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2012 Out & About

Sun., Dec. 30, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

Photo shows the east side of Chimney Rock in the Idaho Selkirk Mountains. The Forest Service has proposed in its 2011 draft management plan to remove wilderness recommendations for this popular backcountry recreation area in the upper Pack River drainage. 
 (Brad Smith / Idaho Conservation League)
Tons of rock rubbled litters the slope below the east face of Chimney Rock in the Selkirk Mountains east of Priest Lake. The rockfall was discovered July 5 by climber Zach Turner. (Zach Turner)

The threat of invasive zebra and quagga mussels getting into Inland Northwest waters intensifies. Idaho’s 15 mandatory boat inspection stations on highways entering the state intercept 57 boats that had mussels attached. That’s up from three boats found with mussels in 2009.

Massive rock fall in July wipes out a generation of climbing routes on the east face of Chimney Rock, a landmark on the Selkirk Mountains skyline east of Priest Lake.

Salmon fishing dream trips to Alaska are shattered as record-low fish runs force the state to close king salmon sportfishing in some rivers including the fabled Kenai. The state pledges $30 million to research the causes and cure for the economic disaster.

Elk hunters have a new option for hunting on private lands around Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge with raffle tags available through the Columbia Plateau Wildlife Management Area.

Weather, wolves, politics and the economy slam fish and game agency budgets, especially in Idaho and Montana, which lose millions of dollars in the second year of not being able to sell all of their formerly coveted non-resident big-game tags.

Colville Tribe fish and wildlife officers cite several Lake Roosevelt anglers for fishing without a tribal fishing license on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The tribe appears to be testing the limits of the 1994 Cassidy court case that supposedly assured non-tribal anglers the right to fish on Lake Roosevelt below the 1,310 elevation line, which was verified as federal public land.

Hunting by Reservation Only, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s new program for public access to 30,000 acres of private lands in Eastern Washington, fizzles because the agency can’t get the online service working on its web site. Participating farmers are paid with federal sporting access funds to participate in a program held up in cyber space.

Coyotes defending their pups on the South Hill bluff below High Drive send a strong message to pet owners to steer clear of their den and keep their dogs on leash. Several dogs running loose with their owners are bitten and required stitches.

International Fly Fishing Fair convenes in the Spokane Convention Center July 12-14, sponsored by the Federation of Fly Fishers.

Downhill mountain bikers seek revisions to the Mount Spokane master trails plan adopted two years ago to give them more access to the 120 miles of gated roads and trails in the 13,821-acre park.

Trespassing hunters face stiffer penalties as the Washington Legislature enacts a law giving wildlife officials authority to confiscate equipment, including rifles, used by a trespasser in the pursuit of game. The law also requires confiscation of the animal.

A fishing class for adults scheduled by state fisheries staffers and local volunteers for Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend in June – priced at just $10 for two sessions – is canceled for lack of participants.

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