OUTSURPRISE – For the first time in more than a century, a wild horse has given birth on Flathead Lake’s Wild Horse Island.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released four wild black mares in June, the first female horses on the island.
Wild Horse Island State Park policy calls for a maximum of five wild horses to run free on the island’s 2,164 acres. The horses are far outnumbered by bighorn sheep and mule deer.
The diaries of explorer John Mullan noted in 1854 that local Indians kept horses on the island to protect them from rival tribes.
But the tiny herd is not supposed to reproduce. Instead, the numbers are replenished every couple of decades as older horses die.
The birth was a surprise. Officials didn’t know one of the mares was pregnant before its release on the island.
Lewiston still rides tall as sportsman’s town
OUTRATED – Bend, Ore., is tops and Lewiston is sixth in Outdoor Life magazine’s list of the “Top 200 Towns for Sportsmen” for 2011, released this week.
Lewiston, flanked by the Clearwater and Snake rivers, was ranked No. 1 in 2009 and No. 4 last year.
Spokane ranked No. 184 in 2009 but dropped off the list this year.
The magazine bills its list as the best places for those who love the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. Quality of life, gun friendliness and suitability for families are factors.
The magazine gave greater consideration to towns that boast low unemployment rates, high household incomes and low cost of living.
Other Inland Northwest towns in the list and their rankings include: Sandpoint (32), Kalispell (38), Moses Lake (56), Orofino (60), Dillon, Mont. (61), Coeur d’Alene (79), Missoula (82), Salmon, Idaho (85), and Winthrop, Wash. (99).
Mondays are happy days for Sandpoint hikers
OUTBOUND – The Bonner County Monday Hikers have been heating their heels on roads and trails every Monday since 1991, says Rosalyn Clark of Sandpoint. She emailed to note the group was left out of last Sunday’s list of area hiking groups.
“We’re loosely organized, but we have eight or sometimes 30 to 50 on an outing,” she said.
“Every Monday we decide where we’ll hike the next Monday, rain or shine. We’re mostly older people, but not all of us. You just need to have Mondays free.”
Kayakers in Antarctica
OUTPADDLE –Bill and Debbie Pierce of Spokane Valley will present images of their 18-day voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctica Peninsula in a free program Monday, 7 p.m., at the Corbin Community Center, 827 W. Cleveland Ave.
From their mother ship, they kayaked with penguins and seals, explored rugged coastlines and icebergs, visited abandoned whaling stations and hiked in the steps of Ernest Shackleton.
Pontoon safety class set
OUTFLOAT – The Spokane Fly Fishers has organized a Pontoon Boat Safety Class that involves a classroom session followed by field sessions on a lake and on moving water.
The evening classroom session is Thursday followed by a water session on Saturday.
The class is open to a limited number of nonmembers.
Contact: Don Tietz, (509) 292-8292.
UPDATED with local reaction 2:05 p.m. PUBLIC LANDS -- Acting quickly after Monday's committee approval, the U.S. Senate today unanimously approved a bill to officially designate the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness ...