ST. MARIES – The St. Joe River isn't so shadowy anymore. Hundreds of cottonwoods that lined the banks along the lower portion of the river have drowned in recent years. Most of the trees have fallen and floated away. A few poke out of the shallow water, their bare trunks bleached like old bones. The dark soil also has melted into the water, turning the once-braided river delta into an open lake.
Shirley Lee, a diabetic with heart problems, woke well before sunrise Friday and drove 50 miles from Wallace, Idaho, to wait in line for a flu shot at Coeur d'Alene's Silver Lake Mall. After a two-hour wait, she got the shot and exhaled with relief.
The waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene no longer become calm after Labor Day weekend and the annual drawdown of the lake should be delayed until the end of September, according to a proposal from Coeur d'Alene-based Hagadone Corp. Avista Utilities currently begins lowering the lake level the week after Labor Day to create more space for spring runoff.
A new, narrow strip of asphalt spanning the Idaho panhandle is becoming a top draw for bicyclists. In its inaugural season, the 73-mile Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes drew at least 78,000 riders, according to estimates from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
Long before pioneers, loggers and wealthy retirees discovered the charms of Lake Coeur d'Alene, its shores were considered prime real estate. Going back thousands of years, families have lived along the lake, fishing for mammoth bull trout in its blue depths and digging water potatoes near the shore. Archaeologists are now gathering evidence of prehistoric lakeside dwellers. In some areas, remnants of ancient villages have been found buried under deep layers of sediment. Some sites, however, have yielded only small flecks of charcoal from prehistoric hearths.
If Thanksgiving dinner consisted entirely of creamed corn or canned green beans, more than 150 Post Falls families unable to afford a holiday dinner would be satisfied. That's about the only food not in short supply at the Post Falls Food Bank, said manager Cathy Larson. The nonprofit group is experiencing widespread food shortages because of a recent doubling of demand.
As grizzly bears crawl into their dens for a winter nap, a legal fight has begun over federal plans to ensure their long-term survival. The Lands Council of Spokane and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies of Missoula filed a lawsuit in federal court in Missoula on Monday accusing the U.S. Forest Service of failing to protect the Inland Northwest's endangered bear populations.
The first of the supposedly faster, sleeker Healthy Forest Restoration Act projects for Inland Northwest forests has recently been unveiled by federal land managers. Six projects are planned for North Idaho and two are in the works for northeast Washington.
A central Idaho ponderosa pine forest is giving scientists a rare glimpse at thousands of years of fire history. What they're seeing suggests a hot, fiery future where even the most ambitious fuels-thinning projects will be unable to halt intense fires brought on by global climate change, according to findings published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.
The mood was positively bipolar Wednesday. For most Idaho voters – namely the 68 percent who backed President George W. Bush – the morning dawned brighter than ever. But the rare, perfect fall day was lost on a good number of others, who saw only darkness following the Republican sweep.
After considerable head-scratching, Idaho Fish and Game officials agreed the green-eyed feline crouching quietly in a metal cage was a bobcat. But none of the experts could answer the central mystery: What was a wildcat doing in front of a Coeur d'Alene doughnut shop Monday afternoon?
Inland Northwest evergreens are turning red and dying because of a growing infestation of beetles and tiny caterpillars. Cycles of insect outbreaks have occurred for thousands of years, but some scientists believe decades of fire suppression have set the stage for infestations never before seen in modern times. And in the region's high country, a combined beetle and disease problem is threatening to wipe out a pine species that serves as the food foundation for a fragile ecosystem.
Nearly five months after the crime occurred, Idaho Fish and Game Department officials disclosed Friday that it is investigating the illegal shooting of a grizzly bear in Boundary County. Fresh remains of the adult male grizzly were found in early June near Hughes Meadows, which is in a remote area about three miles east of the Washington state line and nine miles south of the Canadian border. The Selkirk Mountain grizzly population is among the most endangered on the continent, with fewer than 40 bears thought to be remaining in the region's forests.
A young bald eagle hit by a logging truck has been returned to wilds of Idaho after a month's convalescence in a quiet Spokane Valley cage. The immature female was sitting in the middle of the road along the St. Joe River on Sept. 20 when a logging truck came around the bend and didn't have time to stop. The truck was hauling a full load of logs and its driver, Creig Hixson, knew better than to try and swerve.
There's nothing mundane about the election in Idaho's northernmost legislative district. One race features an unopposed, yet hard-campaigning incumbent. Another seat is being challenged by a phantom Democrat. The most heated race, for seat A of House District 1, pits an oceanographer against a former private investigator and a Navy veteran.
CLARKIA, Idaho -- On a dewy late-summer morning, a group of hikers set off to visit a wooded hillside in a remote North Idaho valley. They carried a measuring tape and a government map that claimed their destination was covered by 40 acres of old-growth forest. What the hikers found was a handful of stout, old trees, but even more stumps and hundreds of young, spindly trees. And even though some of the trees were large -- a few had trunks 18 inches across -- the specimens didn't meet the U.S. Forest Service criteria for old growth.
Stump Creek's gravel bed once served as the nursery for young trout. Now, the Hayden Lake tributary has become a prime playground for local trucks and jeeps. The creek has been rerouted in some stretches and now flows through deep, muddy truck tire ruts. Each storm sends torrents of mud downstream, suffocating aquatic life and turning Hayden Lake's aquamarine waters to the color of coffee.
Consider this a warning. In response to a jump in crashes and highway fatalities, Idaho State Police officers will begin turning up the heat on bad drivers next week on Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 95, said Capt. Wayne Longo.
Hundreds of senior citizens, many using walkers or wheelchairs, waited hours in a cold rain Friday morning in Coeur d'Alene for a last chance at a flu shot. "We're out here trading pneumonia for the flu shot," said a shivering Carl Grisier, of Coeur d'Alene, after waiting in line for two hours outside the Panhandle Health District office.
A single Asian gypsy moth found last month near Hauser, Idaho, has prompted an intense effort to prevent the voracious forest pest from becoming established in the Inland Northwest. With their ability for flight and their hunger for both deciduous leaves and evergreen needles, Asian gypsy moths are considered a much greater threat than their North American cousins, which have devoured Eastern hardwood forests. Until now, none of the Asian moths had been found in Idaho or Washington east of the Cascades.
Time and water are running out for an unknown number of fish trapped in a canal near the Grand Coulee Dam. Bass, walleye, trout and carp are trapped in the 1 1/2 mile-long canal that spills irrigation water pumped from Lake Roosevelt into Banks Lake.
After being injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq three weeks ago, Athol resident Spc. Ryan Rickel has returned to Fort Lewis, Wash., and is recovering quickly from his wounds, said his father, Randy Rickel. The 2002 Lakeland High School graduate was seriously injured when four pieces of shrapnel pierced his body armor and a fifth went through his arm. The concussion of the bomb blast was strong enough that Rickel's lungs collapsed, his father said.
Millions of scrawny, spindly trees choking Western forests could soon be harnessed as a clean source of renewable energy, according to researchers at the University of Washington. A process has been developed to quickly convert even the smallest trees and branches into methanol, which is used as a power source for fuel cell technology, said Kristiina Vogt, professor at the University of Washington's College of Forest Resources. All of this can be done without adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
A Spokane conservation group staked a mining claim across the street from one of Coeur d'Alene's most exclusive subdivisions Thursday, hoping to draw attention to what it considers outdated federal mining laws. The Lands Council named their official mineral lode claim, "Time for 1872 Law Reform," referencing a law that has received little update since its passage. The claim was staked on 20 acres of U.S. Forest Service land across the street from mansions overlooking Hayden Lake.