IDAHO HORSE COUNCIL report Respectfully submitted by Marybeth Conger- IHC Director for BCHI – one of seven

After IHC President Dixie Christensen called meeting to order, roll call was taken and motions carried to approve the November 17,2018 minutes as amended and the special director meeting of December 27, 2018.

The following guests and IHC membership representatives were introduced and welcomed: Randi McCallan- AQHA, Ann Martin- 2019 IHC Organizational member SCGH, Rhonda Gundert (Kimberly Kvamme’s friend), DeEtte Lindberg- IHB Executive Director, Dan Tackett, and Sabina Amidon- 2019 IHC Individual Member.

1. Treasurer’s Report & Financial Summary presented.

Unfinished Business:

2. Hiring of Executive Director- A committee was formed. Director input on what an Executive Director should do for the IHC. Please respond to committee email requests. IHC has temporarily hired a temporary secretary.

3. Please welcome and congratulate Cheryl Keshian as the IHC 2019 2nd Vice President.

4. Janine Townsend discussed Horse Statue. Cost could be $2,500- $3,500. Sabrina Amidon has one for the IHC to borrow temporarily. Janine will handle getting this horse to the 2019 Expo.

5. DeEtte Lindberg, Idaho Horse Board Executive Director, gave update. Senator Patti Anne Lodge working to present draft bill to increase equine fees.

Read complete report

IHC January 26 2019 report for BCHI 2019-02-07 Meeting Minutes


Link to Video

READ FULL REPORT


Read Laurie Bryan’s Blog

17. January 2019 · Comments Off on When Government is closed! · Categories: Around The Campfire

17. January 2019 · Comments Off on Shoshone National Forest – Great Horse Country · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA, Public Lands

 

09. January 2019 · Comments Off on Payette National Forest Trail Status Map · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

PAYETTE TRAILS! Introducing the Payette National Forest Trail Status Map! This is a great map that allows you to see the current status of every trail on the Forest. Plan your next trip with this map. Click this link – its easy to remember! http:/bit.ly/PayetteTrails

04. January 2019 · Comments Off on Equine Trail Sports · Categories: Around The Campfire

Posted by Arlynn Hacker
Link to website

21. December 2018 · Comments Off on Back Country Horsemen of Washington – Videos · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA


Their are a number of excellent videos that are worth your time watching. LINK

20. December 2018 · Comments Off on SBFC – The Wildest Place – Fall 2018 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

Read Fall 2018 Newsletter

18. December 2018 · Comments Off on A People’s History of Wilderness · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

A People’s History of Wilderness Paperback – September 2004
by Matt Jenkins (Editor)

Published on the 40th anniversary of America’s most important public lands protection movement

·Highlights the citizen activists who made and continue to make wilderness real
·Features new and archival stories from High Country News

With the signing of the Wilderness Act by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964, the National Wilderness Preservation System was established to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. High Country News brings to life the people and events who shaped this unprecedented citizen’s movement. Drawn from the pages of this award-winning newspaper whose coverage has been solely focused on environmental and cultural issues affecting the American West for over three decades, A People’s History of Wilderness presents the competing philosophies, complexities, and passions, as they happened, that has resulted in the protection of over 104 million acres of wilderness.

This is an excellent compilation of articles, essays and editorials from the top magazine about the western United States, High Country News, specifically dealing with wilderness.

Major national environmental groups as well as local organizations all get their due, as well as insight onto their different angles in wilderness legislation attempts, lobbying, etc.

So, too, do questions about compromise vs. hardball tactics, local vs. national perspectives, state-by-state vs. interstate wilderness bills and more.

But, this is also about the enjoyment of wilderness on the ground, along with related issues such as its overenjoyment in some cases, compromises with rancher grazing rights, and even more so with old mining claims and such.

You can’t do better than this book as an intro to wilderness issues.

18. December 2018 · Comments Off on Fire Season · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

16. December 2018 · Comments Off on Idaho Wildlife Federation – December News · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Deeds Reveal Billionaire Brothers Illegally Gated Public Road

Contact: Brian Brooks, Idaho Wildlife Federation, (208) 870-7967

BOISE – The Idaho Wildlife Federation has found deeds from past landowners granting easements for sections of Forest Road 374, the Boise Ridge Road, for public use in perpetuity. The easements apply to the sections of road the Wilks’ brothers company, DF Development, has recently installed gates on, making the installations a violation of Idaho law.

Earlier this fall the Texas billionaire Wilks brothers made waves by installing gates on the very popular Boise Ridge Road located just north of Boise, which is frequently used by Idahoans for hunting and recreation access on the Boise National Forest. But Brian Brooks, executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation says, “this is about more than just gates. This is about wealthy individuals flaunting Idaho’s laws and illegally claiming public resources as their own without repercussions. And it spurs the question- how many more public roads have they illegally claimed as their own?”
IWF’s investigation into the construction of the Boise Ridge Road revealed the road was built with public dollars, and has been maintained using taxpayer dollars. The road was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s using public funds for the purpose of public use and fire management. Through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by The Wilderness Society and shared with the Idaho Wildlife Federation, it was found that taxpayers have been footing the bill for maintaining the road for nearly 90 years, fulfilling prescriptive road easement requirements.

“DF Development has never had the right to close or install gates on the Boise Ridge Road, because it belongs to the public. These out-of-state folks have a lot of nerve coming into Idaho and gating a road that was built and paid for by the public,” says Brooks.

Current Idaho law prohibits marking public lands and roads as private. However, as a criminal violation only, a government entity must initiate the lawsuit for its enforcement. “The law lacks a civil remedy common in property disputes, which would give Idaho citizens the power to resolve the issue peer to peer in court,” according to Brooks.

“Counties are strapped for resources, especially rural counties where these violations are happening. Choosing to derail county budgets to prosecute billionaires over access issues, while burdened with more heinous crimes, is not financially practical. It’s time we give citizens legal recourse to enforce public access. By adding a civil remedy to the existing law we can save taxpayer dollars and mobilize enforcement procedures faster.”

Adding a civil suit clause will require action by the state legislature and could be passed as an amendment to the recently updated trespass law, the same law the Wilks brothers lobbied for. During the 2018 legislative session, IWF attempted to include a civil remedy provision to the legislation, but the idea was rebuffed and Idaho’s citizens were kept from enforcing their right to access public property. IWF is vetting potential legislation to lawmakers and interest groups for the 2019 session.

“It’s a small change. A civil remedy exists to protect private property rights. Now it’s time to protect public property rights.”

MORE NEWS from IWF

Matthew interviewed by Becca Aceto

Worn leather boots lined the wall and a dusty wood stove sat in the corner of the room, ready for the inevitable chill to return to the mountains. “What we really need right now is a whiskey.” I smiled at this remark.

Matthew’s small cabin was dimly lit and a faint smell of game meat lingered in the air, the only trace of meals past. Out the front door and across the airstrip mules and horses snoozed in the midday sun. A few miles to our north and less to the east was the massive Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

We talked for over an hour, laughing about ornery mules in the backcountry and reminiscing of trips past. Some of the wildest places in the lower 48 have shaped Matthew, both professionally and personally. I’d also like to point out that Matthew never mentioned a specific animal he’d harvested or shot he’d taken. His words were of experience and place – he puts great value on the intrinsic worth of things. I was glad to sit down and have this conversation. Enjoy!

B: Tell me a bit about your background. Did you grow up outdoors and hunting?

M: I sure did. My father is a lifetime hunter who had me out in the woods of Missouri with him from a young age. We’d hunt deer, turkeys and squirrels on both private and public land. I also ran my own traplines beginning in middle school, water trapping for beavers, muskrat, mink and otters predominantly. Paddling a canoe down the river checking traps really builds up an appreciation of the natural world in someone. I don’t trap anymore. Now my dad comes out to Montana every fall and we take the mules into the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall wilderness to hunt elk and deer.

B: So how’d you get into packing?

M: I got into packing when I was 18 as a trail crew member in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and learned from a fellow who’s the lead packer there to this day. Our trail crew would take stock out to self-support us during 10-day hitches. I went to Glacier National Park a couple years later as a backcountry ranger. I used stock and learned a lot more about packing from a guy who was the lead packer there for over 30 years.

I really learned a lot when I started working with an outfitter out of Augusta, Montana packing and guiding elk and deer hunts in the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat. We had one camp that was a 24-mile ride one way over the highest pass in the Bob. That’s some wild country back there. I like having grizzlies on the landscape. You get an elk down, snow is falling and you see fresh griz tracks bigger than your head, all the while thinking “I wonder if it’s on the elk.” It’s great.

B: Do you see yourself fitting into the realm of conservation through this work?

M: Absolutely. I support public access for fishermen, hunters, hikers, backpackers – really anyone using the country I work in. I also support trail crews and rangers to get trails opened up and to make sure regulations are followed in the backcountry. I pack out a lot of trash, too. Last year during the solar eclipse I spent a week in the White Clouds. We had a lot of people in the mountains so I made sure everyone was following fire restrictions and wilderness regulations over the span of that week. Fortunately people were pretty knowledgeable so I didn’t have much work to do. In 2016 I packed the chief of the Forest Service as well as Mike Simpson and a few others into the newly-designated White Clouds Wilderness which was a really good time. That trip left a big impression on everyone.

B: Have you had any wildlife encounters while packing that could have been a bit hairy?

M: Oh, once I was leading a pack string through Glacier National Park and we came across a grizzly chowing down on glacier lilies. I started yelling at it, “Hey, bear! Hey, bear!” It didn’t even look up so I just rode right on by. The stock did great, didn’t make a fuss at all.

B: And the bear?

M: That damn bear never even looked up. Just kept on eating as we passed by at about 20 yards.

B: Do you have any conservation idols who come to mind?

M: It’s hard for me to just pick one, but I really like the Montana writer and conservationist Joseph Kinsey Howard. I also like Wallace Stegner and Jack Turner. And Fred Bear is probably my favorite hunter/conservationist.

B: Any hunting stories that have stuck with you over the years?

M: Oh, well there was this one time… A few years back I was hunting deer at the edge of a meadow near a clear cut. Suddenly this mountain lion walks out into the meadow not 40 yards from me, lays down and takes a nap. It was there for three hours and the whole time I just sat there watching. Every now and then it would lift its head up, look around and yawn, then lay back down. Finally, it got up and stretched with lazy kitten eyes that I was watching through my binoculars. I turned around for just a second to look for deer on the hill behind me and when I turned back around the cat was gone. Just like that. It was amazing.

B: Any final thoughts?

M: The best thing I can say is that I am poor in the sense that I own no house and no property but living between Idaho and Montana I am so land rich as a citizen of the United States. I can head out my door and do an array of activities on millions and millions of acres. It’s unparalleled. Let’s hope lots of folks step up to keep it that way.

Matthew Chappell is a wilderness packer for the Payette National Forest. He spends half his year packing in Idaho’s wilderness areas and the other half at his home on the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana.

11. December 2018 · Comments Off on 2019 Wilderness Ranger Internship · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

2019 Wilderness Ranger Internship

The goals of the SBFC Wilderness Ranger Intern (WRI) program are to train, educate, mentor and provide employment development opportunities for the next generations of wilderness professionals and provide skilled support to the Forest Service for accomplishing priority wilderness work.

This is a 14-week internship for military veterans and college students doing under-graduate or graduate work in conservation, resource management, wilderness, recreation or related fields.  The internship offers wilderness skills training including the basics of trail maintenance, Wilderness First Responder, and Wilderness Act history and policy, followed by 12 weeks working in the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church Wilderness areas, with trained wilderness professionals, US Forest Service managers and volunteers.   LEARN MORE

** The 2019 WRI application will be open until January 4, 2019. **    APPLY

Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation

Committed to wilderness and to the people who love it as much as we do.

The Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation is a community of wilderness minded and hardworking individuals, dedicated to connecting wilderness with the people who work, live, and play within it.

The efforts of the SBFC community protect and preserve the natural, pristine character of wilderness.

02. December 2018 · Comments Off on Northwest Horse Source – December 2018 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education


Click either story to load the On-Line Issue

29. November 2018 · Comments Off on BCHI – Chapter Squaw Butte 2018 Miles & Hours · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA, Work Parties and Projects

Spreadsheet is available – Contact Rob Adams

Click on Sheet to see larger View

29. November 2018 · Comments Off on Idaho Horse Council Annual Meeting · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

 Our Annual Meeting Idaho Horse Council Meeting Saturday, November 17, 2018

Les Schwab Corral, (Ford Idaho Horse Park Restaurant)
16260 Idaho Center Blvd, Nampa, ID 83687
November 17, 2018
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:00 Registration Desk Opens
8:30 Welcome Charlene Cooper – Idaho Horse Council
9:00 Cody Burlile –Idaho State Brand Inspector
9:30 Bill Conger President – Back Country Horsemen of Idaho
10:00 Q & A for Trails in Idaho
10:30 Open Discussion on Trails
10:45 Break
11:15 Dixie Christensen – Idaho Horse Council Youth Fund
11:30 Lunch
1:00 Steve Taylor Board of Directors Responsibilities – Presentation
1:30 Committee Report
Committee Reports:
Finance–Audit Report Diana Wadsworth
Animal Welfare-
Idaho Horse Census – No Report
Idaho Horse Expo
Legislation
Promotion & Membership
Racing
Scholarship Program
Trails & Urban Land Use
Wild Horse
Youth Activities
Historic Racing Youth
Call to Order Annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers
Roll Call Directors – Approval of Minutes- Report of Treasurer
Unfinished Business – New Business – Election of Board Members
Closing of Business Meeting
6:30 – 7:00 No Host Bar and Banquet Dinner
After Dinner Speaker Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho Kylee Whitting 2019
After Dinner Speaker Pete Ritter Ridges to River

IHC 11-17-2018 report  Posted by Marybeth Conger

27. November 2018 · Comments Off on Hands On Grooming Gloves · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Love them! We discovered HandsOn Grooming Gloves in the winter of 2016 and have been using them continuously ever since. Learn more about HandsOn Grooming Gloves and get yours at https://handsongloves.com/

Being flexible the HandsOn glove make scrubbing difficult areas such as joints and ears easy and enjoyable.
The Gloves come in various sizes to fit hands on any size. If you have smaller hands, now you don’t have to worry about trying to grip awkward large grooming tools.

The curry combs, mitts, and scrubbers in your grooming kit may well start gathering dust once you try a pair of HandsOn Grooming gloves.

21. November 2018 · Comments Off on TrailMeister Trailer Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education

Air Bags for Safe Trailer Towing – Trailer Project #1

Trailer Hitch, Balls, Haney Meadow – Trailer Project #2

EBY Visit – Trailer Project Part 3

21. November 2018 · Comments Off on Idaho in the Movies | Outdoor Idaho | IdahoPTV · Categories: Around The Campfire


Posted by David Benson

19. November 2018 · Comments Off on Thankful for Mules and Their People · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education

We’ve just about finished up our 2018 clinic season with the exception of one upcoming clinic next week in Australia. This will conclude our 6th year of teaching clinics! Time goes fast when you’re having fun! It has been wonderful helping people with their mule problems and mules with their people problems. We are so grateful for all of you who have supported us at these clinics, it has been a pleasure serving you and you’re mules. We have made so many friends, met so many amazing people, seen some incredible country, and made life long memories all because of the mule. I personally owe much to the mule. The mule is my life, my love, my hobby, my living, and my passion. I have learned that the best teacher out there is the mule. Especially the troubled and misunderstood mules. They, like so many of us, just need a little help, a little confidence, a little nudge in the right direction, a chance for their potential to blossom. I am thankful for the mule and especially for all of you who are reading this. My family and I are forever grateful for all of you!

New class descriptions for 2019   /    Clinics Dates

Posted by David Benson

14. November 2018 · Comments Off on New BCHA Facebook Video · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education


TRAILS, FRIENDS & FOOD!
Please share with your Facebook Friends.
Marybeth Conger-Education Chair

09. November 2018 · Comments Off on End of Season Party, Tuesday Dec 11 , 2018 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

End of Season Party, Tuesday Dec 11 , 2018
Time 18:00 – 22:00 (6-10 pm) 
Pot-luck dinner for members and guests

Food Drive – We will be collecting monetary donations for the GEM County Food Bank

Pet Food Drive – We will be collecting $ or donations of pet food (PAL)

Gift Exchange
Pictures  2016   2017
Location:  Rebecca Ignacio Party Venue 4131 West Central Road, Emmett
Contacts: Shannon Schantz & Party Committee  208-365-7691 

Sign UP to tell us you are coming


 

30. October 2018 · Comments Off on Hermit Camp – Owyhee · Categories: Around The Campfire, Fun Rides

Laurie Bryan – Trail Log: 10-25-2018 HERMIT CAMP

  • Trail: Succor Creek Canyon Camp to Succor Creek
  • Miles: 3
  • Riders/Hiker: Self
  • Horses: Jack and J
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank

Notes:  Sometimes I just need to get my hermit on. It’s been a whirl wind year of shooting, IMO, work and just every day life. It was time to make one last hermitage into the Owyhee’s before winter. Destination: Succor Creek Canyon.

Trail Log: 10-26-2018 – Fisherman Rd. To Owyhee Reservoir

  • Trail: Fisherman Rd. To Owyhee Reservoir
  • Miles: 21.8
  • Riders: Self – Lee B.
  • Horses: Jack – J’Lo – Prince

Notes: Met Lee at the beginning of Fisherman Rd. bright and early. Needed an early start to make sure we were back before dark if possible. I’ve been wanting to do this ride for a long time. Lee has driven and hunted the route, but not ridden it. Fisherman Rd. goes all the way in and drops you down onto Owyhee reservoir.

Trail Log: 10-27-2018 

  • Trail: Lonesome Willow – Antelope Springs – Succor Creek canyon loop
  • Miles: 14.15
  • Riders: Self – Lee – Cynthia and Becky
  • Horses: Jack and J – King – Paint and Jude

Click here for full set of photos: Get’in my hermit on

Notes: Well, I thought the previous ride to the lake would have been the highlight of the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to find today’s ride even better. I met Lee, Cindy and Becky at the head of Camp Hermit on Succor Creek Rd and followed them to a road above Lonesome Willow – previously known as the Bob Davis Ranch. The State purchased the old ranch and turned it into …pretty much nothing. Sure wish they would put it up for sale and let somebody bring it back to life. What an awesome place in it’s day.

30. October 2018 · Comments Off on Fall Ride & Potluck – Sweet/Montour · Categories: Around The Campfire, Fun Rides

Montour, Gem County, Idaho, USA sits at the base of Regan Butte on the Payette River. At an elevation of about 3300 feet, the peak of Regan Butte rises 800 feet above the small farming community below. Off not far in the distance a little east of north one can see the small town of Sweet, Idaho and off in the distance in the same direction just out of sight is Ola, Idaho. Looking just a little south of west one can see a portion of Emmett, Idaho. The Payette River wraps almost entirely around the butte, bordering about 3/4th of its base. 360 degree ViewIn the early 1860’s the first ranch was established at what is now Montour and it was used as a stage/mail stop along the road to the Boise Basin. Montour was officially platted after the railroad came through in 1911. Montour once vied for the Boise County seat but in 1915 it was incorporated into Gem County, Emmett being the County seat. In 1941 a new highway bypassed Montour which greatly slowed growth and shortly thereafter the school closed.

Montour
In the early 1860’s the Marsh-Ireton Ranch was established as a stage and mail stop along the freight road to the Boise Basin. After the railroad came through the Valley in 1911, the Montour business district and town were platted. They vied for the Boise County seat, but in 1915, the town was incorporated into Gem County with Emmett as the County seat. Dreams of prosperity faded, when in 1941, the new highway bypassed Montour, and shortly thereafter the school closed due to school reorganization.

The last store closed in 1968. In the 1970’s, ice jams along the backwaters of the dam flooded the Valley. The Bureau of Reclamation bought out the landowners and has since turned the area into a wildlife refuge and camping area. A natural landmark is the small butte, generally known as Regan Butte, named after the homesteader who ran cattle there in the late 1800’s.

Riders: Terry MacDonald, Mike & Karen Heilman, Carmen Tyack, Janelle Weeks

Sweet
During the gold rush to the Thunder Mountain Mines, Sweet served as an important freighter’s supply station. At the turn of the century, Sweet boasted of three hotels, three saloons, a bank, a newspaper, two lodge halls, and other business. It was named for the first postmaster Ezekiel Sweet. After the gold rush subsided and a series of fires in the business district, the town began to deteriorate, and was not rebuilt.

Potluck – Was held after the ride at the hobby ranch of Linda & Rob Adams located south east of Sweet. It was well attended by members and guest who enjoyed great food and interesting conversations.  Stories were swapped of our summer adventures and plans started to form for 2019.  No one went home hungry!

19. October 2018 · Comments Off on Trailer Doctor – Emmett Idaho · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Trailer Doctor, 1577 N Plaza Rd, Emmett, ID 83617
Contact: Mike NYCE    https://www.facebook.com/Trailer-Doctor-188801334530051/

I had Mike over to work on my two horse trailers.  My goose-neck trailer was in need of new brakes after ten year of hauling it all over the back country including a number of trips to the Stanley Basin.  My Green three horse trailer needed its bearing packed and to sort out an intermittent electrical problem.

Mike comes to your location and brings a complete shop with him!

The electrical problem with the green trailer was a broken ground wire. BUT, while confirming that everything was working we found out that the wire that enable the brakes had come loose so the trailer brakes were not helping the truck to stop. Lucky for me, I only carry one or two horses in that trailer and generally only on day rides. The fact I didn’t notice is on me!
I was pleased with the quality of Mikes work and I though he charged a reasonable price.

08. October 2018 · Comments Off on Next generation satellite beacons · Categories: Around The Campfire

Emergency Locater Beacons with bi-directional texting

18. September 2018 · Comments Off on Tips from TrailMeister · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Cleaning your saddle pad

Cleaning your saddle pad

Saddle pads get dirty, really dirty, really quickly.  Sweat and dirt happen when we ride and it’s up to us to stay on top of the filth lest our mounts suffer. It’s time to clean our saddle pad.

I’m not about to say that I wash my pads after every ride. What I do is let them dry between rides (I have three pads that I alternate using) and prior to the following use I gently brush them in a circlular motion, with a rubber curry to break up any dried grime and sweat chunks.

But, by the end of summer those pads have seen a lot of trail miles pass under them and it’s time for a more thorough cleaning to remove the more stubborn deposits.

My fabulous first idea was to put the pads in the washing machine. My much better half said that wasn’t going to happen and that I should find a better alternative. Being too lazy to visit the local laundry mat I opted for a fence gate and a hose.

I use Skito saddle pads that have laminated foam shims inside a fleece pocket, so my cleaning process may be slightly more involved.

1 – Remove the foam inserts and let them soak in a bucket of cool water. I don’t use any detergent because it’s next to impossible to get out. Any soap residue that remains will irritate my animals and that’s a bad thing. Scientists consider water to be the universal solvent because it’s capable of dissolving more substances than anything else (barring oils which I don’t generally find inside my saddle pad). I use this property to my benefit and simply repeatedly squeezing the foams to slowly work any accumulated salts out of material. Dump and refill the bucket with fresh water as often as you can. I’ve been known to put a small amount of vinegar in the water to help kill any lingering beasties.

2 – With the saddle pad securely supported, it’s going to be heavy, use a garden use to spray the saddle pad from the inside out. I want to force the grime out of the material not push it further into the fibers. I also try to work from the middle outward, again always trying to push the dirt away from the pad. I’ve found that once the pad is completely saturated with water that rubbing the material with my fingers is easier on the fabric and works better than brushing with curry combs. This phase takes a while and yes, you will be cold and wet, but keep up the good work until the water runs clear.

3 – Once the pads and the foams cease releasing dirt into your clean water it’s time to dry. Help the pads keep their shape by hanging them over a saddle rack, out of the sun and away from direct heat. Leaving the pad hanging over the gate will cause it to stretch and lose its contoured shape. Direct heat or sun can cause the materials to shrink. Yes, drying this way is slow and takes a while. That’s why we have spare saddle pads.

I wish that I could say that these three steps to a clean saddle pad are a great secret that I discovered. Unfortunately, equipment cleaning is just another part of riding horses and mules. What I have discovered is that by ensuring that when this vital piece of equine tack stays in good working condition it makes for a better ride by continuing to provide the support, protection, and comfort that my animals deserve.

How often do you clean your saddle pads?

For more TrailMeister trail riding tips and thoughts visit www.TrailMeister.com

Keeping Paradise Possible

Keeping Paradise Possible – By Robert Eversole – North East Chapter, BCHW

Paradise. For some that’s an image of a tropical beach, for me it’s a dirt trail that twists and meanders to a backcountry camp deep in the wilderness. It’s a quiet solitude punctuated by the peaceful clip clop of hooves and the far scream of an eagle aloft. It’s the sweet perfume of pine on a warm summer day. It’s the
companionship of a trusted horse who will faithfully take you home.

Unfortunately, in a growing number of cases paradise has padlocks.

In only a few short generations we’ve “improved” a lot of backcountry and rural areas into suburbia and shopping malls. Trail Closed signs are both dreaded and unfortunately frequently encountered. Least we lose them, we’d better take care of the equine friendly country that remains.  Paradise needs protecting.

You don’t have to be a trail rider, or even have your own horse, to recognize the importance of conserving horse trails. There are many things that each of us can do to preserve equine trails. Unfortunately, often it’s sometimes hard to explain why groups like ours are important. Here are some of the reasons to join that I talk about during my expo clinics.

Horse clubs are focal points for both social events and trail stewardship efforts. For me the biggest reason to join an equestrian club is for the comradery of people who have the same interests. Being able to talk about trail conditions, feed, training, etc. is priceless.

Don’t have a local Back Country Horsemen group nearby, or don’t care for the one that is? Start a new one. These organizations are always looking for new members and new chapters. A quick google search will put you in touch with someone who can help.

Here are four reasons to join a, or start, a horse club. And quotes from those who have.

  • You’ll meet like-minded people and make new friends

“Share activities with like-minded people both socially and out on the trails.”

“The diversity of a club’s membership allows members to ride and camp with others who have similar aspirations and at a whole range of experiences. It makes it easy to find people to ride with when their regular partner is unable to get away.”

“There’s a large group of us who don’t just go out on club rides, we’ll meet up on other weekends too – it’s great to have lots of different people to go riding with.”

“Looking for love?  I know lots of couples who met through horses!”

  • You’ll see new places and do new things

“You can expand the scope of your own activities by taking part in those organized by more experienced members”

“A lot of clubs have a range of social events which complements the riding scene”

“If you want to go to a new trail area there’s bound to be someone in the club who has already been and willing to give you info on the place”

  • You’ll learn new skills

“Many clubs offer training opportunities, however chaotic or informal, and there are always more experienced members around to provide guidance and help.”

“Practical peer-to-peer coaching so that we all learn together”

“Knowledge transfer from more experienced members, a bit like an apprenticeship”

“As a new member I doubt that I’d have made the steps to ride outside the arena without the support of the club”

  • It’s fun!

“It’s more fun spending your day out with others.  And they can get great photos of you and your partner on rides too.”

There are more benefits than just being a member of a club. There are new friends to be made, information to learn and most of all the comradery of people who get what it means to love horses and trail riding.

We live during a time when equine trail use is being curtailed. Most Americans live in urban settings, removed from our version of paradise. Most of them don’t understand the importance of conservation, outdoor recreation, and the protection of trails.

Please, don’t wait until you’re faced with a crisis before you get involved. Volunteer with trail projects, join a club that will help protect your trail access, and educate yourself and others on best practices.

29. August 2018 · Comments Off on Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation -Summer Newsletter 2018 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Public Lands

2018 Summer News SBFC

23. August 2018 · Comments Off on Wild Fires & Climate Change · Categories: Around The Campfire

08. August 2018 · Comments Off on Eagle Island Fun Ride and Tack Sale · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

Please see the attached flyers of this event to copy, post or forward to your equine enthusiast friends.

2018 FUN RIDE FLYER

We are pleased to donate 100% our profits to these non-profits:

 Ride for Joy is a local organization, based in Emmett, that provides Hippotherapy (Equine therapy) to children with mental and physical special needs as well as Veterans with PTSD. https://www.rideforjoy.org/

 The Treasure Valley Back Country Horsemen is a nonprofit organization working toward the preservation of the back country. Their membership is comprised of horse men and women who love our great outdoors and who want to be sure that recreational horse and mule use on public lands will remain a part of our American Heritage forever.  http://www.tvbch.com/

FOSH is a national leader in promoting, supporting and protecting gaited horses.  FOSH is known for its work to end soring of Tennessee Walking Horses through its public database of violators, www.hpadata.us and 60 years’ archive of soring articles. www.stopsoring.com.

Your contact information will not be shared by our club or it’s affiliates and will be only used to send you information about this event.

Thank You and Happy Trails, Anne Martin, SCGHC Fun Ride Advertising Chairman

 

25. June 2018 · Comments Off on Yellow Jacket Trail Head Project · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

Yellow Jacket trail head is south east of Cascade, Idaho. You get there by taking the warm lake road to the west side of the lake and driving south for seven miles on a series of gravel forest service roads. It is a popular area with a number of camping locations, interesting trails and good fishing.  Video    See More Pictures The camp site we used is on the South Fork of the Salmon river and is large enough that multiple groups can use it. There is good access to water for the stock and trees for high-lines.  There is plenty of room for a number of trailers.Ten members of Squaw Butte signed up for this event, Janelle & Troy Weeks, Kelly Ragland, Shelly Duff, David Benson, Charles & Lorraine Chick, Fanny Berki, Shannon Schantz, Nancy Smith
and Rob Adams. Joining us were three members of the Boise National Forest northern trail crew, Hailey Brookins, Tom Shearer and Anthony Snelling. With this large number of people and stock we broke up into three different trail teams. Some explored the trail and roads available from this trail head, while the trail crew tackled the Yellow Jacket trail. This area has experienced multiple fires and has sections with many dead trees that gravity had not toppled yet. This last winter, many of those trees came down.
 
The team encountered down trees the moment they crossed the river and that continued for the three miles of trail that they completed of this seven mile trail on Saturday. We ran out of time and energy, not trees. We cleared around 50 major trees with chainsaws and a lot of brush and smaller ones with hand saws. It is likely there are 50 more in the remaining four miles.

One tree fell dead center on a bridge, it did no damage, but required a number of careful cuts to remove it.


By 16:30 all but the fisherman had returned to the trail head. We were tired, but all had enjoyed their day in this scenic area of the Boise Nation forest. A shady spot was found, cold beer or other beverages were opened and stories of the day swapped. One group had found a large still standing tree that some fool had tried to cut down, but got scared and stopped before he made the final fall cut. The result was a very dangerous tree ready to fall down over the road. They reported it to a fire ranger who was looking to see if any of the lighting strikes from the Friday night thunder storm had started any fires. That tree will be removed first thing this week, likely by blasting. Dinner was excellent and the talk around the camp fire lasted until the last of the alpine glow left the mountains.

09. June 2018 · Comments Off on Western Trail Rider – Blog · Categories: Around The Campfire


ABOUT WESTERN TRAIL RIDER
February 2016:

During the summer of 2012, I got together with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while. As we sat and talked, he mentioned that one day he’d like to ride from Mexico to Canada on the Great Western Trail (GWT). That conversation planted a seed in the back of my mind (very fertile ground, due to a lot of dead and composted ideas back there), which took root and started to grow. I spoke with him several weeks later and together we decided we would give it a shot. As I started looking for information on the GWT, I was surprised at how little there really was. Apparently nobody had made the full trip in one shot before, at least not that I found documented. There were only wildly divergent estimates on the mileage, ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 miles, despite the fact that it’s only about 1,500 miles by roads (Google Maps), so estimating travel time is pretty much a wild guess. In fact, on the GWT website, I was the only registrant on the equine forum, so they made me an administrator. Read More

23. May 2018 · Comments Off on Public Outreach – 2018 Spring Yard Sale · Categories: Around The Campfire, Fun Days

Each spring, Squaw Butte holds a public outreach yard sale at the Key Bank parking lot in Emmett, ID.  This sale is a way to fund many of the chapters purchased and training opportunities.  It is also very popular with the public, many who stop by each year to look for treasures and sometimes to bring items to donate.  Nothing has a price tag and all moneys are treated as donations that go into the chapters bank account.  Our Yard sale was held on May 19, 2018 which was a clear cool day wedged between days that had afternoon thunder storms.


During our leadership meeting in January we set budgets and estimate incoming money’s that will be available. This years sale was very successful and we expect our budget will stay in the black. Thank you to all the members who worked and to members and the general public for supporting this fund raising event.
The pictures were mostly taken while we were setting up and before the bus loads of shoppers arrived. Link to Video

11. May 2018 · Comments Off on Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation – Spring 2018 · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands


Find out what we’ve been up to lately!
Attached is your Spring 2018 E-Newsletter from Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation. Our season will be starting soon, you can follow our activities via our blog at http://www.selwaybitterroot.org

2018 Spring News SBFC

Sue Webster
Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation
Communication & Membership Coordinator
RMRS – 322 E. Front St. Ste. 401
Boise, ID 83702
208-861-2010
swebster@selwaybitterroot.org

10. May 2018 · Comments Off on BCHI Annual Report 2017 Projects · Categories: Around The Campfire, BCHI /BCHA

vol-hrs-rpt-2017
annual-report-2017

29. March 2018 · Comments Off on April 28, 2018 Squaw Butte Clinic · Categories: Around The Campfire

Squaw Butte 2018 Pack Clinic.PDF

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.

21. February 2018 · Comments Off on Idaho Horse Council – Equine Brand Inspections · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: Idaho Horse Council [ idahohorsecouncil@yahoo.com ]
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 12:00 PM
Subject: Idaho Brand Inspection

Members we need your help!

Representative Judy Boyle will be introducing a Bill soon that will eliminate the need to get a Brand Inspection on equine in Idaho.

She did not make the industry aware of this bill, nor why she felt the need to try and eliminate Brand Inspections for Equine in Idaho.

Please contact Representative Boyle and your legislature representative. It’s important the Industry for the following reasons to continue to have Brand Inspections. Please post on face book pages and email your equine friends and please Call or email your representatives.

Representative Judy Boyle jboyle@house.idaho.gov
Home (208) 355-3225
Bus (208) 355-3225
FAX (208) 355-3225
H602 Statement of Purpose         H0602 brand inspections
Value of Brand Inspections
Brands are livestock’s return address. They are important because:
• They provide evidence of ownership
• They deter theft
• They enable brand inspectors and law enforcement personnel to return stolen or missing livestock to their owners
• They help resolve conflicts over ownership
Deters theft
• Helps determine ownership
• Enables brand inspectors and law enforcement personnel to return stolen or missing livestock to their owners
• Prevents unlawful sale or transport of livestock
• Facilitates commerce by providing a system of checks and balances that is well understood and valued in the marketplace
• Helps protect the livestock industry by putting trained personnel in the field to keep an eye on the industry

Several of our surrounding States require a Brand Inspection to bring a horse into their State.
In case of a disaster how would we find our livestock?

If Brand inspection for Equine is eliminated the Idaho Horse Board would no longer be able to grant funds on a yearly basis ..Since 1989 the Idaho Horse Board has granted $478,495.for Research, Education and Promotion for Equine Groups in Idaho .

If she eliminated brand inspections on Equine then would they need to reclassify the definition of livestock as the law now exists. Equine may no longer be classified as “Livestock.”

Thank You
Debbie Amsden
Executive Director
Idaho Horse Council
(208) 465-5477
idahohorsecouncil.com

~-~-~-~-~

BCHI Chapters: Idaho Brand Inspection

Directors and Presidents, please encourage your members to contact their State Legislators regarding this purposed bill which I have attached along with Boyle’s Statement of Purpose for the Bill. Boyle states that passage of this bill would save the Brand Department $528,000 which I understand from a member of the Brand Board is not correct. I was told the savings would be about $300,000.

The important point to the $300,000 is that what we currently pay for our equine brand inspections does not cover the full cost of conducting these inspections. Therefore other brand inspection fees, such as cattle, are used to subsidize ours which means someday we should expect to pay our true costs.

Bill Conger
BCHI Chairman
208-369-0768
chairman@bchi.org

 

31. January 2018 · Comments Off on 2018 Tow Ratings · Categories: Around The Campfire


TrailerLifeTowGuide2018.pdf

 

15. January 2018 · Comments Off on 2018 is on target to be a fun and educational year for interested Back Country Horseman of Idaho (BCHI) members · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education

By Education Chair Marybeth Conger


If you are still thinking about attending the Back Country Horseman of Idaho 2018 Directors meeting and Annual convention, please consider that chapter member education has been added to this amazing event. On Saturday March 10, the first ever, BCHI chapter training will be held in the afternoon. Presented by various volunteers, these educational workshops and presentations are open for all members to attend. What a great way to learn more about your current chapter position, or find out details about something you may be interested in the future. Some workshops even cover topics to help us better understand things and help BCHI grow in both numbers and membership development. With your attendance and feedback, we can make this training an annual BCHI event and improve, meeting your educational needs. Get your registration form completed and experience some fun learnings and comradery in additional to all of the other fantastic activities scheduled at the 2018 convention. Hope to see you all there!

April 13 – 15 marks the date for the 2018 Idaho Horse Expo held at the Ford Idaho Park. SBBCH members Bill and Marybeth Conger are some of the clinicians at this year’s event. Their pretentions will cover lightweight recreational packing and camping techniques. In addition, local BCH chapters will again man a BCHI booth. These types of public outreach events help the BCHI organization to grow and educate the public on the wise and sustaining use of our backcountry resource. So come join us if you can!

Karen Kimball graciously volunteered to be a BCHI education co-chair to help coordinate education efforts up north. Making sure chapter education chairs are familiar with all of the relevant education materials maintained by BCHA and its member states is one way for her to accomplish this. Thank you Karen!

Please let the education team know what you plan to accomplish in 2018 so we can spotlight more chapter activities. Education updates on the BCHI website are starting to happen and expect to see more once Marybeth successfully completes the Master Educator course. Well this covers the first quarter and then some. Happy Trails!

05. January 2018 · Comments Off on Highway 52 Cleanup along Black Canyon · Categories: Around The Campfire


22. December 2017 · Comments Off on 2017 Squaw Butte Miles & Hours Summary · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

19. December 2017 · Comments Off on FY 2017 Boise National Forest North Zone Trails Program Accomplishments · Categories: Around The Campfire, Public Lands

FY 2017 BNF NZ Trails Accomplishments 10.31.2017

17. December 2017 · Comments Off on 2017 End of Season Highlights · Categories: Around The Campfire, Fun Days

Saturday December 16, 2017 was a good day. Boise States football team came to play at their bowl game and made Oregon fans sit through a painful three hours. After the game, a number of members and guest enjoyed excellent company and great food. Thanks goes to Nancy Smith, Arlynn Hacker & Shannon Schantz for doing all the hard work getting the party organized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles and Lou Ann are checking out the fancy shoes Charles received in the gift exchange.

15. December 2017 · Comments Off on High Country Plastics – Catalog · Categories: Around The Campfire


Catalog Link                 Website Link

High Country Plastics primary goal is to provide safe and durable products for their customers and animals.

High Country Plastics takes great pride in keeping their product line creative and efficient to save customers time and money.

Our built-to-last products are known for their durability, quality, strength, innovation, warranty, FDA approval, safety, and satisfaction guaranteed – that’s the High Country Way.

For additional information, please visit our Contact Us page and let us know what we can help you with.

 

18. November 2017 · Comments Off on Former Public Lands Officials speak out · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Public Lands

Many visitors to U.S. national parks and monuments—a record 331 million in 2016—seek a hiatus, however fleeting, from the daily grind. But increasingly, they may find themselves face-to-face with some of the things they are trying to escape.

The Trump Administration’s quick-step public lands agenda for 2017 includes budget cuts, expanded resource extraction (mining, logging, drilling, and grazing), shrinking national monument boundaries, and a relaxation of restrictions on problematic activities like the use of plastic bottles.

At Dinosaur National Monument, for example, the Bureau of Land Management plans to auction public land for oil and gas drilling. The drilling site is near the park’s entrance road and will be visible from the visitor center. The BLM says it will take steps to minimize the impact, including light shields, noise mufflers, and “placement of exhaust systems to direct noise away from noise sensitive areas” and “avoiding unnecessary flaring of gas.”

But Mike Murray, who worked as a national park administrator and ranger at Dinosaur National Monument for thirty-four years, calls the decision to auction drilling rights there “indefensible.” The monument’s pitch-black night skies and silent soundscapes have been protected by the Park Service since Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, Murray says in an interview. Visitors, he notes, will now witness “oil rigs instead of a pristine landscape.” And the Trump team’s “total priority” on mining and drilling threatens other values, like “protecting parks for future generations and for wildlife.”  Read More

10. November 2017 · Comments Off on Public Lands Report Card – Western States · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events

How Western States Stack Up As Public Lands Defenders

A new report card ranks the Mountain West based on access, recreation, and responsible energy development

Last month, the Center for Western Priorities, a Denver, Colorado–based nonprofit, published a comprehensive report that compared state public lands policy across the Mountain West. Eight states—Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico—were scored. The results were also discussed on the organization’s podcast, Go West, Young Podcast.

The Trump administration’s hostility to public lands was part of the impetus for the report, the authors told Outside. Wary of focusing its mission solely on federal accountability, Western Priorities also wanted to examine what states could do on their own. But understanding state policy when it comes public lands is challenging; unlike federal law, tracking state-level regulation gets messy.

“We try to be a data-driven organization,” says Aaron Weiss, media director at Western Priorities, “and that tends to be fairly easy on the national level, because, at least up until now, DOI and Forest Service were good about collecting and disseminating data.” If you couldn’t figure something out, “you could usually call up someone at the Park Service or at BLM and figure out how to get that data. It’s much harder to do at the state level.”

That’s because the way states regulate their local public lands varies widely. “What counts as a spill in one state doesn’t count in another,” Weiss says. In that light, Western Priorities set out to research and compare state policies “apples to apples.” The project, led by Western Priorities’ Sara Rose Tannenbaum, took about eight months to research and involved somewhere between 80 and 100 interviews with policymakers and related experts. Western Priorities chose to score states in three categories: lands and access, outdoor recreation, and responsible energy use. Montana and Colorado received the highest overall grades, but there was still a good deal of divergence within each category.

The results look at what states are doing well when it comes to public lands protections, as well as how they can improve and adopt best practices from one another. (Charted above are the states’ total scores from all three categories, with the highest possible score being 33.)

“This can be a useful tool to people as they’re trying to aid their state in improving, or branching out, or being innovative,” Tannenbaum says. “States really have a lot to learn from one another. It’s important to celebrate what’s worth celebrating in your state and also identify moments for improvement.”

We broke down how the states did in each category and why.

Lands and Access

Highest Possible Score: 10

Western Priorities looked at hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping access on state public lands using a few different parameters. States can do a variety of things with their land trusts—sell, lease, or neither—and access often changes based on those designations. Additionally, local public lands can’t always be accessed in some states if they’re surrounded by private property, and the commitment to funding for public lands can be inconsistent.

Stream access is highly variable as well. Montana and Idaho, for example, allow people to float, wade, and walk along streams up to the high-water level, even when rivers cross private lands. Montana has enshrined public access to rivers in its constitution, an issue that has caused trouble even for Greg Gianforte, the state’s recently elected congressman. But other states, like Colorado, are more restrictive, and enforcement and culture varies. In Utah and New Mexico, the report notes, there have been “issues of private land owners erecting barbed-wire fences through streams and putting up ‘no trespassing’ signs.”

Weiss is careful to add that states weren’t given negative points, which can obscure regressive trends. “On lands and access, the big takeaway is that this is still a very active fight in a lot of states,” Weiss says, mentioning the Wilks brothers threatening ranchers’ water rights in Montana and alarming initiatives led by Utah officials to sell off public lands for resource extraction.

Outdoor Recreation

Highest Possible Score: 9

Colorado ran away in this category, while states like Arizona and Wyoming struggled. Infrastructure for public access was a key part of the equation, as was having dedicated offices in state governments devoted to the cause. (Colorado was the only state to receive top marks on both fronts.) Western Priorities also believes there’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes to promoting outdoor and environmental education, a category in which no state received top two scores. But most important, commitment to public lands and recreation is most clearly reflected by one thing: consistent, dedicated money.

“It’s really wonderful that a lot of states have passed a Public Lands Day,” Tannenbaum says, “And we’re really supportive of that—Colorado’s Public Lands Day was a hit this year. But that really has to be backed by concrete action.” Groups like Great Outdoors Colorado do a great job of addressing all sorts of outdoor recreational priorities, she told me, but not all states put real money behind such agencies.

Responsible Energy Development

Highest Possible Score: 14

“This topic, you could write an entire report on it,” Tannenbaum says. “So we focused on concrete protections for air, water, and wildlife as opposed to alternate uses.” One of those uses they had to leave out, they say, was the potential for development of renewables on public lands.

Instead they examined, among other issues, how far back oil wells could be set from houses, transparency surrounding chemicals used in fracking and spills, mine bonding, and methane emissions. One crucial aspect was the return on investment taxpayers receive from taxing energy industries that exploit public lands. That came down to looking at the kinds of taxes and royalty rates states require the extractive industry to pay, which can be used to maintain and protect public lands. Colorado once again did especially well, with royalty rates above the federal rate, while also requiring public reporting and disclosure of fracking chemicals 48 hours prior to use (Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah all use FracFocus to do this). Arizona scored poorly on both these fronts.

Weiss and Tannenbaum emphasize that public engagement is critical in keeping outdoor recreation and access to state trust lands a vibrant part of the West. “Number one is to know who your state legislators are and keep them on speed dial,” Weiss says. “Go to their coffees, go to their town halls before the [legislative] session starts, so they know what’s important to you, both in terms of good bills and what a bad bill would look like.”

Join our editors for a Q&A with Weiss and Tannenbaum on Monday, November 13, at 2pm M.T. in the Outside Public Lands Forum on Facebook.