Outdoors

Out & About: Boosting odds for river permits

OUTDRAW – The Forest Service is looking for ways to ease the pain of rafters who have a history of rotten luck when it comes to drawing coveted permits for the Selway and Middle Fork of the Salmon rivers.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest is surveying rafters to get their opinions on a weighted lottery roughly similar to what is used in many states for hunting permits.

The goal is to give unsuccessful participants increasingly better odds in permit lotteries for the two rivers for each year they fail to be drawn for coveted group permits in the busy summer season.

In the recently completed lottery, 9,847 people applied for 387 permits on the Middle Fork — drawing odds of 1-in-25. For the Selway, 2,933 applied for 62 permits for odds of 1-in-47.

Comment by March 15. Info: http://1.usa.gov/12m9d90.

Program highlights Owyhee River trips

OUTWRITE – Despite being one of the world’s most remarkable river canyon systems, the remoteness of the Owyhee River of southwest Idaho and Oregon allows it to remain one of the last best places in the lower 48 states in which adventurers do not require a permit.

Bonnie Olin, author of “Owyhee River Journals,” will present a free program and video at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7 at Jack & Dan’s Bar and Grill, Hamilton Street and Sharp Avenue. Olin and her husband/photographer Mike Quigley have years of experience floating and hiking the formidable dry Owyhee country. The video details their 2006 inflatable kayak trip on Deep Creek and the East Fork Owyhee River, which includes a hike along the rim of Black Canyon and down into Dickshooter Creek.

“The Owyhee will test you, remind you of your vulnerability and take your breath away with its great beauty,” Olin said.

Reserve a seat through Northwest Whitewater Association by email spokanerafterguy@comcast.net or phone/text (509) 220-8018. 

Tundra swans topic of speakers and tour

OUTFIELD – The Pend Oreille Valley Tundra Swan Festival is set for March 16, based out of the Camas Wellness Center, 1981 N. LeClerc Road in Usk.

Events include a tour to view swans at Calispell Lake followed by lunch and speakers on a range of bird and wildlife topics.

More than 200 tundra swans already were at the lake last week.

Preregister by March 8, porta-us.com/birding.



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