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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Out & About

With  the success of wilderness bills in Congress, maybe the Scotchman Peaks area has a chance. (Conor Branski)
With the success of wilderness bills in Congress, maybe the Scotchman Peaks area has a chance. (Conor Branski)


VIPs rally for Scotchmans

Not just anyone is attending the annual “State of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness” event Tuesday at the new Ponderay (Idaho) Events Center (behind Sandpoint Furniture off the east entrance of Bonner Mall complex).

Congressman Walt Minnick, D-ID, and wilderness historian Doug Scott are scheduled to be involved in the free event from the start – which opens at 5 p.m. with a happy hour reception – before dishing out information and inspiration.

Friends of the Scotchmans will talk about their summer hike series, concerts and activities and update the effort to protect the 88,000-acre Scotchman Peaks roadless area.

Minnick will reflect on his first months in Washington, D.C., and the climate for public lands management in the new Congress.

Scott, a stalwart in the wilderness movement, will present a multimedia program on the history and dynamics of wilderness protection.



Balsamroots galore

Arrowleaf balsamroots are the native perennials lighting up this region’s landscape – and our lives – from the ponderosa pine forests to the scablands.

However, look closely for distinctions among the showy golden blooms.

A similar “Carey’s balsamroot” with non-woolly leaves is found primarily in the Columbia Basin.

The mule’s ear is similar to the arrowleaf in appearance but of a different genus. It’s not as common in this region as the arrowleaf.

Mule’s ear leaves are elliptical rather than arrowhead-shaped, and they produce two or more heads per stem.

Arrowleaf balsamroot leaves are woolly, giving them a grayish appearance, while mule’s ears are hairless and shiny.

Mule’s ear leaves also differ from the balsamroots in that they “clasp” the stem.


Hiawatha to open

The Route of the Hiawatha rail trail is scheduled to open for the season on Saturday.

Lingering snow prevented a Memorial Day weekend opener for the popular 15-mile bike route that follows the old Milwaukee Railroad grade along the Montana-Idaho border near Lookout Pass.

The trail includes 10 tunnels plus seven trestles as high as 230 feet. It will be open daily through early October, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Lookout Pass Ski Area runs shuttles for cyclists who want to pedal the trail downhill and catch a ride back to the trailhead. Visitors also can rent bikes, helmets and headlamps – mandatory for negotiating the darkness of the 1.7-mile-long Taft Tunnel. Reservations are suggested.

Info: (208) 744-1301.

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