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Field reports: Clagstone Meadows timberland access to open Aug. 1

SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2017, 6 A.M.

new  TIMBERLANDS – Access easements will allow public access to the 13,169-acre Clagstone Meadows private timberlands in Bonner County, starting Aug. 1, the Idaho Fish and Game Department says. Under the terms of a new Forest Legacy conservation easement, the forested area will continue produce timber to local mills while it benefits wildlife, local economies, clean water and recreation and will be protected permanently, says J.J. Teare, regional wildlife habitat manager.

Bears, bruises and rain: 5 days in Glacier National Park

SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017, 6:30 A.M.

In this photo taken Sept. 7, 2016, Justin Larson looks out over Gunsight Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. (Lewis Kendall / Associated Press)
When someone tells you they spotted a 750-pound grizzly bear lurking around the same trail you are strolling, the typical response is to turn and head in the opposite direction. But backpacking in Glacier National Park, the rules are a bit different.

Bill Jennings: Upcoming weekend features competitions – one for cause and one for fun

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017, 6 A.M.

A pair of very different competitions will take place in the mountains this weekend. One is serious fun for the sake of a good cause. The other is seriously funny for the sake of having a party. I’ve had the privilege of participating in both events. Each experience was unforgettable in it’s own distinct way. The inspiring story behind 24 Hours of Schweitzer involves the dedication of a Sandpoint couple doing everything within their power for the survival of their son. The annual event is a ’round-the-clock skiathon that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars since Brian and Tricia Sturgis founded 24 Hours for Hank in 2009. The money supports research into a cure for Cystinosis, a rare congenital disease.

Ammi Midstokke: Dog parenthood for beginners

THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017, 7 P.M.

I have never had a dog. I seem like a dog sort of person, what with all my outdoorsing and needing Lassie to fetch help. I grew up with dogs but they never really belonged to me. They were those sort of dogs that someday were just there and so we fed them and they, for the most part, kept the cougars off the porch.

Mount Spokane: Backyard playground for Spokane families

THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017, 6:30 A.M.

Youngsters in the Spokane Ski Racing Association are on top of their game at the summit of Mount Spokane. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Mount Spokane is not a world-class peak, a 14er or one of the Seven Summits. It’s not even the highest mountain in Eastern Washington. But it serves a monumental role as the mountain in our backyard.

Ice traps vehicle at Sherman Pass trailhead

THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017, 6 A.M.

Helpers attach tire traction devices to a vehicle that couldn't get traction on the ice to get out of the Kettle Crest Sno-Park lot at Sherman Pass on March 19. (SHUWEN WANG / SHUWEN WANG PHOTO)
On Sunday, a slick trap was waiting for unsuspecting backcountry snowshoers headed into the Sno-Park lot at the top of Sherman Pass, Washington’s highest highway pass for winter recreation.

Slides, washouts common in saturated forests

THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017, 5:30 A.M.

A March rockslide blocking the Selway River Road in Idaho is sized up by Forest Service staff. (U.S. FOREST SERVICE / COURTESY OF U.S. FOREST SERVICE)
Hikers, anglers, mushroomers, hunters and other visitors to public lands this spring should be extra wary of the possibility of roads blocked by landslides, downfall, rockfall, washouts and flooding.

More rain will keep water levels up

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017, 3:52 P.M.

Another storm in the forecast for Friday should keep rivers flowing fast for the coming weekend into next week.

Alan Liere’s fish and game report for March 23

UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017, 5:23 P.M.

Fly fishing Amber Lake should be ice free by the weekend, and even if it’s not, fly fishermen are having decent success in open water near the launch. The north shore of Medical Lake has enough open water to fish, but the ice will probably last longer than at Amber.

Idaho rafting outfitters buoyed by rivers outlook

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017, 6:30 A.M.

Paddlers on a guided whitewater trip head down a remote stretch of the Owyhee River in Idaho. (Courtesy / Courtesy of Barker River Adventures)
Mother Nature blessed Idaho with deep snow in the mountains this winter, ranging from 98 percent to 180 percent of normal statewide, setting up an outstanding year for fishing and whitewater boating on the state’s world-class rivers.

Sportsmen fundraising for wildlife conservation

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017, 6:30 A.M.

Fly fishing films feature massive brown trout. (Derek Olthuis / DEREK OLTHUIS/WESTERN WATERS MEDIA)
Sportsmen’s groups are doing the hard work of gaining members and raising funds for all sorts of worthy projects, ranging from giving terminally ill kids a shot at fishing or hunting to improving critical habitat for mule deer and ducks.

Field reports: Field Reports: Cascades grizzly plan comment period extended

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017, 6 A.M.

THREATENED SPECIES – The public is being given more time to comment on proposals for restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades in Washington. The National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have extended the public comment period regarding the proposed alternatives for the restoration of grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem by 45 days, through April 28.

Bill would give WSU lead role on elk hoof disease

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017, 5:30 A.M.

An elk shot by during an August hunting season near Vader, Wash., had a foot deformed by hoof disease. (Courtesy of Larry Gitch)
Legislation directing Washington State University involvement in monitoring and assessing elk hoof disease in Southwest Washington got solid support Wednesday before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Walla Walla is all about reds, whites and the Blues

SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017, 6:30 A.M.

The Seven Hills Winery is housed in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford building in downtown Walla Walla. (John  Nelson / The Spokesman-Review)
Hey snow-sick Spokane: It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. Need an escape? Spring comes early to Walla Walla, where you can take a hike amid the wildflowers, go on a world-class bike ride, and if you aren’t finished with the snow, do some sunny skiing in the Blue Mountains.

Bill Jennings: Powder transitions to corn but still good skiing

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017, 6 A.M.

We’ve reached the final turn in the skiing and riding season. For me it came last week in boot top powder under the sun at Mount Spokane. I was among the lucky ones – a lot of them – who escaped the filthy, rotting snow that plagued a gray-clad city to enjoy the beauty of a mountain coated with thick white frosting against a backdrop of brilliant blue. The next day our climate took a giant step toward spring. A long run of stellar skiing and riding conditions, refreshed regularly, came to an abrupt end. Snow levels soared. Fog and rain rolled in, powder turned to cement. Hitting Mount Spokane for powder on Wednesday after two days of untouched snowfall was a great call at the time. Now it feels like a stroke of genius.

Mountain bikers urged to avoid rutting trails

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017, 11:45 A.M.

Mountain bikers were champing at the bit to get out on not-quite snow-free trails at BLM's Fishtrap Recreation Area on March 11, 2017. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Members of a local mountain biking group that devotes a lot of time to trail building and maintenance is asking other cyclists to take the high road in choosing ride routes when the ground is soggy.

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