Outdoors Blog

Snowmobiler dodges avalanche; yurt event nets $12,225; Fish & Game revenue proposals

I’m back to work after a weeklong family vacation in the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon (more on that below). Here are some notes that came up while I was gone:

▪ Twice in a week, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area had to shut down the lifts because of lightning. On Sunday, there was a lightning strike near the tubing hill.

▪ Brett French at the Billings Gazette has a story on a snowmobiler who survived an avalanche near Yellowstone National Park by hiding behind his sled. Full story here.

▪ Don’t forget that it’s season pass week at several ski areas in the region. Here are the details on the sales at Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain and Tamarack.

▪ The Kegs 4 Kause event at Payette Brewing Co. to raise money for the Idaho City-area backcountry yurt system netted $12,225, Idaho State Parks and Recreation announced. Fire damage to the six yurts and associated 55 miles of trails was estimated at $200,000. State Parks and Rec lost more than $100,000 more in revenue from yurt closures (only two were open this winter) and decreased sales of Park N’ Ski passes. Leo Hennessy, the non-motorized trails coordinator for State Parks and Rec, hopes to have five yurts open next winter. The sixth, Whispering Pines, was a total loss and should be rebuilt by spring 2018, Hennessy said.

▪ Idaho Fish and Game is taking comments on proposed changes to big-game hunting seasons. Review the changes here.

▪ Idaho Fish and Game’s annual dance with the Legislature to try to increase revenue continues with a new plan: a $5 surcharge on resident hunting and fishing licenses and $10 surcharge on non-resident licenses. Half of the $2 million raised would go to the depredation program and the other half would improve access for sportsmen. The surcharge is in addition to the department’s Price Lock proposal, which already has been shot down once this year. Here’s the full story from Eric Barker at the Lewiston Tribune (subscription required).

▪ Another Idaho Fish and Game change could increase the amount of money from salmon and steelhead permit sales earmarked for improvements to that program. Originally, $4 of each $6 permit was set aside for the program. Permits have increased to $12.75 for residents and $25.75 for non-residents but the set-aside has remained $4. A proposal before the Legislature would change the set-aside to 50 percent. Here’s the full story on that from Eric Barker at the Lewiston Tribune (subscription required).

▪ The Stanley Sled Dog Rendezvous scheduled for Feb. 25-26 has been canceled because of highway closures in the area.

▪ If you’re headed to Central Oregon for winter recreation anytime soon, here are a few of the highlights from our trip. The new Cloudchaser lift at Mt. Bachelor was our favorite hangout during three days of alpine skiing. The blue runs were recommended for family-friendly skiing on our first day; the other two days, with several inches of fresh snow and high winds, it provided all-day access to powder and some protection from the fog and wind. The string of Sno-Parks along the road to Bachelor include some fun cross country skiing terrain (Virginia Meissner) and a large sledding hill (Wanoga) for $5 a day per car. We added some snow hiking (snowshoes weren’t needed that day) at the Potato Hill Sno-Park on Santiam Pass and traditional hiking at Smith Rock State Park northeast of Redmond. And of course Bend is known for its breweries — our meals at Deschutes Brewery’s Bend Public House and Worthy Brewing were hits.