Fall 2011 The latest conservation news from The Wilderness Society’s Idaho Program Volunteers convert roads to hiking trails in Idaho’s newest Wilderness area by Brad Brooks, Deputy Regional Director In June I was fortunate enough to help organize and participate in one of the first trail stewardship National Trails Day 2011. projects in one of Idaho’s Protecting wild places is core to newest Wilderness areas, our mission at The Wilderness Big Jacks Creek Wilderness. Society, but equally important The work was physically is providing access to and challenging — and richly enjoyment of our precious public rewarding. lands. That’s why we have been The Wilderness Society involved with the formation of spent nearly a decade the Idaho Trails Association, a working to protect this group that works to protect and rugged desert canyon maintain hiking trails throughout country, but the work years to come. While the Idaho. Photo by Joe Pickett. track road into a single track trail, doesn’t stop at designation. contributing 153 hours of volunteer physical work of building the trail labor. We hauled rocks, dug dirt, kept us busy, it was clear to the group The Parker Trailhead Project, that our efforts were about more filled in holes, and built over 150 sponsored by the Idaho Trails than just a trail— we were providing water bars. Association, REI and the Bureau of a conduit for people to enjoy Land Management, was an incredible For this group of dedicated wilderness. success. volunteers, it was an opportunity to get their hands dirty, perform their The most rewarding part of the From college students to retirees, 23 day came late in the afternoon, civic duty, and help build something volunteers traveled nearly 2 hours to when I decided to hike the newly that will be used and enjoyed by help convert 1.5 miles of an old two- created trail down into the Big Jacks hikers and horseback riders for continued on page 3 >>Idaho Update 1 The Wilderness Society-Idaho
Director’s corner Struggling Bighorns–Again–Face Recovery Threat By Craig Gehrke, Regional Director Idaho woolgrowers are asking for a special favor from Congress— Idaho’s bighorn populations can’t stopping bighorn sheep recovery. take five more years of diseases Under a provision authored by from domestic sheep. The Congressman Mike Simpson best available science tells in the Congressional FY2012 the public land managers Interior Appropriations leg- to separate the two species islation, public land managers – now – to prevent bighorn could only stand by for five years TWS is working with conserva- die-offs. and watch as domestic sheep mingle tion and sporting groups in Idaho, with bighorns in places like Hells Oregon and Washington to mount Canyon and the Salmon River Can- opposition to Congressman Simp- yon, exposing bighorns to diseases son’s anti-bighorn provision. Just when it looked like wildlife for which they have no immunity. managers in Idaho’s Hells and Salmon Currently, wildlife managers are River Canyons would give Bighorn sheep a chance to recover, a new removing domestic sheep from big- addition to the Interior Appropriations horn habitat in Hells Canyon and the legislation for 2012 would keep Salmon River Canyon. Congressman domestic and wild bighorn sheep Simpson’s provision would stop that together, despite scientific evidence effort. that domestic sheep transmit diseases continuing chronic die-offs of big- to bighorn sheep. horns. Just one contact between the species can wipe out an entire herd Forcing bighorns and diseased MISSION of bighorn sheep. domestic sheep together for To protect wilderness five more years guarantees a and inspire Americans Domestic sheep producers want downward spiral for Idaho’s to care for another five years to develop vac- struggling bighorn population. our wild places. cines. This is a stalling tactic to de- And Idaho’s bighorns are strug- lay the recovery efforts that Idaho’s gling. Population numbers are in bighorns need right now. In another Idaho Regional Office decline, and their numbers have 950 W. Bannock St | Ste five years, die-offs from domes- dropped by half in Hells Canyon 605 Boise, ID 83702 tic sheep diseases may well drive and the Salmon River Canyon ph 208 343-8153 Idaho’s bighorns past the point of no fax 208 343-8184 Published scientific literature is con- since 1990. wilderness.org clusive that domestic sheep transmit return. For woolgrowers, this solves diseases to bighorns, resulting in the problem, but robs Idahoans of Idaho Staff their wildlife heritage. Craig Gehrke Regional Director email@example.com Brad Brooks TAKE ACTION! Deputy Regional Director firstname.lastname@example.org Please tell Congressman Simpson not to delay John McCarthy bighorn sheep recovery! Idaho Forest Director email@example.com http://wilderness.org/content/wilds-central-idaho Michele Crist Please ask Rep. Simpson not to pursue any legislative efforts that will (Click on the ‘imperiled bighorn sheep’ link to take action!) Landscape Ecologist firstname.lastname@example.org put Idaho’s bighorns at risk or delay their recovery. Let him know Brenda Bielke you support recovery of Idaho’s iconic bighorn sheep populations. Conservation Associate email@example.comThe Wilderness Society—Idaho 2 wilderness.org
Partnerships on Boise National Forest benefit wildlife, watersheds, forests and communities After nearly a year of collaboration, about our public forests and we hope to By John McCarthy, Idaho Forest Program Director the citizen-led Boise Forest Coalition continue to partner with the coalition,” submitted recommendations on a said Marie Louise “ML” Smith, deputy restoration and recreation project that forest supervisor for the Boise National would help wildlife, recreationists, Forest. forest health and the local economy. John McCarthy, The Wilderness Society’s Project recommendations include Idaho Forest program director, is a key commercial thinning for wildlife participant in the collaborative effort, habitat and fuels reduction, bull trout along with active and retired foresters habitat connections, road and trail from the timber industry and the Forest improvements, road decommissioning, Service, mountain bike advocates, controlled burning and mountain bike motorized recreationists, local citizens, trail construction. other conservationists and Boise County The group focused on lower Clear Commissioner Jamie Anderson. Emmit Taylor of the Nez Perce Tribe watershed Creek in the Lowman Ranger District, The coalition recommendations, a staff points to the value of a bottomless arch about 75 miles northeast of Boise. The recommended, after some advance project area map, and a list of all culvert at Curtis Creek. Photo by John McCarthy. 25,000-acre project area could be one treatments, on about 700 acres. Timber participants are available at the Idaho of the first to implement the Wildlife cutting would be done from existing Forest Restoration Partnership website Conservation Strategy adopted by the roads or from temporary roads that are at: http://www.idahoforestpartners. Boise National Forest earlier this year. reclaimed after project completion. That strategy is designed to improve A new 15-mile mountain bike trail resources.html . org/planning-and-organizational- conditions for key wildlife species. along Miller Mountain Ridge, leading “By changing the forest structure into Clear Creek. is supported by the coalition members. The Wilderness Society organized though thinning smaller trees, and by LEGACY ROADS & TRAILS a day-long tour August 15th to the connecting bigger blocks of habitat, we “We think the group came up with good Upper South Fork Salmon River, in should see more favorable conditions ideas on a broad range of issues and we cooperation with Boise National for woodpeckers, owls and elk,” said look forward to examining their ideas Forest to show Congressional staff Michele Crist, forest ecologist for The in a project design for the area,” said from Idaho the work that’s being Wilderness Society and member of the John Kidd, Lowman District Ranger. accomplished with Legacy Roads and Coalition. “We will now start the NEPA (National Trails funding. Water quality, fisheries, The coalition recommends thinning Environmental Policy Act) process, to recreation, roads and trail benefits on about 1.000 acres for habitat do the environmental review, and to were evident and demonstrate how, restoration, another 250 acres for involve any interested member of the with a combination of funding and protection of summer homes and public, before we make any decisions.” partnerships, public land and water the Park Creek Campground, and “The Boise National Forest appreciates improvements are possible under another 700 acres to maintain forest the hard work and creative thinking challenging conditions and tight conditions. Controlled burns are also from the citizens who care so much budgets. From roads to Wilderness trails from page 1 Creek Canyon. On the way I passed two Yes, we were building a trail, but building a families that had ventured out on their trail is about much more than the path, it’s own to experience the wilderness, using about creating a legacy that will long outlive the trail we had just built. One family had my existence, and that’s what keeps me three young children, only two of whom going. could walk. The family didn’t know me or that I had spent time helping protect this landscape, but it didn’t matter and I didn’t To volunteer for a project or get more care. Watching that family hike down the information on the Idaho Trails Association: trail into the canyon gave me a great sense firstname.lastname@example.org of accomplishment. www.idahotrailsassociation.orgIdaho Update 3 Fall 2011
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAI D Idaho Regional Office BOISE, ID950 W. Bannock Street Suite 605 Boise, Idaho 83702 PERMIT NO. 220ph 208 343-8153 | fx 208 343-8184 wilderness.org Printed on recycled paper. Bo Wilmer, TWS landscape ecologist will continue to appreciate and protect Idaho’s wild lands in his work post-TWS. Photo by Craig Gehrke. Farewell to Bo Wilmer Idaho Trails Assocation, REI and the Bureau of Land Management After 11 years in the “Bo has made a teamed up for Nationals Trail Day June 4th to modify the two-track research department of tremendous difference trail into a hiking trail in the Big Jacks Wilderness Area in SW Idaho. The Wilderness Society, in our work in Idaho, This photo and photo on page 3 by Joe Pickett. Story on page 1. ecologist and GIS guru Bo solidifying TWS’s Wilmer has accepted a new reputation for reliable position with a consultant and accurate analysis. Bo’s landscape analysis firm working with the work has signicantly National Forest Service. contributed to our efforts Bo’s analysis and mapping in defining Central Idaho work for our central Idaho as an important landscape restoration and wilderness for restoration and efforts were invaluable. We protection. We’re going will miss him immensely, to miss his humor and but are glad he will and his enthusiasm. He leaves big family are staying in Idaho. sandals to fill,” said Craig Gehrke, Regional Director.