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Cross-Country Skiers Should Glide With Care

There’s a dirty brown swath through some of the best early skiing in memory at the Mt. Spokane Sno-Park’s Nordic trail system.

A contractor received permission from State Parks engineers Monday to remove logs from construction of a new trail around Quartz Mountain, said Pete Wood, park manager.

The contractor hoped to finish skidding the logs to the Nova Hut area so they could be hauled out today, Wood said.

Plowing the road, which becomes the Alpine Trail during winter, essentially bisects the 15-kilometer cross-country trail system. Skiers should be able to step down across the road in several places and ski most of the trail system with little additional interference, Wood said.

Glitches slow computer permitting

One year into the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s computerized license-vending experiment, the agency still is not paying the machines’ contractor for the service because of glitches.

In at least 300 cases this year, the machines issued “either-sex” permits to hunters who had drawn permits for antlerless-only hunting units.

Fish and Game officials had to write hunters informing them of the mistake.

Nearly all of the problems have been corrected, but the department will not pay the contractor, G-Tech, a penny for the system until it works without a hitch, said Fish and Game spokesman Virgil Moore.

Groups denounce ‘fear campaign’

Last week, the Hells Canyon Alliance, which represents jet boaters, launched a statewide tour and media blitz designed to drum up opposition to the Forest Service’s proposed restrictions on power boating on the Snake River in Hells Canyon. This week, rafting outfitters, the Forest Service and Hells Canyon preservationists are complaining about it.

“It’s part of a fear campaign,” said Bob Richmond, supervisor at the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Richmond complained that the ads imply that the Forest Service is going to ban power boats from the entire length of the Snake River. The restrictions apply only to boating in Hells Canyon.

Poaching rewards

The Citizens Against Poaching organization (CAP) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to charges against individuals involved in a string of elk killings around Idaho.

The group will also pay a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of people who shot and left five beef cows in the southeastern part of the state.

People with information can contact either their local Idaho Department of Fish and Game office, the CAP hotline at (800) 632-5999, or the Bureau of Enforcement at (208) 334-3736.

Idaho state senators James Risch and John Andreason said they will propose legislation mandating tougher poaching penalties. The Idaho Wildlife Federation announced the proposed legislation at a Nov. 20 news conference. Under such stiffer penalties, flagrant violations of poaching laws would result in vehicle confiscation, the loss of hunting privileges for life, and higher fines.

Easement applications

Easements for existing ditches, canals, reservoirs, headgates, pipelines, or other “water conveyance facilities” across Idaho land managed by the U.S. Forest Service must be applied for by Dec. 31.

Info: Steve Johnson, Idaho Panhandle National Forest headquarters at (208) 765-7224.

Commissioners meeting moved

The Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners have opted to move their Dec. 4 meeting to the Jordan D Ballroom at Boise State University in the student union building. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

Cabins for rent

Snowmobilers and cross-country skiers can rent 18 cabins in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest near Dillon, Mont. The overnight season begins Dec. 1.

Rental rates for the backcountry sanctuaries are generally between $15 and $20 a night. For information, call the ranger station at Dillon at (406) 683-3900.

, DataTimes

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