28. October 2020 · Comments Off on One Moving Part: The Forest Service Ax Manual · Categories: Education

Beckley, B. 2019. One Moving Part: The Forest Service Ax Manual. 1823 2812P. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Technology and Development Program. 234 p.

This manual provides information about different types of axes and their historic and current usage in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Subjects covered include the anatomy of an ax, types of axes and related tools, selecting the right ax for you, the art of filing, sharpening an ax head, restoring or replacing an ax handle, using an ax, maintaining an ax, and purchasing an ax. The manual also includes a list of resources and information about ax manufacturers and suppliers.

PDF: One Moving Part – Axe Manual

23. October 2020 · Comments Off on A Worthy Refresher: Mountain Lions · Categories: Education

Mountain lions are having quite the news year in 2020. From a mountain lion kitten called Captain Cal being rescued by a firefighter in the Zogg fire to the 6-minute dramatic saga of a trail runner in Utah encountering a mountain lion family on a trail (NSFW: the link to original video contains profanity), it’s a solid reminder that chances are you live, visit, or recreate somewhere in their habitat.
In case you missed it, the Utah trail runner first came across the kittens (or cubs) and was immediately met by the mother mountain lion who instictively became assertive and aggressive in order to put some distance between her kittens and this present “danger” (the trail runner).
While this story ends well for all (the trail runner is ok and the mother mountain lion will be left alone), it’s a great time to brush up on how to recreate responsibly in mountain lion country and what to do if you encounter one of these magical creatures. If hiking with small children or pets be sure to keep them close to you. If you see a mountain lion – pick them up or call them over next to you.
1. Make and maintain eye contact.
2. Try to look larger. Hold your bag or jacket over your head and wave your arms slowly) – don’t crouch or bend over.
3. Speak loudly and back away slowly. 
4. Hold your ground. If the mountain lion approaches you, hold your ground, look intimidating, and throw things (rocks, branches, or other things you can reach without bending over) toward, not at, the mountain lion.
5. Escalation. If the mountain lion continues to approach escalate the hostility and throw things directly at the mountain lion.
6. If a mountain lion attacks. When in this position, do everything in your power to fight back! (Also seriously consider buying a lottery ticket as it’s statistically way more likely that you’ll win a lottery jackpot (1 in about 3 million odds) than get attacked by a mountain lion (1 in a billion+ odds)). 

Mountain lions can be found in the western United States but their populations have decreased significantly from historical numbers due to hunting and habitat loss. While most people will likely never be lucky enough to see one while visiting wilderness areas, never forget we’re vistors in their home. Know before you go, review what to do in case you encounter one, and enjoy your time outside. (Photo credit: USFS)

19. October 2020 · Comments Off on American Kestrel Nest Box Plans · Categories: Around The Campfire

Installing and Monitoring a Nest Box


19. October 2020 · Comments Off on Idaho Fish & Game – Fall Fish Stocking of Back Country Lakes · Categories: Around The Campfire, Work Parties and Projects

This summer a member of the chapter mentioned that in the past he had participated in packing in fish to a mountain lake and suggested that we might want to contact Fish & Game about getting some of their left over fish fingerlings in the fall after they had finished with their planned stocking.  Calls were made and Malia Galloher 208-305-7822 in McCall agreed to call us if fish were available and we could agree on suitable lakes that could use them.  At the end of September Malia called and said they had some Grayling that they would like to stock in lakes on the south western side of the Frank Church.  The lakes being considered were Pistol and 44 lake near Landmark.

Arctic grayling grow to a maximum recorded length of 76 cm (30 in) and a maximum recorded weight of 3.8 kg (8.4 lb). Of typical thymalline appearance, the Arctic grayling is distinguished from the similar grayling (T. thymallus) by the absence of dorsal and anal spines and by the presence of a larger number of soft rays in these fins. There is a dark midlateral band between the pectoral and pelvic fins, and the flanks may possess a pink iridescence. T. a. arcticus has been recorded as reaching an age of 18 years.

Where are grayling found?
RANGE: Arctic grayling are native to drainages of the Arctic Ocean, Hudson Bay and Northern Pacific Ocean in North America and in Asia. Two distinct populations historically inhabited waters in Michigan and Montana. The distinct population of Arctic grayling in Michigan is now extinct.

The arctic grayling is not native to Idho or Utah, but it has been introduced into several high elevation lakes in the Mountains. The arctic grayling eats primarily invertebrates, including insects, insect larvae, and zooplankton. … Grayling are related to trout and can be caught using familiar techniques.

How do you catch a grayling in a lake?
Arctic grayling can be caught in mountain lakes and streams. Grayling are typically caught with artificial baits including small spinners, lightweight jigs, wet flies and dry flies. They can be easily caught using a spinning rod and spinning reel.

Are Grayling good to eat?
Alaskan Arctic Grayling are a delight to catch as they readily hit dry flies and are a darn good fight for their size. … It is debated that the Alaska grayling is one of the best eating freshwater fish in the world. Their flesh is white and flaky when cooked over an open fire for a tasty shore lunch.

Life cycle
Several life history forms of Arctic grayling occur: fluvial populations that live and spawn in rivers; lacustrine populations that live and spawn in lakes; and potamodromous populations that live in lakes and spawn in tributary streams.

The Arctic grayling occurs primarily in cold waters of mid-sized to large rivers and lakes, returning to rocky streams to breed. The various subspecies are omnivorous. Crustaceans, insects and insect larvae, and fish eggs form the most important food items. Larger specimens of T. arcticus become piscivorous and the immature fish feed on zooplankton and insect larvae.

Spawning takes place in the spring. Adult fish seek shallow areas of rivers with fine, sand substrate and moderate current. Males are territorial and court females by flashing their colourful dorsal fins; the fins are also used to brace receptive females during the vibratory release of milt and roe. The fish are nonguarders: the eggs are left to mix with the substrate. Although the Arctic grayling does not excavate a nest, the highly energetic courtship and mating tends to kick up fine material which covers the zygotes. The zygote is small (approximately 3 mm or 0.1 in in diameter) and the embryo will hatch after two to three weeks. The newly hatched embryo remains in the substrate until all the yolk has been absorbed. They emerge at a length of around 12 to 18 mm (0.5 to 0.7 in), at which time they form shoals at the river margins. The juveniles grow quickly during their first two years of life.

Idaho Fish & Game McCall Hatchery

Species Production – Summer Chinook salmon is the primary species produced at McCall hatchery. A resident species program operates during the summer months, producing small fish for statewide mountain lake stocking, and redistributing catchable size rainbow into local area waters. https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish-identification

The Plan was for Joe Williams with his stock to drive up to the Pistol Lake trail head north east of Landmark on FR – 447 on Thursday October 15, and Rob Adams to meet Fish and Game on Friday the 16 to shuttle the fish to the trail head. Arrangements were made to meet F&G in Cascade on Friday morning at 08:00 at Grandma’s dinner. At 07:50 the F&G truck arrived and eight 3 gallon bags of fish were quickly loaded into coolers in Rob’s truck.  The drive from Cascade to the trail head takes around 90 minutes and when Rob Arrived Joe was just finishing saddling his stock.

A bit of air was removed from each bag and the fish were loaded into some ridged pack boxes and the rest of the loads were hung and within 60 minutes of Rob’s arrival Joe was loaded and heading down the trail for the 7 mile ride into 44 Lake.Joe reported on Sunday, that the fish did well and only a few didn’t hit the lake water and quickly disappeared into its depths.  In a couple of years there should be some good Grayling fishing in this remote mountain lake.

18. October 2020 · Comments Off on IWF – Keep Idaho Public · Categories: Around The Campfire

18. October 2020 · Comments Off on LNT – For Stock Users · Categories: Education

Leave No Trace Stock Users Education Program

Leave No Trace (LNT) was created by the US Forest Service in the 1960’s, when recreation on public lands increased significantly, with a corresponding level of damage to those wild places.  Then in the early 1990s, the Forest Service worked with the National Outdoor Leadership School to develop hands-on, science-based minimum impact education for non-motorized recreational activities.To educate, encourage, and solicit active participation in the wise and sustaining use of the back country resources by horsemen and the general public.

This statement is the basis for the BCHA LNT Stock Users Education Program. The BCHA Board has directed that we become the primary trainer of stock users in LNT principles and practices nationally. To that end the LNT Master’s Education Program was established. The program is a partnership between BCHA, State and Affiliate Members, the US Forest Service and LNT Inc.

BCHA coordinates, manages and monitors the program in cooperation with State and Affiliate memberships. Qualified BCH members are selected to become LNT Master Educators.

The students are taught and teach the LNT Principles and Practices outlined in the LNT Master Educators Handbook. Upon completion of the course the Master Educators teach Train the Trainer courses in cooperation with the local BCH units. The LNT Trainers then put on LNT Awareness Workshops. Twenty of our state and affiliate memberships have already had a member attend the Master Educator Course.

BCH of California Takes the Lead with Leave No Trace Stock Use Education

Back Country Horsemen of California (BCHC) is being nationally recognized for our leadership in Leave No Trace education of stock use. In 2015 they were awarded the contract to provide the only Leave No Trace Stock Master Educator course in the country. BCHC earned this remarkable opportunity through hard work, sustained effort in promoting environmental friendly land use with stock. The classes will be taught by BCHC’s Wilderness Riders and Master Educators of LNT.

Back Country Horsemen of California provides the “Leave No Trace” Stock Course regularly every April, it is switched from Northern California to Southern California each year as well as offering additional classes as the needed. For details on the BCHC 2018 LNT Master Class you’ll find it here. They also can provide a Team of Instructors to travel to your State under special arrangements. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, contact Back Country Horsemen of California through their website www.bchcalifornia.org, or contact Stacy Kuhns lnt@bchcalifornia.org

The focus of our training and education activities are the seven LNT Principles:

  1. Plan and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

Leave No Trace for Horsemen Video

On December 31, 1863, Owyhee County became the first county organized by the Idaho Territorial Legislature. While Boise, Idaho, Nez Perce and Shoshone counties were organized under the laws of Washington Territory, they were not recognized by the Idaho Territory until February 1864. The original county seat at Ruby City was moved to nearby Silver City in 1867.

The name, Owyhee, comes from early fur trappers. In 1819, three natives from Hawaii, part of Donald McKenzie’s fur-trapping expedition, were sent to trap a large stream that emptied into the Snake River. When they did not return, McKenzie investigated and found one man murdered in camp and no sign of the others. The stream was named in their honor. “Owyhee” is an early spelling for the word Hawaii. The Oregon Trail, the earliest road in the area, was used by emigrants for over 30 years on their long trip to the Oregon country. The part of the Trail in Owyhee County was known as the South Alternate Route or “dry route”. The Owyhee road was shorter but much harder than the main trail. Gold was discovered in rich placer deposits in the Owyhee Mountains in May, 1863. A search for the source of the gold led to quartz ledges on War Eagle Mountain. Before the fall of 1863 several hard rock mines were being developed. Three towns grew to supply the miner’s needs. Booneville, Ruby City and Silver City were the first three settlements in the county. Only Silver City still stands, its well-preserved buildings a silent testimonial to the lively mining days. The beautiful ruby silver ore and the wealth of gold taken from the mountains made the mining district world famous. While Ruby City was named the first county seat, its population and businesses soon moved to a better location two miles upstream on February 1, 1867. Silver City was closer to most of the mining operations and had a better winter location. In 1934, after the decline of mining, the county government was moved to Murphy, more central to the livestock and agricultural sections of the country.   READ MORE                    MORE History

On Sunday October 11, 2020 12 members and guest of the Squaw Butte Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Idaho meet at the Diamond Basin parking lot and corrals, south of Murphy, ID.

This area is popular with a number of outdoor groups and users. During the day we meet a Jeep club, dirt bike riders, mountain bikers, 4-wheelers and of course horse back riders. All were courteous and no conflicts arose. This country is cross-crossed with dirt roads and single track trails and most of it is BLM managed land with a number of private in-holdings.

At a lunch break at a small cabin with water for horses, we met up with a jeep club. They were working on one of the Jeeps which had ingested some water at the creek crossing. We followed them as they left watching them do their best to roll over on some sections of the road they were following.  The  group  rode  a bit  over  10  miles  and  were  back  at  the  trailers  by  16:00  Great  day  had  by  all!

01. October 2020 · Comments Off on Wilson Corral Tr-135 – Boise National Forest · Categories: Work Parties and Projects

The Wilson Corrals Trail passes through open conifer/aspen forests and travels an open ridge to an arm of Wilson Peak before descending to Squaw Creek. The Wilson Corrals Trail starts a 1/2 mile up FS Road 653Q. The trail passes through open forest and onto an open ridge.

The trail follows along the Third Fork of Squaw Creek at first and then turns onto Squaw Creek. The trail crosses this small creek five times, passes a dispersed campsite at 1.0 miles and then breaks into the open before crossing FS 653Q at 1.2 miles. Cross the road and then look for the evident trail.

The trail slowly gains elevation and reaches a small meadow at 2.7 miles. At 3.6 miles, the trail reaches a large open ridge. Part way up the ridge the trail becomes faint, but just look for blazes and rock cairns or follow the trail on the Hiking Project mobile app. The trail then heads down Wilson Peak, traversing a creek at 5.6 miles and comes to a small wet meadow at 6.0 miles. You’ll connect into the West Mountain Trail at mile 6.6.

At times, a lot of cows can be grazing in the area so beware of faint trails when in the open meadows. This trail is currently only cleared every three years by the FS, but the Idaho Youth Conservation Corps and the Back Country Horsemen are working to keep it cut out more often.


Area/Length : 5.3 Miles Latitude : 44.429579 Longitude : -116.211267

Sunday September 25, 2020 was much to nice a day to not be in the mountains. BNF Trail supervisor Savannah Steele had not been able to ride with Squaw Butte on our Boiling Springs project, so I texted her asking if she wanted to join me in the West Central Mountains for a day ride. Savannah arrived at my place in Sweet around 08:00 and we loaded up three horses and headed to Ola. Savannah had only visited this area of the Boise National forest once when we worked on the Poison Creek trail and was enjoying the drive up and learning more about the area. By 10:00 we were in the saddle and heading up the trail. The lower third of the trail had been worked on this year as their were fresh cut logs and fresh brushing. As we move further up the trail we encountered down trees and areas that needed brushing which we did.

By 14:00 we had reached the upper meadow and stopped for a quick lunch before heading back to the trailer.  Tucker the horse Savannah was riding wanted to share her lunch.  She rewarded him for the great ride with part of her apple.

Looking up towards Wilson Peak.