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Out & About

It’s prime time to hit the trail

OUTFIELD – Delayed by a late spring and lingering snow, Forest Service crews are just now finishing up clearing logs off the region’s most popular backcountry trails.

More than 170 miles of trails on the Colville National Forest Sullivan Lake and Newport districts had been cleared as of last week, said Sam Cook, trail maintenance coordinator.

That paves the way for seasonal crews to focus on labor-intensive projects. Volunteer groups also are helping in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness this week.

Boosted by federal stimulus funds, other Inland Northwest forests, notably the Clearwater and Umatilla, are hiring contractors and making huge dents in backlogged trail maintenance this summer.

Guns no match for pepper spray

OUTSMART –In Glacier National Park, where violent crime is essentially nil, most people think of grizzly bears when they think of imminent danger.

But records show that between 2005 and 2009 – when Glacier Park visitation totaled nearly 10 million people – only three visitors were injured by grizzlies. None was killed, and none used bear spray to counter the attack.

However, in case of an encounter, the Park Service, along with state and federal wildlife agencies, highly recommends the use of pepper spray rather than guns when faced with a bear, noting several studies proving the spray to be far more effective than a bullet in diverting or stopping a charging bear.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “evidence of human-bear encounters even suggests that shooting a bear can escalate the seriousness of an attack.”

An agency review of bear attacks shows injuries more frequent and more severe when a gun was used than when spray was deployed.

See a TV interview with celebrity wildlife expert Jack Hanna after he used pepper spray to deter a grizzly recently in Glacier National Park:

South Hill pulls together

OUTDO – Fans of the South Hill Bluffs trails plan to gather Monday, 6 p.m.-sunset, near Bernard Street and High Drive to test a method of controlling invasive species by hand-cutting the rush skeleton weed along a stretch of one of the popular trails.

Join the group: contact Diana Roberts, WSU Spokane County Extension, 477-2167 or e-mail

Bring sturdy garden clippers, work gloves, hiking boots, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts, plus water.

Please, no dogs or kids under 12.

Idaho needs help tracking wolves

OUTSEE – Citizen observers can boost Idaho Fish and Game gray wolf research by reporting any wolf observations they have in the field.

The most useful observations include detailed descriptions as well as locations, such as GPS coordinates, details on road or drainage as well as township, range and section.

A recent federal court ruling has canceled wolf hunting seasons for this fall.

Report wolf observations, using the form on the Fish and Game website:


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