Outdoors Blog

Herbicide will be sprayed near Table Rock; volunteers still needed

UPDATE: Rehab professionals will apply a herbicide with ATVs the week of Oct. 24 to areas where invasive species are the dominant plant cover in the Table Rock area, the city of Boise announced Oct. 20. Spraying will occur on properties owned by the Idaho Department of Lands and the city. The herbicide will be visible with a purple dye. Trail users are asked to avoid the treated areas for at least 24 hours.

Trails within the Table Rock Reserve may be obstructed intermittently while the work is done. Signs will be posted to notify users about the work.

Here is a map showing where the herbicide will be used.

The city still is looking for volunteers to help plant sagebrush and bitterbrush. Details are in the original post below.

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The city of Boise needs volunteers Oct. 29, Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 to help plant sagebrush and bitterbrush on the Table Rock Reserve that burned this past summer.

Shifts begin at 9 a.m. and run for four hours. You can sign up here, or contact Jerry Pugh at jpugh@cityofboise.org.

Idaho Fish and Game also has volunteer opportunities to rehab land from several fires, including the Table Rock and Mile Marker 14 fires in the Boise River Wildlife Management Area. A full schedule of those opportunities, and contact information, is available here.

‘Outdoor Idaho’ begins 34th season

“Outdoor Idaho” returns for its 34th season Thursday on Idaho Public Television. “The Outfitters” airs at 8 p.m. It repeats at 7 p.m. Sunday.

The show profiles some of the outfitters in the state with an emphasis on their lives and challenges.

“I had a woman once tell me that she got out of her tent in the middle of the night and looked up at the canopy of stars over her head, and her soul expanded,” said Doug Tims, who spent 27 years as an outfitter. “That soul-expanding experience goes home with people and allows them to be the champions for wild places in the future. So keeping alive that constituency and support of wild places, that's our biggest challenge, and that’s what needs to be our biggest role.”

Fire affects hunting units

From Fish and Game:

— In response to a wildfire that burned about 75 percent of the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area near Idaho Falls, Idaho Fish and Game is offering special controlled hunts with 500 antlerless deer tags and 500 antlerless elk tags to be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at 10 a.m. Thursday.

— The Boise National Forest expects to ignite a prescribed burn in a portion of Unit 39 (near Arrowrock Reservoir), which means a small portion of the unit will be closed to public access during the project.

Sawtooth creek gets protection

From Sawtooth National Forest:

Western Rivers Conservancy and the Sawtooth National Forest have successfully conserved 619 acres of land along Pole Creek, one of the Sawtooth Valley’s highest priority salmon spawning streams and a key tributary to the Salmon River.

The project protected over a mile of Pole Creek, which is designated Critical Habitat for Chinook salmon, summer steelhead and bull trout along most of its length. It also conserved a short reach of the mainstem Salmon River, near the confluence with Pole Creek.

WRC purchased the property earlier this year, and conveyed the lands to the Sawtooth National Forest Service for stream and riparian restoration and permanent protection within the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

“The Salmon River is one of Idaho’s greatest natural treasures,” said Dieter Erdmann, Interior West Program Director for WRC. “And conservation of its important headwater spawning tributaries like Pole Creek will ensure that the Salmon River’s fish, which migrate further than nearly any other anadromous fish in the world, stay with us forever.”

Pole Creek is located on the eastern side of the Sawtooth Valley, just below Galena Summit. Unlike streams on the western side of the valley, Pole Creek originates from sedimentary geology in the White Cloud range. It therefore carries a relatively high nutrient load that sustains abundant insect life and excellent riparian habitat. The result is outstanding spawning and rearing habitat for salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the headwaters of one of the finest rivers in the West.

Durrance Loop Trail near Ketchum could become permanent

From Sawtooth National Forest:

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is seeking public input on a proposal to amend the Blaine County Recreation District’s (BCRD) Special Use Permit to permanently add the groomed “Durrance Loop Trail” to the North Valley Trail System.

The 4.3 mile Durrance Loop Trail begins at the Sawtooth NRA Headquarters parking lot and proceeds east in the flats beneath what is known locally as Durrance Mountain. The trail is open to “fat bikes” and Nordic skiers, including skiers with dogs. The trail has been groomed the past three winters under a temporary authorization. This proposal is to make the authorization part of BCRD’s long-term permit.

Durrance Mountain is very popular with backcountry skiers and the groomed Nordic trail twice crosses the normal “skin track” used to access the mountain, but no issues have arisen from past grooming.

For more information or to comment on this proposal please contact Ed Cannady at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area Headquarters, 5 North Fork Canyon Road, Ketchum, ID, 83340, or at (208) 727-5000. Comments should be sent to Sawtooth National Recreation Area: Attn: Durrance Loop Trail Project, 5 North Fork Canyon Road, Ketchum, ID 83340; phone (208) 727-5000; FAX (208) 727-5029; or mailed electronically to: ecannady@fs.fed.us. Comments will be most helpful if received before Oct. 24, 2016.

Snowmaking action

Tamarack Resort tested its snowmaking equipment earlier this week with temperatures down to 19 degrees at the base. Here’s a look. For the test, the resort converted 350 gallons of water per minute into snow. At full capacity, that number jumps to 1,100 gallons per minute.

Also, check out the final installment in Tamarack’s video series on improvements to the ski hill.

Quick hits

New perk for State Parks Passports: Idaho State Parks Passports will provide free parking for all events held at the Ford Idaho Center. The $10 Idaho State Parks Passport has always provided unlimited day-use access to Idaho’s 30 state parks.

Creepy critters at Deer Flat: Kids of all ages are invited to put a little nature into Halloween at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge’s Creepy Critter Encounters from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Attendees can see live animals such as reptiles and insects. Visitors can also learn about creatures of the refuge on a spooky hike, create Halloween crafts, and listen to spooky stories. Before the close of the event, visitors are welcome to hoot for owls and howl for coyotes. Costumes are welcome.

Restrooms closing: The city of Boise has started closing restrooms in parks for the winter. Fifteen remain open through the winter, at major parks such as Ann Morrison (near the playground), Camel’s Back, Fort Boise, Julia Davis (Agriculture Pavilion), Kathryn Albertson (main parking lot) and Marianne Williams. Portable restrooms are available in some other locations.

Film festival benefits Sawtooth Avalanche Center: The 5Point On The Road Film Festival is at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Egyptian Theatre in Boise. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets available here.

Mountainfilm on Tour visits Egyptian, too: Mountainfilm on Tour shows at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children or students at Eventbrite.com.