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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Scotchmans’ student ranger grooms public on ways of the wilderness

The Scotchman Peaks roadless area northeast of Lake Pend Oreille isn’t an official wilderness, but it was served by a “wilderness ranger” this summer and gained a standout new trail built the wilderness way – by hand. “I could have got more done if I’d have carried a chain saw,” said Joe Zimmerman, 23, a University of Montana student. “But the goal is to teach people how to respect this area as wilderness, and that includes me.”

Celebrating 50 years of the Wilderness Act

Virtually everything was wilderness just 500 years ago in this country we call America. By the 1800s, progress had run rough-shod over the East and Lewis and Clark were sent out to explore the yet-undeveloped West.

Peaking in Wallowas

As we stood on the top of Oregon’s largest wilderness area, looking down upon mountains that spread across the horizon like rows of jagged teeth, we made a plan to celebrate by swimming in a lake partly covered by snow and ice. From the moment we’d entered the backcountry of the Wallowa Mountains it had been hot, and during the 3,400-foot gain in elevation to our campsite at Ice Lake – and the even steeper trek to the 9,826-foot summit of the Matterhorn that morning – we’d been marinating in a cocktail of sweat, sunscreen and bug dope.

Great Old Broads: Wilderness advocacy group hikes with a purpose

It was a little jarring at first when the group of tanned, dusty, “women of a certain age” cheerfully referred to themselves as “broads” as they gathered at the Lava Lake Trailhead on Friday. “When I talk about them at home my friends are like: ‘Broads?’ ” said Laurie Kerr, of Battle Ground, Washington. “But now it’s just kind of accepted.”

Canoeing the Boundary Waters

I was in my early 20s when my buddy and I launched our canoe into Seagull Lake off Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail – my first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Though that adventure was 40 years ago, I remember it vividly: drinking water from lakes, sitting around campfires under the stars, savoring the solitude of the wilderness.

Bull Lake to honor Wilderness Act anniversary this weekend

A Blackfeet Tribe troubadour and a former chief of the U.S. Forest Service are coming to the Inland Northwest to be part of a three-day event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. An impressive mix of wildlife experts plus entertainment and educational programs are scheduled tomorrow through Sunday, July 11-13, at the Bull River Rod and Gun Club at Bull Lake on State Highway 56 south of Troy and Libby, Montana.

Field reports: New Cabinet Mountains Wilderness map published

TRAILS – A new  Cabinet Mountains Wilderness map, featuring about 80 trails, has been published by conservation groups celebrating the  50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. “The last Forest Service wilderness map, published in 1992, is out of print and hard to find,” said Sandy Compton of the Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, one of several groups, agencies and businesses that worked on the project.

Film fest celebrates 50 years of wilderness

OUTFIELD – A free mini-film festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act is traveling through the Inland Northwest this summer. The beauty, history and adventure of wilderness areas, the highest level of protection offered for America’s public lands, is featured in 10 short films totaling an hour of entertainment suited to all ages. Screenings include:

2,700 miles later: Speed-hiking queen of the PCT

“I ’m not a particularly fast walker,”  Heather Anderson said – much to the relief of  her interviewer – as she hiked a North Idaho trail last week. “The difference between me and the thru-hikers who have a fast pace is that I walked 3 mph all day and into every night, averaging 5 hours of sleep, without a rest day.”

Adventure and rain await Olympic Peninsula hikers

Although the Olympic Peninsula is a short day’s drive from the Inland Northwest, it’s a different universe for local backpackers and hikers. The contrast isn’t simply about the fact that Olympic National Park and adjoining forest receives anywhere from 2 to 12 times as much rainfall as most inland hiking destinations. It’s about the environment all that water from the sky creates.

Scotchman Peaks group finds common ground for wilderness

In the often-divisive arena of wilderness policy, the Scotchman Peaks straddle many boundaries. The scenic mountain range between the Clark Fork and Bull rivers has more geopolitical lines dotting its map than a United Nations seating chart. About 20,000 of Scotchman’s 88,000 roadless acres lie in the Panhandle National Forest on the Idaho side of the border. The Kootenai National Forest in Montana has the rest. Three counties in two states have jurisdiction of the area.

Obama may bypass Congress to create national monuments

SAN FRANCISCO – Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said she will recommend that President Barack Obama act alone if necessary to create new national monuments and sidestep a gridlocked Congress that has failed to address dozens of public lands bills. Jewell said the logjam on Capitol Hill has created a conservation backlog, and she warned that the Obama administration would not “hold its breath forever” waiting for lawmakers to act.

Seven Devils: Hikers approve of God’s work above Hells Canyon

Three seasons of major forest fires have remodeled the scenery for backpackers who might be revisiting Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountains for the first time in a decade. But the Devils continue to be a heavenly destination for adventurers with the muscle power to get there.

Glacier Peak Wilderness hikers find nature untamed near hidden volcano

Holly Weiler was blunt in the Spokane Mountaineers calendar item about the August trip she was leading through the Glacier Peak Wilderness: “We’re hiking a loop –Trinity Trailhead (near Lake Wenatchee) to Buck Creek Pass, out to Image Lake, back past Lyman Lakes, and up and over Spider Gap to Spider Meadows. It’s beautiful AND it’s tough. Participants must be capable of hiking 10+ miles a day with a fully loaded pack while going up (and down ... and up again) over some tough mountain passes. Limited to six experienced backpackers. Bring the good camera equipment for this one! Also bring an ice axe for Spider Gap (and knowledge of how to use it).”

Glacier Peak Wilderness hikers find nature untamed near hidden volcano

Holly Weiler was blunt in the Spokane Mountaineers calendar item about the August trip she was leading through the Glacier Peak Wilderness: “We’re hiking a loop –Trinity Trailhead (near Lake Wenatchee) to Buck Creek Pass, out to Image Lake, back past Lyman Lakes, and up and over Spider Gap to Spider Meadows. It’s beautiful AND it’s tough. Participants must be capable of hiking 10+ miles a day with a fully loaded pack while going up (and down ... and up again) over some tough mountain passes. Limited to six experienced backpackers. Bring the good camera equipment for this one! Also bring an ice axe for Spider Gap (and knowledge of how to use it).”