Squaw Butte 2018 Pack Clinic.PDF

 The Center for Western Priorities released a new report, 290 Million Reasons to Invest in America’s Public Lands, estimating that U.S. public lands in Western states see more than 290 million visits each year.

The report represents a first-of-its-kind analysis of total annual visitation to U.S. public lands in 11 Western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Visitation to all types of public lands and waters administered by the four U.S. land management agencies — National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service — were considered in the report.

 

“We knew public lands are popular, but we were surprised to learn just how deep America’s love for our public lands runs,” said Lucy Livesay, Policy and Communications Manager at the Center for Western Priorities, who led the research. “To put it in context, 290 million visits is equivalent to nearly 90 percent of the entire population of the United States. It’s more than the amount of people who visited zoos and aquariums, watched the Super Bowl, or attended every NFL, NBA and MLB game combined last season. In a country with so many recreation, leisure, and entertainment options, our public lands take a backseat to none.”

According to the report, the popularity of public lands continues to grow. National park visits in the 11 Western states jumped from 81 million in 2006 to more than 108 million in 2017. National monument visits have nearly tripled since 2000.

The popularity of national public lands is a significant factor in their local economic impact, according to the report. A recent study by the Outdoor Industry Association found the outdoor industry contributes $887 billion in consumer spending to the national economy and supports 7.6 million jobs across the country. The positive economic impact of public lands is especially outsized in Western states.

Despite the enormous and growing popularity of U.S. public lands across the West, they are being funded and protected less by President Trump and his administration.

According to the analysis, funding for all federal land management agencies as a percentage of the annual discretionary budget has declined since 2000. President Trump’s 2019 budget proposes a 16 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Interior. At the same time the Trump administration has undertaken an unprecedented attack on public lands by eliminating more than 2 million acres of national monuments in southern Utah, an action facing multiple legal challenges.

“The way we fund and protect our public lands should reflect the high regard Americans hold them in and the value they return to our local economies and way of life in the West,” said Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director at the Center for Western Priorities. “That’s not the case today under the Trump administration and this report shows 290 million reasons why our policies and priorities need to change.”

19. March 2018 · Comments Off on Forest Service Announces 15 Trail Priority Areas · Categories: Current Events, Public Lands

Subject: Forest Service Announces 15 Trail Priority Areas

Did you know the Forest Service has designated 15 Trail Priority Areas as required under the National Forest System Trail Stewardship Act of 2016? You can read the announcement below. These trail priority areas should receive additional agency focus and be learning laboratories for involving partners and volunteers in trail maintenance. You can learn more about the National Forest Trails Stewardship Act on our website by clicking this link.

NWSA will help stewardship groups meet this challenge through our National Forest Trails Stewardship Funding. Check out the Trail Funding application and other program information on our website at http://www.wildernessalliance.org/trail_funding. Here you will find the application materials, Fact Sheets, and other information to help your organization put a project proposal together.

USDA Secretary announces infrastructure improvements for forest system trails Focused work will help agency reduce a maintenance backlog and make trails safer for users.

WASHINGTON, FEB 16, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the selection of 15 priority areas to help address the more than $300 million trail maintenance backlog on national forests and grasslands.
Focused trail work in these areas, bolstered by partners and volunteers, is expected to help address needed infrastructure work so that trails managed by USDA Forest Service can be accessed and safely enjoyed by a wide variety of trails enthusiasts. About 25 percent of agency trails fit those standards while the condition of other trails lag behind.

“Our nation’s trails are a vital part of the American landscape and rural economies, and these priority areas are a major first step in USDA’s on-the-ground responsibility to make trails better and safer,” Secretary Perdue said. “The trail maintenance backlog was years in the making with a combination of factors contributing to the problem, including an outdated funding mechanism that routinely borrows money from programs, such as trails, to combat ongoing wildfires.
“This borrowing from within the agency interferes with other vital work, including ensuring that our more than 158,000 miles of well-loved trails provide access to public lands, do not harm natural resources, and, most importantly, provide safe passage for our users.”
This year the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act which established America’s system of national scenic, historic, and recreation trails. A year focused on trails presents a pivotal opportunity for the Forest Service and partners to lead a shift toward a system of sustainable trails that are maintained through even broader shared stewardship.

The priority areas focus on trails that meet the requirements of the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act of 2016, which calls for the designation of up to 15 high priority areas where a lack of maintenance has led to reduced access to public land; increased risk of harm to natural resources; public safety hazards; impassable trails; or increased future trail maintenance costs. The act also requires the Forest Service to “significantly increase the role of volunteers and partners in trail maintenance” and to aim to double trail maintenance accomplished by volunteers and partners.
Shared stewardship to achieve on-the-ground results has long been core to Forest Service’s approach to trail maintenance, as demonstrated by partner groups such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

“Our communities, volunteers and partners know that trails play an important role in the health of local economies and of millions of people nationwide, which means the enormity of our trail maintenance backlog must be adequately addressed now,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “The agency has a commitment to be a good neighbor, recognizing that people and communities rely on these trails to connect with each other and with nature.”
Each year, more than 84 million people get outside to explore, exercise and play on trails across national forests and grasslands and visits to these places help to generate 143,000 jobs annually through the recreation economy and more than $9 million in visitor spending.
The 15 national trail maintenance priority areas encompass large areas of land and each have committed partners to help get the work accomplished. The areas are:

Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and Adjacent Lands, Montana: The area includes the Bob Marshall, Scapegoat, and Great Bear Wilderness Areas and most of the Hungry Horse, Glacier View, and Swan Lake Ranger Districts on the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana on both sides of the Continental Divide. There are more than 3,200 miles of trails within the area, including about 1,700 wilderness miles.

Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington: Methow Valley is a rural recreation-based community surrounded by more than 1.3 million acres of managed by the Forest Service. The area includes trails through the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Areas and more than 130 miles of National Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails.

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Eagle Cap Wilderness, Idaho and Oregon: This area includes more than 1,200 miles of trail and the deepest river canyon in North America as well as the remote alpine terrain of the Seven Devil’s mountain range. The area also has 350,000 acres in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, the largest in Oregon.

Central Idaho Wilderness Complex, Idaho and Montana: The area includes about 9,600 miles of trails through the Frank Church River of No Return; Gospel Hump; most of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas; portions of the Payette, Salmon-Challis, Nez Perce and Clearwater national forests; and most of the surrounding lands. The trails inside and outside of wilderness form a network of routes that give access into some of the most remote country in the Lower 48.

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico: The trail’s 3,100 continuous miles follows the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Mexico to Canada, including more than 1,900 miles of trails across 20 national forests. The trail runs a diverse route with some sections in designated wilderness areas and others running through towns, providing those communities with the opportunity to boost the local economy with tourism dollars.

Wyoming Forest Gateway Communities: Nearly 1,000 miles of trail stretch across the almost 10 million acres of agency-managed lands in Wyoming, which include six national forests and one national grassland. The contribution to the state’s outdoor recreation economy is therefore extremely important in the state.

Northern California Wilderness, Marble Mountain and Trinity Alps: There are more than 700 miles of trails through these wilderness areas, which are characterized by very steep mountain terrain in fire-dependent ecosystems that are subject to heavy winter rainfall and/or snow. As such, they are subject to threat from flooding, washout, landslide and other erosion type events which, combined with wildfires, wash out trails and obstruct passage.

Angeles National Forest, California: The area, which includes nearly 1,000 miles of trails, is immediately adjacent to the greater Los Angeles area where 15 million people livewithin 90 minutes and more than 3 million visit. Many of those visitors are young people from disadvantaged communities without local parks.

Greater Prescott Trail System, Arizona: This 300-mile system of trails is a demonstration of work between the Forest Service and multiple partners. The system is integrated with all public lands at the federal, state and local level to generate a community-based trail system.

Sedona Red Rock Ranger District Trail System, Coconino National Forest, Arizona: About 400 miles of trail provide a wide diversity of experiences with year-round trail opportunities, including world-class mountain biking in cooler months and streamside hiking in the heat of the summer.

Colorado Fourteeners: Each year, hundreds of thousands of hikers trek along over 200 miles of trail to access Colorado’s mountains that are higher than 14,000 feet. The Forest Service manages 48 of the 54 fourteeners, as they are commonly called.

Superior National Forest, Minnesota: The more than 2,300 miles of trail on this forest have faced many catastrophic events, including large fires and a major wind storm downed millions of trees in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 1999. A similar storm in 2016 reached winds up to 85 mph and toppled trees on several thousand acres and made the western 13 miles of Kekekabic Trail impassible.

White Mountain National Forest Partner Complex, Maine and New Hampshire: Approximately 600 miles of non-motorized trails are maintained by partners. Another 600 miles of motorized snowmobile trails are adopted and maintained by several clubs. Much of that work centers on providing safe public access to the mountain and valleys of New Hampshire and Maine.

Southern Appalachians Capacity Enhancement Model, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia: The more than 6,300 miles of trails in this sub region include some of the most heavily used trails in the country yet only 28 percent meet or exceed agency standards. The work required to bring these trails to standard will require every tool available from partner and volunteer skills to contracts with professional trail builders.

Iditarod National Historic Trail Southern Trek, Alaska: In southcentral Alaska, the Southern Trek is in close proximity to more than half the state’s population and connects with one of the most heavily traveled highways in the state. The Chugach National Forest and partners are restoring and developing more than 180 miles of the trail system, connecting the communities of Seward, Moose Pass, Whittier, and Girdwood.

For more information about the USDA Forest Service visit http://www.fs.fed.us/.

19. March 2018 · Comments Off on Fun Ride – Wilson Creek Trail Head · Categories: Fun Rides

On March 18, 2018 eighteen members and guest of Squaw Butte met at the BLM parking lot of the Wilson Creek Trail head. The area had been in a winter storm warning only 48 hours before but the forecast hinted at a few hours of blue skies and light breezes. It didn’t take long for stock to be saddled and warm hats to be found and the first of three group started up the trail. A loop was planned that went up the Wilson creek trail, then turned east and crossed the road and worked its way back to the trail head following a series of gullies and 4-wheeler roads.When all were back at the trailers after a nice four hour ride, finger food was shared and stories told. See more Pictures  See Video

14. March 2018 · Comments Off on USFS Saw Policy Program Manager Region 1&4 (update) · Categories: BCHI /BCHA, Education

BCHI Members,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to join you, the State Board of Directors and also members of BCHI at your annual state convention! It was great to meet you all and learn more about the great work the chapters are doing throughout Idaho, as well as share information and answer questions about the Forest Service’s saw policy.

I’m always amazed at the dedication and amount of volunteer and partner work that BCH members give – you are all very much appreciated not only for the time and talent you give, but also for your passion for public lands. Thank you!

Here’s some additional follow-up items for everyone:

• The first is a letter from our Regional Forester here in R1 announcing our new Northern Region Wilderness Skills Institute, that will be occurring in Powell, ID the week of May 21-25; additional information is also in this email if folks scroll below. If folks have an interest, I would recommend signing up soon, per the highlighted link below, as I anticipate the sessions will fill up fast.

• The name of the R4 Saw Program Manager is Brian Burbridge and he can be reached at phone: 801-531-5320 or bburbridge@fs.fed.us. I would recommend that local chapters first contact the primary ranger district staff that they work with to see about saw training opportunities locally; if none are available, the district staff can work with/contact Brian to see about setting something up or seeing where trainings are being offered that folks can attend.

• The R1 Saw Program Manager is Todd Wilson. He is working with local ranger districts directly to set up saw trainings so I would recommend that chapters on the Idaho Panhandle and Nez Perce Clearwater NFs work directly with their local unit contacts first or with BCH volunteer sawyers Jerry Lange and Joe Robinson re: setting something up.

o R1 (Northern Region) covers the Idaho Panhandle NF and the Nez Perce Clearwater NF

o R4 (Intermountain Region) covers the Payette, Boise, Salmon Challis, Sawtooth, and Caribou Targee NFs

o It’s important to note that BCH volunteer C level instructor or evaluator sawyers need to coordinate with local FS units to set up cutting areas for training; volunteer sawyers also need a letter of designation from the Regional Saw Program Manager in order to instruct/evaluate. The FS (either FS line officer, Regional Saw Program Manager, or delegated forest/district saw program coordinator) is the “certifying official” who signs the saw card, based on recommendations from the saw evaluators.

• Conservation United (www.conservationinsurance.com or phone (844-559-8336) is the company that, as of a year ago, sounded like they also offered insurance (workers compensation) coverage for volunteer and partner groups using volunteers. They provide insurance coverage for many youth corps groups around the country, including youth corps using veterans engaged in hazardous fuels reduction (i.e., chain saw) work, and they had indicated to me that they also can provide insurance for volunteers. Not sure current status/current policies they offer but folks might want to visit with them to see what they currently offer.

Hope this is helpful for folks. Again, really appreciated being able to share some information on the saw policy and spend some time together. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Informal Letter 1 Signature          Saw Policy Key Points – Volunteers and Partners

14. March 2018 · Comments Off on Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute · Categories: Education

Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute

Apply to attend the 2018 Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute!

Where: Powell Ranger Station, Powell, Idaho

When: May 21, 2018 – May 25, 2018

What: A skills building opportunity for wilderness field staff.

How: Select a Track (1, 2, 3, 4 or 5) and a lodging option below and click on the Apply Now button to be taken to registration.

Deadline: The application period will close April 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time.

Questions: Contact Jimmy Gaudry or Heather MacSlarrow with questions.

APPLY NOW

The Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute is for agency staff and partner organizations that work in wilderness.  This week long course offers five levels of training, with plenty of time for networking and growing community in between.

Tracks

The Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute offers 5 tracks, based on your level of experience and the skills you would like to gain.  Due to limited capacity, not every applicant may be able to attend their first choice Track.  Therefore, during the application process, you will identify your top two choices for which Track you would like to be in.  PLEASE NOTE the required pre-requisites for each track, and be prepared to furnish the appropriate documents and certifications when asked.  Information about each Track is as follows:

TRACK ONE:  Advanced Crosscut Saw and Axemanship; and Crosscut Saw and Axe Train the Trainer Course

PRE-REQUISITE: Letter of recommendation from line officer (agency staff) or direct supervisor (partner organizations).

Participants will learn policy, vernacular, OSHA requirements, delegations and designations as well as other requirements for navigating saw policy.  They will also learn about the new curriculum, new teaching aids, new methodologies and processes for saw training (1/2 day).  There will then be a field focus on axemanship, complex and precision falling, OHLEC, complex bucking, removing hung trees (with and without rigging) and following the new education methodology (1.5 days).  The newly certified educators will the put on a class for new sawyers (2 days).

TRACK TWO: Crosscut Saw B Bucking and First Aid/CPR

PRE-REQUISITE: None.

This session is focused on gaining the qualifications needed to be a crosscut saw B bucker.  Participants will also learn basic wilderness stewardship principles, leave no trace, horsemanship, and trail maintenance techniques.

The first aid/cpr session will provide participants with basic first aid and CPR skills required to work with a crosscut saw. 

The A/B Crosscut Certification Course provides students with both classroom-based instruction and field experience in the use of the crosscut saws and axes. Students will learn how to safely utilize these tools in a trail maintenance capacity. The course will cover tool history, best practices in the field, one-on-one instruction in tool use in the field, tool care, safety, and transportation of the tools. Successful completion of this course is required to use these tools on national forest lands while participating in stewardship efforts.

Participants will also learn/review basic wilderness stewardship principles, leave no trace, horsemanship, and trail maintenance techniques. 

This is a field based course so come with appropriate outdoor gear and a sack lunch both days.  If you have a favorite set of tools please bring those as well.

TRACK THREE: Crosscut Saw B Bucking and Basic Trail Maintenance

PRE-REQUISITE: First Aid/CPR Card.

This session is focused on gaining the qualifications needed to be a crosscut saw B bucker.  Participants will also learn basic wilderness stewardship principles, leave no trace, horsemanship, and trail maintenance techniques.

The basic trail maintenance session will provide…

The A/B Crosscut Certification Course provides students with both classroom-based instruction and field experience in the use of the crosscut saws and axes. Students will learn how to safely utilize these tools in a trail maintenance capacity. The course will cover tool history, best practices in the field, one-on-one instruction in tool use in the field, tool care, safety, and transportation of the tools. Successful completion of this course is required to use these tools on national forest lands while participating in stewardship efforts.

Participants will also learn/review basic wilderness stewardship principles, leave no trace, horsemanship, and trail maintenance techniques. 

This is a field based course so come with appropriate outdoor gear and a sack lunch both days.  If you have a favorite set of tools please bring those as well. 

TRACK FOUR: Beginner/Intermediate Wilderness Stewardship

PRE-REQUISITE: None.

This session will focus on the skills needed to be a wilderness ranger.  It will provide learning and engagement opportunities for a beginner to intermediate participants.  This session will include fundamentals related to the wilderness act and wilderness character monitoring.  Basic wilderness stewardship principles, roles of the wilderness ranger, making public contacts, backpacking skills, leave no trace, horsemanship, and trail maintenance techniques will also be a part of the session. 

TRACK FIVE:  Intermediate/Advanced Wilderness Stewardship

PRE-REQUISITE: None.

This session will focus on the skills needed to be a wilderness ranger.  It will provide learning opportunities for the intermediate/advanced participants.  A deeper dive into wilderness policy and law, wilderness stewardship performance, and wilderness character monitoring will be included.  It will also allow participants to take on thought provoking topics related to emerging issues, volunteer project management, and minimum requirements decision guides.  Since this is a more advanced session the participants may be asked to lead a session or discussion. 

Lodging

There are two types of lodging available – tent camping (nestled amongst the pines and under the stars on the banks of the Wild and Scenic Lochsa River), or indoor bunkhouse style lodging.  There are a limited number of indoor spaces.  Please state your preference when submitting your application, and tell us about any special accomodations you may need.

Food

Food is not provided.  It will be up to each participant or participant group to furnish their own food.  There is limited indoor cooking space, as well as outside areas suitable for camp stoves, grills, and fires.

What to Bring, How to Get There, and More Information

An informational packet will be mailed to all participants at least two weeks prior to the start of the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute that lines out what to bring, how to get to training, and more important information.

Timeline

Application Period: March 9, 2018 – April 9, 2018

Application Review: April 9, 2018 – April 22, 2018

Applicant Notification: April 23, 2018

Informational Packet E-Mailed to Participants: May 7, 2018

Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute: May 21, 2018 – May 25, 2018

APPLY NOW

===========================================

Subject: Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute – Applications Due by April 9

Please share with employees and partners.  See link for more information.

The Northern Region will host the Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute (NRWSI) in cooperation with partners from across the Region. The dates for the NRWSI will be May 21 – 25, and it will be held at the historic Powell Ranger Station in Powell, Idaho.

This training is open to all Forest Service employees and partners. There may be a need to limit the number of participants in each session. Applying early is highly encouraged.

Applications may be submitted until April 9, 2018. A description of the sessions are offered along with application information can be found at Northern Rockies Wilderness Skills Institute.

For information concerning the NRWSI, contact Jimmy Gaudry at jcgaudry@fs.fed.us, Kent Wellner at kwellner@fs.fed.us, or Joni Packard at jpackard@fs.fed.us.

11. March 2018 · Comments Off on 2018 BCHI Spring Convention – Clarkston, WA · Categories: BCHI /BCHA

The 2018 BCHI Spring Board Meeting & Convention was hosted by the “Twin Rivers” chapter in Clarkston, WA.( Clarkston is a city in Asotin County, Washington, United States. It is part of the Lewiston metropolitan area, and is located west of Lewiston, Idaho, across the Snake River. The population of Clarkston was 7,229 in 2010 census.) The Board Meeting was held on Friday March 9th and was attended by members, Bill & Marybeth Conger, Phil & Kay Ryan, Lynn & Peggy Garner.  Bill Holt attended the BCHI Foundation meeting during the same time.

Rob Adams arrived around 16:30 just at the meeting was breaking up and joined the group with the addition of Christ Holt for happy hour. During the social hour members from the various chapter swapped stories and planned where to get dinner.

Starting sharply at 08:00 Saturday morning, Bill Conger graveled the convention to order and issues talked about at the board meeting were voted on. A guest speaker from district one of the USFS talked about progress being made on the national sawyer program and how both district one and four were doing implementing it. Jeff Halligran from the “Idaho Trails Association” talked about his organization, requested help with packing support, and gave an interesting presentation on cross cut saws.

Lunch was served and the afternoon was spent in various training sessions, and group discussions. While all this was going on, BCHI members were checking out the auction items.  After a great dinner of either prime rib or seasoned chicken breast, the winners of the chapter displays and photo contests were announced.

Squaw Butte was awarded second place in the chapter displays (see other displays) and took top honors in the photo contest.

Laurie Bryan took both first and second prizes for her photo’s of Janelle Weeks & Shelly Duff. David Benson’s mule picture took a first place in the animal division and Rob Adams picture of Payette sticking his tongue out won third prize.
The auction followed, with lively bidding that was somewhat hampered by the high noise level in the room. Some great items were taken home by members and the coffers of the foundation were expanded.

08. March 2018 · Comments Off on USFS Woman – A PBS New Hour Report · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

They reported sexual harassment. Then the retaliation began

 

Michaela Myers said she was first groped by her supervisor after a crew pizza party last summer, shortly after starting a new job as a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service. She was 22 and excited about the job. She had worked out diligently to prepare for the season, running and hiking with a heavy pack. She is from the Pacific Northwest, and had always loved the outdoors and a challenge.

She remembers her supervisor, Drew DeLozier, a Forest Service veteran, offering her beers at a crew member’s house after dinner. He told her he was glad she was on the crew because she was “sexy” and had “a nice ass,” she said. According to her account, he led her to a couch, rubbed her butt as she sat down, and slid his hand between her legs. Myers was shocked and upset, but didn’t stop him. She had heard from other crew members that DeLozier could fly off the handle, and didn’t want to make a scene.

“You don’t feel like you can say ‘no’ loudly to your supervisor,” she said. “I keep looking back on it and wishing I could have just punched him or something.”According to Myers, the harassment and groping continued for the rest of the summer. When she confided in a fellow crew member, he told her this was an unfortunate reality for a female firefighter. She had a choice, she recalls him saying: report it and face retaliation, or do nothing and stay in fire.

But in September, after the end of her three-month season in Oregon, Myers had enough. She reported the harassment to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Forest Service’s parent agency. In October, she provided a sworn statement to a USDA investigator detailing all the allegations. At first, Myers found the Human Resource department’s response encouraging. She was optimistic action would be taken. But two months later, the Forest Service sent her a letter that said the investigation was complete, no misconduct had been found, and the case was closed.

Myers was furious.

“This means they don’t believe me that I was sexually harassed,” she said. “Or they don’t care.”

When reached by phone, DeLozier, who still works for the Forest Service, said he was made aware of the allegations. “I was cleared of all wrongdoing,” he said.‘We all live in this fear’
Harassment of women in the Forest Service has been a problem for years. As far back as 1972, women have joined together to file class action complaints and lawsuits about gender discrimination and sexual harassment. More recently, in 2016, a congressional hearing was held to address the problem within the Forest Service’s California workforce, which had also been the focus of previous complaints. The PBS NewsHour investigated what’s happened since then, and found the problem goes much deeper. READ MORE

06. March 2018 · Comments Off on 2018 Idaho Sportsman Show · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

Guides, outfitters, Public land agencies, non-profits and sportsmen of all stripes converge here for a gear-filled good time. With tips on fishing, hunting, elk calling, and more, there’s plenty to do for those who chase the call of the wild. There’s even stuff for the kids with an archery shoot, live trout pond, and other fun things to hunt out.

For the four days of the Idaho Sportsman show, members from three BCHI Chapters and members of the Idaho Trail Association manned a booth on the east end of row “D” next to the US Forest Service Booth at Expo Idaho (fair grounds). These trail ambassadors handed out information about volunteer trail work and their organizations and talked to many of the shows visitors.

It was also a good time to hang out with other chapter members and talk about the upcoming year.   Members of BCHI who participated: Janelle Weeks, Lisa Krogh, Jim & Bonnie Fox, Gary & Ann Hale, Dan Pryse, Lynn & Peggy Garver, Carmen Tyack, Bill and Marybeth Conger, Nancy Smith, Shannon Schantz, Gary Towle, Donnie & Erin Thornugh, Paul & Jill George, David Benson, Phil & Kay Ryan, Joe Williams, Janine Townsend, Bill Holt, Dick Peterson and Rob Adams.  Bryan DuFosse coordinated the ITA members who worked the booth.

06. March 2018 · Comments Off on Where the Wild Things Are – Trailmeister Feb 2018 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Fun Rides

Last August in Idaho a woman was attacked by a bear. For weeks afterward, local newspapers printed page upon page about the encounter, warning their readers that dangerous animals were prowling the countryside. What if you were planning a ride or a horse camping trip when you read about this attack? Would you stay home, take extra precautions, or venture elsewhere?

The great counterweight to the lure of the outdoors is the fear of the unknown. What if the weather turns for the worse? What if my horse acts up? What if I become lunch for a grizzly?

Here’s the hard truth. Most people spend entirely too much time and energy worrying about menacing—but low-chance threats like bears, cougars, and wolves, and not nearly enough thought concerning themselves with the dull and common dangers like bees, blisters, and hypothermia. To confirm this theory, take a quick test. How many times have you been mauled by a bear or a mountain lion? Now compare that figure with the number of times you’ve forgotten a piece of tack, dealt with an unruly horse, or encountered bees on a ride.One reason that riders and campers worry about the wrong things is largely the fault of the media, and writers like me. Adding the phrase “When Grizzlies Attack!” to a title sells more magazine copies, even if your chance of having a stand-off with a bear is much less than that of having a winning lotto ticket magically appear in your saddlebags.

I’m not suggesting that you ignore potential threats like bears, wolves, and cats, but to drop them a few rungs down the worry list. Obviously, if you’re riding or camping in an active bear area, take sensible precautions like making noise, bear-bagging your food, and avoiding huckleberry thickets. But don’t fixate so much on these critters that you spook at every rustle of the leaves, or even worse, fail to enjoy the ride and the trip. It all comes back to the most important outdoor skill anyone can practice: common sense.

Ignoring the hysteria can be hard to do and less than exciting. On rides with my wife, I’ve been guilty of pointing into the forest and reminding her that there are undoubtedly creatures watching us as they sulk in the darkness. For some reason, Celeste doesn’t seem to appreciate my wickedly keen sense of observation. Here are a few words to the wise. Firstly, don’t alarm your wife, husband, riding partner, or others with tall tales of the abundance of apex predators. Secondly, prioritize your outdoor concerns with the help of these two lists.

Pay More Attention to These…

  • Ensure that you and your animals are in shape and condition for trail riding. 610,000 people die each year from heart disease. When I get off and walk it’ because I need some exercise, not because I’m having a moment.
  • Desensitize your horse to scary situations you may encounter on the trail; such as hikers and bicycles, in a safe environment, such as an arena.
  • Wear a helmet. Using data from the National Trauma Databank between 2003 and 2012, researchers found that equestrian sports contributed to the highest percentage of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) for adults.
  • Keep bugs away by applying a DEET-based insect repellant. – According to the World Health Organization, in 2016 there were 94 deaths from the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus. And over 600,000 people die each year after being bitten by mosquitoes bearing the deadly malaria parasite.
  • Have an emergency plan in case a ride becomes “eventful.”
  • The non-human creatures that cause more American deaths than any other are bees and wasps. In a typical year, nearly 100 US deaths are caused by bee stings. This number is probably underestimated, as some bee sting deaths are erroneously attributed to heart attacks, sunstroke and other causes. FAST FACT – Though bees take the crown as America’s most lethal animal, they are not naturally aggressive creatures, and when they attack, they do so in defense against a perceived threat. The key to avoiding bee stings is to steer clear of hives and nests.

Worry Less About These…

  • Bears – Black and grizzly bears have been responsible for 48 fatalities over the past 20 years. Compare that to the 40,200 traffic deaths recorded in 2016 alone.
  • Wolves – These wild canids are much less lethal than man’s best “friends” which kill 30-40 people every year. Since 1900 wolves have been responsible for a total of 4 deaths in North America.
  • Mountain Lions / Cougars – There have been 25 cougar fatalities in the one hundred and twenty-seven years since records have been kept on the subject. Compare that to the 262 rodent spread hantavirus deaths since 1993.

Next month we’ll discuss preparing for your first backcountry horse camping trip. Until then visit www.TrailMeister.com for the largest and most comprehensive guide to horse trails, horse camps, and the tips and knowledge to enjoy them! In February, you’ll also find me teaching the tips and tricks of trail riding at clinics in Idaho and Tennessee. Check the website for details.