Out & About: Idaho preparing Wildlife Summit

OUTLOOK – Idaho Fish and Game officials have scheduled an Aug. 24-26 conference – with regional and online participation – to get sportsmen and other state citizens to help tackle major challenges facing wildlife management.

The Idaho Wildlife Summit, set in Boise, will have concurrent satellite sites including Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston.

Much has changed in the 74 years since Idaho adopted professional wildlife management, says Virgil Moore, department director:

• The state’s population has tripled and two-thirds of the residents live in cities.

• Wildlife habitat has changed or disappeared.

• Invasive species compete against native wildlife.

• Idaho’s population has increased faster than the number of Idahoans who hunt and fish.

“While 80 percent of Idaho’s wildlife is not hunted or fished, hunters and anglers support most of the cost to manage all species through license and tag fees,” he said. “No general tax revenue goes to manage the wildlife we all enjoy.”

Moore calls the summit a start for exploring broader support for wildlife conservation and wildlife-related activities.

The summit will feature presentations by prominent wildlife and habitat authorities. On Aug. 25, participants will gather in rotating groups to discuss issues.

Participation is free, but registration is required for on-site attendance.

Info: fishandgame. idaho.gov/summit/.

Paddling events coming up on river

OUTDO – Two events that promote paddling sports are set this month along the Spokane River.

• Spokane River Festival for paddlers, Saturday, starting at 11 a.m., organized by local kayak and rafting groups at Glover Field in Peaceful Valley.

An evolution of the former Corbin Kick-off, the event offers a chance to see new boats and gear, join river tours and meet local whitewater enthusiasts. The date was incorrect in an Outdoors brief last Sunday.

• Paddle, Splash and Play, Aug. 18, another free event encouraging families to try craft such as canoes, kayaks, sea kayaks, inflatables, and stand-up paddle boards, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Nine Mile Recreation Area in Riverside State Park (Discover Pass required).

The event is sponsored by Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, Mountain Gear and Spokane Parks and Recreation.

Huckleberry hackers spoil future fruits

OUTLAW – The huckleberry bush, the most revered shrub in the Inland Northwest, is getting less respect as some berry pickers succumb to greed.

Nez Perce-Clearwater national forests report cases of pickers – shall we call them hackers? – cutting pickup loads of huckleberry brush so the berries can be picked later.

Forest officials say damaging or removing huckleberry bushes on national forests is illegal, with fines up to $5,000.

Huckleberries grow on the current year’s plant growth. If the bush is cut off at the ground, the plant generally is destroyed or outcompeted by other plants, reducing future berry crops.

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