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Outdoor writer to detail sexual harrassment in Colo. river-guiding industry at IOGA annual meeting

By Steve Stuebner

Jayme MoyeJayme Moye, a widely published outdoor journalist who wrote an exposé about sexual harassment in the river-guiding industry in Colorado and inside the National Park Service, Grand Canyon District, will be the lunch speaker on Thursday, Dec. 14th, during the 63rd annual meeting of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA) in Boise.

The IOGA meeting runs from Tuesday, Dec. 12, through Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, culminating with The Thaw Fundraiser, a super-fun dinner banquet and silent/live auction on the evening of Thursday the 15th, starting at 5:30 p.m. Here’s the full agenda.

Moye’s talk will be extremely timely considering the recent spate of sexual harassment charges that have led to the firings or resignations of prominent national people such as Charlie Rose of CBS News, Matt Lauer of the Today show, Hollywood executive producer Harvey Weinstein, and Garrison Keillor, host of the Prairie Home Companion, on Minnesota Public Radio. Numerous politicians also have been called out on the issue.

“Clearly, the river-guiding industry is a male-dominated business,” says Bob Volpert, co-owner of Idaho River Journeys, based in Salmon. “Moye will speak about her investigative stories about sexual harassment in the river-guiding business on Colorado rivers and on the Grand Canyon, and I think she’ll say it’s just the tip of the iceberg, and it’s probably happening on Idaho rivers as well.”

Volpert, a member and past president of the Middle Fork Outfitters Association, and other members drafted a policy statement in November 2016 about sexual harassment in the river workplace. It provided a list of suggested guidelines for outfitters to adopt to be proactive about the issue.

“I think her talk is going to get people stirred up a little bit about the issue,” Volpert said. “Hopefully, it’ll lead to some positive discussions.”

1-grandMoye said she will take the audience through the experience of investigating sexual misconduct inside the National Park Service agency, Grand Canyon District, which led her down a path to writing about sexual discrimination in the river-guiding industry in Colorado and broader complaints from women about sexual discrimination in the outdoor industry as a whole.

Moye details different levels of sexual harassment that occurred, from unwanted sexual advances, to inappropriate language, to complaints about guides sleeping with guests during a trip, to instances where if a female guide did not consent to a lead guide’s sexual advances, she might be relegated to taking care of the portable toilet or washing dishes.

Her reporting on these stories for Men’s Journal and other publications led to significant chatter about sexual discrimination on Facebook, and she was able to find good sources from those online discussions to meet with and interview, she said.

“Now we’re seeing an extensive outcry about the whole outdoor industry,” she said. “Hopefully my articles and these discussions will be a catalyst for positive changes in the river-guiding industry and the entire outdoor industry.”

The IOGA meeting will feature a number of other presentations of interest, including an annual outfitting industry update from David Brown with the American Outdoors Association, and a presentation on how science can inform the recovery of salmon and steelhead in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.

Idaho steelheadThe 2017 steelhead run is being singled out as one of the worst in the last 30 years in Idaho. As of late November, the number of steelhead passing by Lower Granite Dam was 68,000 (11,400 wild fish) as of Nov. 27, compared to a 10-year average of 165,000, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The low numbers caused IDFG to close steelhead fishing seasons statewide in the fall, and since that time, seasons have been opened on the Salmon, Snake and Clearwater rivers with smaller bag limits than normal and size limitations on the Clearwater River.

“The situation is pretty grim,” says Dr. Rick Williams, who will give an overview of the salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia and Snake River Basins. “The numbers of fish we had returning to Idaho this year were similar to the lows we had in the early 1990s, when the fish were first listed under the Endangered Species Act.”

Williams said he will emphasize the importance of preserving wild steelhead and wild chinook salmon in Idaho. “They’re the foundation for the long-term sustainability of those fish runs.”

IMGP0142All things being equal, research shows that even in places where the salmon and steelhead habitat is pristine, such as in the Middle Fork Salmon River drainage, those wild fish are showing the same downward trends as the other fish stocks, Williams says. “It’s the downstream mortality that’s really out of our control,” said.

As always, the IOGA annual meeting culminates in the Thaw fundraiser. A long list of silent auction items already have been donated, including outdoor gear, outdoor books and cookbooks, fishing trips, trail rides and rafting day trips, knives, bags and clothing items.

There also is an impressive list of live-auction items and a rifle raffle, featuring a Ruger American 30.06 Rifle with a Vortex Crossfire II scope, provided by Buckhorn Gun Shop of Boise.P1160062r-900x601

The live auction items include:

  • A one-week South Africa Safari in the Limpopo Province for two hunters, $6,218 value, provided by Namzaan Safaris (namzaansafaris.com).
  • A luxury two-day Fly Fishing Trip with Three Rivers Ranch in Eastern Idaho, featuring world-class options such as the Henrys Fork, South Fork Snake River or the Teton River, $5,113 value.
  • Five-day Main Salmon trip on the Salmon River River of No Return wilderness section with Action Whitewater Adventures (riverguide.com), $3,380 value.

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    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 12-person sleigh ride in Garden Valley to feed elk during the winter of 2017-18, $250 value.
  • Inflatable AIRE couch, $549 value.
  • A multi-day visit to a guest ranch near Stanley in the Frank Church Wilderness, $1,000 value, or a multi-day visit to a Challis-area guest ranch, $900 value.
  • Spring day trip tour of the Salmon River in a jet boat, provided by Whitewater Expeditions, $800 value. Trip will include stops to historic spots such as the Polly Bemis homestead, Shepp Ranch, Buckskin Bill’s Museum and the Painter Mine. Trip is set up for five people, but up to 20 more people could be added at list price. $800 value for five people.
  • Middle Snake River day trip for five people on the Hagerman section of the Snake River with Idaho Guide Service (idahoguideservice.com)
  • Breakfast backcountry flight from McCall to the Flying B Ranch on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River for up to three people, $500 value

Silent auction items compiled thus far include:

Med Frodo dry bag
Alaska Adventure Bag
Boise Basket
Knife
Buck Knife “special” (1)
Charter Bus Service
Personal Box
Salmon River Country Book
7003 Days written by Jim Akenson
Owyhee Canyonlands
Sawtooth White Cloud By Nicole Lefavour
River Food Cookbook
Color Print
1 ton alfalfa cubes
Hand Wash Station
River Barrel Pump
Hand Wash Station
Premium Seats at the Potato Bowl (2 tickets)
Beer Mugs + Beer
Margarita Basket set
Gem Air Flight
Hells Canyon Shuttle for 2018-one vehicle
6 Paddles
Wildlife Mount
1 Night Stay – Inn America
1 Night Stay – Red Lion Hotel
Video Basket
Fire pan bag
Folding Stove Bag
Poco Grande
Half Day Charter Fishing for 4
Watercolor Print
Silverback sleeping pad
Cascade Roll-top Duffel dry bag 100L
Silverback sleeping pad
Cascade Siesta Pad (1)
Cascade Siesta Pad (2)
Cascade Boat Tote (1)
Boss Growler w/infuser (1)
Boss Growler w/infuser (2)
Payette Lake Boat Tour for 2
Half Day Trail Ride for 2
Bills 3.8 lite dry bag
Assorted Mustards
20 lb. case wild Bristol Bay Sockeye
1 Night’s lodging – Springhill Suites
Roaring Springs Day Pass for 2
River Bank Toilet System
Full Day Rafting for 2
Gift Card – $50 Texas Roadhouse
One night stay for 2 – Wallace Inn
1 Hour Private Country Dance Lessons
Mini-golf passes (2)
Couples Conference Registration – Wild Sheep Foundation 2018
SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger
Cap & Bino Straps
Cap & Scope Protector
Kryptex WSF Logo Vest
Knife, Paklite Caper

For more information, go to: http://ioga.org/meetings-events/

Now’s the time to catch a big steelhead in Idaho!

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Salmon River steelhead courtesy Mountain River Outfitters

By Steve Stuebner

It’s late fall, and steelhead season is kicking into high gear in Idaho! The fish are moving upstream into the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers as we speak. Now is the time to book a steelhead trip with an fishing outfitter to catch a big one with your friends and family.

Late fall also means the IOGA annual meeting is coming up! It’s scheduled for Dec. 13-15 at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, including the super-fun fund-raiser, silent/live auction, raffles and live music on Thursday night, Dec. 15. Save the date! More about that in a moment …

The big highlight with this year’s steelhead season, according to experts, is an abundance of B-run steelhead (i.e. big fish) to catch, but not as many A-run fish (smaller fish that only went to the ocean for one year) in the river.

“The good news is that we’ve got a great run of B-run steelhead this year,” says Jess Baugh of Mountain River Outfitters in Riggins. “These are some of the best-lookin’ fish we’ve seen in years. There won’t be as many fish in the river this year, but the quality of the fish is so high they’ll be wall-mounters.”

idaho-steelhead-jetboat1-mroIndeed, the fish counts, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game, are down, compared to the five-year, average. But so far, more than 89,440 steelhead have passed Lower Granite Dam, and they’re heading to the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers for anglers to catch. The catch-and-keep season on the Clearwater started on Oct. 15 and runs through the spring.

People are catching fish in Riggins and in Central Idaho on the Salmon River as well right now. “The whole river system is full of fish now,” Baugh says.

Anglers can choose from booking day trips with guides on float boats or jet boats, or they can choose a more deluxe option and book a multiday trip and stay in river-side lodging accommodations. That’s what we did with Idaho Adventures on the Salmon River, staying in a different lodge every night, where you can look forward to a hearty hot meal and a warm place to sleep. That’s a welcome treat after a full day of fishing on the river in cold-weather conditions.

Mountain River Outfitters has a fishing lodge at China Bar on the Salmon River and at Mackay Bar. At the  Flying B Ranch near Kamiah, take the top-shelf experience and drift-fish for steelhead, and then go bird-hunting or deer hunting on their vast private hunting preserve. That’s quite a full-meal deal for the fishing and hunting enthusiast!

For the most fun, gather up some friends or family members for a memorable steelhead fishing adventure. Day trips typically range from $195 to $250 per person (minimum two people) for drift boats or jet boats, and trips with overnight lodging (including meals) range from $450/night to $1,800 to $2,500 for a 5-day trip with lodging.

bob-and-mary

The IOGA fund-raiser is always a great time. The event is open to the public.

Now, back to the IOGA meeting. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the fund-raiser, silent/live auction, raffles and live music on Thursday night, Dec. 15, at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City. The fun kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m.

The IOGA annual meeting is well attended by Idaho outfitters, guides and agency personnel including the Forest Service, BLM, Idaho Fish & Game and the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Licensing Board. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, about 28 outdoor equipment manufacturers will be displaying their goods from 2-5 p.m. that afternoon at the Riverside.

Highlights from meeting presentations include the opening general session with comments about the state of the Idaho outfitting and guiding industry from Steve Burson, IOGA president, Grant Simonds, IOGA Government Affairs Liaison, and Janey Bruesch, IOGA office manager.

David Brown, executive director of the America Outdoors Association, will give an update on the state of the national outfitting and guiding industry, overall recreation trends and regulatory issues that may affect outfitting businesses across America. This presentation is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.

gun

The live auction always has some excellent values for sale including firearms, outdoor gear and outfitted trips!

On Wednesday, Dec. 14 at lunchtime, Bruce Reichert, executive producer of the award-winning program, “Outdoor Idaho,” will present “The Outfitters,” which prominently features long-time IOGA member and Salmon-based outfitter Bill Bernt, owner of Aggipah River Trips, among outfitters profiled.

On Thursday morning, Dec. 15, experts will talk about key topics of interest for the operations side of running an outfitting business – technology, what the meaning of “may” mean in the Wilderness Act relative to wilderness outfitter operations, guiding philosophies, relationships between guides and outfitters, and wilderness regulations.

Following that presentation, outfitting experts will present “Guide Tracks” — educational discussions on a new state law that allows outfitters and guides to administer epinephrine to guests in the field (training required), how to handle tips, and minimum wage and overtime law.

For more information about the IOGA meeting, go to http://ioga.org/meetings-events.

Outdoor writer and author Steve Stuebner is a regular contributor to the IOGA blog.