that leads to the hot springs. The trail itself was worn enough for easy passage without the need for snowshoes, albeit a bit icy.



The hot springs, ahh yes... the hot springs. They were awesome. I tracked down 6 total pools, 4 soakable (the others too hot and goober laden). The water felt great, and having the whole place to ourselves was amazing. Full-qualification of all 4 pools could be had. It's muddy around the pools, and to combat this there are many mats nearby. Although, the mats are fairly gross after heavy use. Here's a tip: stand on a trash bag. When you're done (changing/soaking) put trash in the bag and haul it off utilitarian style.



There was a slight sulfur odor at each of the pools, along with some algae stemming from lack of use over the winter break. The water was near clear, and the pool temperatures ranged from 98º to 104º. On the hike back out we passed 17 soakers! Once back at the car 3 additional vehicles arrived while we ate a late lunch. Good timing indeed.



Boise, Idaho Earth Fest 2006 Community Event Information

4.06.2006
Boise, Idaho / Treasure Valley Earth Fest 2006 Information

Atlanta Gold Mine Community Forum
Thursday, April 13 at 7 pm
Student Union Building, Jordan B.
Boise State University, Boise
The dangers of using cyanide and other toxic chemicals to process ore from a proposed gold mine near Atlanta, Idaho will be spelled out at a community forum at Boise State University. Four speakers will reveal how the proposed mine near the headwaters of the Boise River could affect the valley's drinking water, wildlife, recreation and agriculture.

Energy Forum
Monday, April 17 at 7 pm
Crystal Ballroom, 2nd Floor
The Hoff Building, 802 W. Bannock Street, Boise

Forever Wild: Walkin Jim Stoltz and Musicians United to Sustain the Environment (M.U.S.E.)
FREE multi-media Concert
This lively show combines live music, stunning photographs, stories, and poetry celebrating our nation's wild lands and rivers. More than a concert, Forever Wild uses these diverse media to create a powerful and effective show that inspires and activates audiences.

Two shows:
Tuesday, April 18 at 7 pm
Boise Little Theatre, Boise
The show is FREE, but advance tickets are required. Pick up tickets at The Record Exchange (corner of 11th & Idaho Streets).

Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 pm
Albertson College, Caldwell
Free concert! No advance tickets are required.

Hammer Flat Wildlife Photography and Informational Tour
Saturday, April 22 at 10 am
Meet at the entrance to Sandy Point Beach (Hwy 21, near Mile Post 9, east of Boise)
North of the Boise River and east of town, a 700 acre plateau called Hammer Flat provides critical habitat for elk, antelope, eagle, and, in cold winters, as many as 3,000 deer. Currently a developer is planning a high density, 1,350 home, residential real estate development called The Cliffs, Idaho, that will effectively terminate the plateau's ability to provide habitat for wildlife.

This hike will provide an excellent chance to view the area in question, photograph resident deer, eagles, and other animals, and gain an appreciation of what will be lost if the real estate development is allowed to go forward as planned. For more information, contact tjones@Savetheplateau.org or call (208) 631-4334.

Earth Day Morning Service Projects
Saturday, April 22 in the morning
1. IDAHO CITY - Mores Creek Floodplain Restoration - US Forest Service - planting dogwoods on dredge tailings adjacent to Mores Creek
2. BOISE - Storm Drain Marking - Partners for Clean Water - apply markers to storm drains throughout the community
3. BOISE - Owyhee Park Spruce up - Boise Parks and Recreation - mulching trees, raking leaves, picking up trash, painting
4. BOISE/HIDDEN SPRINGS - Clean up of road and wetlands - National Wildlife Federation and Open Space Program of Hidden Springs
5. BOISE - Zoo Boise - Four projects with zoo keepers, includes conservation talk - spring cleaning of enrichment barn, spring cleaning of moose exhibit (moose will not be present), clean-up of butterfly exhibit, clean-up of animal transport enclosures
6. NAMPA - Litter's Not for Critters - Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge - picking up litter at Lake Lowell
7. BOISE - trash clean up of Military Reserve - Idaho Families for Clean Water (Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, Sierra Club)

Space is limited and registration is requierd. For more information and to register, call 345-6933. The first 400 volunteers will get a free t-shirt.

Earth Fest
Saturday, April 22 from 11 am to 4 pm
Julia Davis Park (by the train, behind Discovery Center of Idaho and the zoo)
Local food, activities for kids, educational booths, and entertainment.

Benefit Concert and Silent Auction
Saturday, April 22 from 8 pm to closing
109 S. 6th St., Boise
Cost is $5 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Idaho Environmental Educators Association.

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Spring Training for Backpackers & Hikers

It's about that time of the year again (sweet!), which means backpacking season is just about to begin.

Check out this great Spring Training guide from Backpacker.com!
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