Speak Up to Protect Idaho's Backcountry Forests

4.27.2007
The Forest Service is accepting comments on Idaho Roadless Areas. Idaho has more than 9.3 million acres of unprotected backcountry National Forests, more than any state in the lower-48.

In 2006, then-Governor Risch asked the Forest Service to protect 8.8 million acres of Idaho’s backcountry roadless areas. His proposal would open over 525,000 acres to mining, logging, and roadbuilding. Most of these so-called “General Forest” areas are located on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

Main Points
  • The comment period should be extended, and public meetings should be held at this stage.
  • The analysis must evaluate the potential impact to the 525,000 acres designated as “General Forest.”
  • No roads should be constructed in these areas for commercial purposes.
What You Can Do
Use your own words to discuss these main points in a letter to the Forest Service. To make sure your voice is heard, you must comment by May 10, 2007.

Additional Points
  • Talk about specific roadless areas that are special to you.
  • Discuss how Idaho's best fishing and hunting opportunities are located in roadless areas.
  • Mention that Idaho's forests already have over 34,000 miles of road and a $660 million backlog of needed maintenance.
  • Ask that all roadless areas be protected from mining.
Use our form on our website to send your comments right away, or:

Email your comments to: IDcomments@fsroadless.org

Mail to:
Roadless Area Conservation – Idaho
PO Box 162909
Sacramento, CA 95816-2909

Fax to: 916.456.6724

For More Info
Go to www.wildidaho.org/update.php to download the Forest Service notice, Risch Petition, maps and other files.

Latest Roadless Area Update Courtesy Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League

General Hot Springs Warnings

4.25.2007
Serious injury and even death can and have occurred at hot springs. The most common dangers/warnings are listed below:
  • Alcohol consumption and dehydration in hot springs - drinking and soaking gets you wasted fast because hot springs dehydrate the body. Many have drown or fallen off a ledge while hiking due to mixing alcohol and hot springs together.
  • Soaking in the sun without replenishment - sun and hot springs can sap the juice right out of your body quickly; keep water, electrolyte drinks, sunscreen and sun protection handy.
  • Avoid visiting popular hot springs at the most popular times - I've heard horror story after horror story about how a newbie visited a popular hot springs on a Saturday afternoon and had a terrible time. Same goes for popular hot springs on weekend evenings. Fights, vehicle break-ins, vandalism and overcrowded pools are not just something people in Oregon and Washington have to worry about. Unfortunately, it happens all too often in Idaho too.
  • Acanthamoeba - an amoeba that is known to inhabit some hot springs which can enter the brain through nasal passages and cause meningitis. This is another reason to keep your head above water while soaking. Usually, hot springs with acanthamoeba are signed.
  • Snakes - this is generally not a concern, but a few hot springs feature nearby thermal vents that provide year-round habitat for snakes. If you leave them alone - they'll leave you alone.
  • Hunters - hunters like hot springs so much that they often (and illegally mind you) build tree-perches so that they can shoot deer and elk that graze on hot springs algae. Their illegal kills and hasty clean-ups can lead to animal parasites entering the water complex and any people that soak in it along with attracting scavengers. While I've encountered respectable hunters in Idaho, the bulk majority have discouraged me greatly. I've seen drunk hunters shooting out their truck window while barley being able to drive, coke-head hunting parties and idiot hunters so paranoid of the woods and bears that they randomly shoot off their guns throughout the night.
  • Adult Situations - that's right, unfortunately. For some reason, people think that popular hot springs are a good place to get their freak-on. Not such a great idea. And really, how would it feel to get busted by little Johnny or Suzy with their family in tow, or a dozen drunk hunters? Think about it.
  • Spring Runoff - even small creeks and rivers experience large undertows during spring runoff. Don't try to cross anything fast moving until spring runoff is over, which is usually around late June to early July depending on elevation. See Research Seasonal Barriers for more information.
  • Pets - soaking with Fido can be an enjoyable experience, but the majority of hot springs are NOT dog safe for a variety of reasons.
Related Links:

Hot Springs Etiquette from the Scenic Hot Springs Blog
Guide to Backcountry Hot Springs
Guide to Roadside Hot Springs

Little Anderson Hot Spring Video Clip

4.20.2007

National Park Clean-Up

4.19.2007
I hope you'll join me in taking action to protect our National Parks. It's quick - and easy.

Click Here

Pollution from power plants is spoiling views in some of our greatest national parks. Can you believe that these beloved national park sites are among hundreds in EPA-designated "poor air quality" areas?

* Grand Canyon National Park
* Yosemite National Park
* Acadia National Park
* The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial

Send an e-postcard to Congress asking them to clean up the air in our national parks

The e-postcard is from the National Parks Conservation Association.

It's easy. It only takes a minute. And the e-postcard is pretty great. If enough people send the message, Congress will hear us--and our kids will be able to enjoy clean air in our national parks.

Click here to send the e-postcard

Peace Out, HSG

Bear Valley Gallery Upgrade

4.17.2007

Little Anderson is Still a Little Gross

Little Anderson Hot Spring in Idaho



Almost a decade ago Little Anderson hot spring was once hailed by hot springers as a stellar soak. The hot springs pool and surrounding area was kept clean by the locals, and even at one time had a multi-year caretaker from New Zealand. As of Y2K, this hot spring suffers an entirely different fate. ATVs of all types have shredded the area, the evidence is unfortunately very evident and visible everywhere. Hunters and anglers have left trash and animal remains all over the primitive sites. And the hot springs... is in even worse condition.



The cinder blocks that once lined the pool have long-sunk into the ground, which has allowed the pool to spread out. The source-fed pool bottom features a healthy mix of algae, silt, trash and some sand.

Seasonal Notes
Be wary of the mud and rock slides that are a common occurrence along the Banks-Lowman Highway. The dirt road to Little Anderson off the Banks-Lowman Highway is not maintained and often impassible during the winter season.


Camping Notes
Plenty of Boise National Forest camping nearby, no sites next to the hot springs.

Briefings

04.08.07
I had my fingers crossed. It didn't work though, shoot! After 5 years I had hoped Little Anderson Hot Spring was in better shape. I was wrong. More trash, ATV damage everywhere and the hot spring pool and surrounding area was even more trashed. Someone cut down a tree and threw it into the pool along with a bunch of other garbage. Poor Little Anderson. I would need a week out here with a few more sets of hands just to pick up all of the trash, for starters. Once upon a time (see 04.17.03 update), LA was clean and clear. Not so anymore. If you are in the area, drop by, fill up a couple bags - we'll eventually get all of that crap out of there!
Rating D-



View the 04.08.07 Little Anderson Hot Spring Video Clip

View the complete listing for Little Anderson Hot Spring in Idaho

Boise Idaho Julia Davis Park Concert for Climate this Saturday

4.14.2007
Boise, ID
April 14, 2007 11:00AM to 04:00PM

Please come out for a day of fun, good music, and to express our deep concerns for our community and our planet! Mayor Bieter and Rep. Les Bock will be there to address the crowd! The bands playing for free will be Steve Eaton, Stella, Farmdog, The Hoochie Coochie Men and Underscore. The Boise Concert for Climate Action will be at the Band Shell at Julia Davis Park - and we will ALL be asking Congress - AND OUR LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS - to STEP IT UP and reduce carbon by 80% by 2050. Walk, bike, carpool or bus to the park with a blanket and a picnic lunch. PLEASE JOIN US AND SUPPORT THIS GREAT CAUSE!

Location: 11am to 4pm - Julia Davis Park

For Wolves

4.12.2007

The wolves have finally come home to the Rockies. I would like to see them reclaim their historical homes to the full extent, and not be hunted to the verge of extinction - again. I've been lucky enough to witness these beautiful creatures while backpacking in Idaho's rugged, untouched wilderness, and couldn't imagine the backcountry without them.

As someone who cares about wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies, I am very concerned with the Bush Administration's proposal to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Idaho and Wyoming.

As a natural part of a healthy ecosystem, it is inconceivable to not protect their return. Wolves are important apex predators who help maintain balance in the ecosystems of which they are an integral part. I'm ashamed of Idaho's political stance of hunting the wolves to near extinction, and for less than $10 bucks per wolf at that. Is that all these magnificent creatures are worth?

I want wolves around for future outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy, and because they are a natural part of a healthy ecosystem. Wolves once thrived in much of the lower 48 states; today they hang on at only 5 percent of their former numbers. Since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone and the central Idaho wilderness in 1995, they have helped plant and animal systems come back into balance. Willows and aspen now grow, beavers and riparian bird species thrive, coyotes and bears benefit from food sources provided by wolves.

Please join me in protecting the environment by protecting wolves, you will be working towards preserving their role in a once vital and healty ecosystem.

Take Action for Rocky Mountian Grey Wolves!

Step 1. Click here to tell the Bush Administration to Protect Grey Wolves!

Step 2. Please send your comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before May 9th, 2007. Politely urge them not to remove wolves from the endangered species list in the Northern Rocky Mountain States. [Here are some excellent points to cover]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wolf Delisting
585 Shepard Way
Helena, MT 59601
Email: NRMGrayWolf@fws.gov

Defenders of Wildlife Form

Thank you for standing up for wolves!


Wolf Resources Online:

Juntura Hot Springs in Southeast Oregon

4.10.2007


Juntura Hot Springs, located in the high desert of southeast Oregon features a large and deep rock-walled pool with a semi-soft sand and rock bottom along with light amounts of algae - the 2 benches have finally been removed from the pool after being torn down and utilized in the pool. The concrete slab adjoining the large pool remains along with a memorial marker for a young man that died at the hot springs (more).


The road off the highway could turn into muck-pots during rain and deteriorates the closer you get to the HS (4x4 recommended most times of year). During winter; once you turn off hwy 20 the road is pretty much snow and ice covered - don't even attempt without 4x4 and chains. The Malheur River is impassible during most of runoff.


04.03.07 - 04.04.07 and 04.07.07

Juntura was a rare high-desert treat, as usual. The ford was barley manageable - on the 3rd Beulah Reservoir was let-out, thus beginning high-desert spring runoff. I would imagine within a week or two the water will be moving too swift for a safe ford. On the 3rd the river was about 3 feet deep, on the 4th close to 3.25 feet and on the 7th above 3.5 feet.

The soaking was great, although approximately 2 feet of depth in the pool was lost due to someone dumping a bunch of sand into the pool. The result - no change in bottom softness, if that was the intended goal. Thousands of tiny bits of trash litter the hot springs, primitive site and surrounding area. New are 2 illegal fire pits, both are next to the pool and river - all fire pits have to be 200 feet from any water source! Beer trash everywhere and plenty of traffic in and out of the hot springs.

Rating: A-

View the complete listing for Juntura Hot Springs in Oregon

Sweet Southeast Oregon Soak

4.09.2007
Juntura Hot Springs Video (04.03.07)




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