Field reports: Campgrounds, boat ramp closed for summer repairs
PUBLIC LANDS – Campers and boaters will be affected by spring-summer renovation projects announced this week at three popular area recreation sites.
Boundary Dam’s second season of maintenance has forced closure of the dam’s forebay campground, possibly through August.
Seattle City Light expects to keep the boat launch open for access to the Pend Oreille River reservoir during the work, but short restrictions might be needed.
Designated parking areas will be available within the recreation area, but parking spaces closest to the boat launch and construction area will be closed.
Reinstallation of a dam sluice gate will require another deep reservoir drawdown in August or September. Last year’s drawdown to remove the gate exposed Metaline Falls for the first time in 27 years.
Other popular recreation sites closed for renovation this summer include:
• Outlet Campground at Priest Lake.
• Killarney Lake boat launch along the lower Coeur d’Alene River.
Program updates research on area fishers, wolverines
WILDLIFE – Two researchers will update what they learned from studies on fishers and wolverines in the Cabinet and Selkirk mountains during a free program Thursday, 6 p.m., at the East Bonner County Library in Sandpoint.
Idaho Fish and Game Department biologists Lacy Robinson and Michael Lucid, along with area volunteers on snowshoes and snowmobiles, have been setting bait stations and cameras in remote areas to survey for the elusive members of the weasel family.
Programs this week cover paddling, wilderness
OUTDOORS – REI in Spokane has scheduled two free outdoors-related programs this week starting at 7 p.m.:
Monday – Kayak 101: Intro to Kayaks and Kayaking, presented by The Spokane Mountaineers paddling group.
Covers types, styles and materials for kayaks, difference between flatwater (sea and lake kayaking) and river kayaking. Learn what to look for when renting or purchasing a kayak and related gear.
Wednesday – Exploring Northwest Washington’s Columbia Highlands, a multimedia program by Conservation Northwest and several related groups.
Explore uncrowded, wildlife-rich portions of the Colville National Forest, and learn why groups are working to protect them as wilderness.
Sign up to reserve a seat in the limited space available for these free presentations: rei.com/Spokane/
Idaho makes plans to reduce wolf numbers
PREDATORS – Although the fall seasons have not been set, Idaho started selling wolf tags this week – $11.50 for resident, $186 for nonresidents.
Tags became available shortly after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed wolves in Idaho and Montana from the endangered species list. The rule gives the states management control but maintains federal guidelines.
Idaho aims to act quickly on its plan to kill up to 60 wolves in the Lolo zone, a northcentral hunting area where wolves have contributed to a steep decline in elk. Aerial shooting likely will be employed.
Although official estimates put Idaho’s wolf population at 705, Idaho Fish and Game officials say the number after this year’s crop of pups may exceed 1,000.
During the first season of revived wolf hunting two years ago, Montana hunters killed 73 wolves; Idaho killed 188.
Biologist ends record career
OUTDOOR JOBS – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist Tony Eldred, 77, of Wenatchee retired last month just shy of 60 years after he landed his first summer job with the state of Washington.
He was honored in Olympia as the longest-serving state employee of all time — serving 53 consecutive years, not including summer jobs and a two-year stint in the Navy. Most recently, he was the agency’s liaison with utilities.