Spring is finally breaking around Idaho and we are gearing up for a great season in 2014. With above average snow pack in most areas we should have plenty of water and hopefully a light fire season.  We operate at the put-in to the Selway at Paradise and the river is up.  There is a lot of wood coming down from all the fires last year.  Please be extra careful on those first runs.

At our recent Board of Directors meeting in Salmon, the board set several key objectives for IOGA this year including Membership & Fundraising, Access and Trails, Improved Relations with Agency Partners and the 60th Anniversary of IOGA.

The first objective I want to write about is working with our agency partners to improve our relations in the following areas:

  • Currently there is a great deal of variation on how our permits and operating plans are written, managed and interpreted.  This creates a very un-level playing field across the industry.  The Salmon Chapter is doing a lot of work to get standarized permits within their forest.  This has been completed for the wilderness permits.  Work is underway to finalize the non-wilderness permits.  Working as a unified group is much more powerful than individual outfitters operating on their own.  This work needs to be completed in Salmon and then will be used to address issues across the state.  This will be a topic at the December meeting.
  • With all the turnover in the agencies (particularly the Forest Service), the management of individual problem employees is being lost.  IOGA is working with the new managers to try and ensure that work in process is not dropped.  This will also be a topic at the December meeting.
  • This is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.  The nation has changed a lot since 1964.  As a culture we are losing our hunting heritage and woodsmanship skills.  Estimates range as low as 5% and as high as 20% for that portion of the public that has the skills and equipment for an extended stay in the back country.  As a result the outfitted public constitutes the vast majority of use.  This is especially true for the land based side.  Non-resident license and tag sales are driven by the marketing and sales efforts of outfitters.  IOGA will be working this year to highlight the value of the outfitting industry to our agency partners.

This is the 60th Anniversary of IOGA.  We will be having a major celebration at the December meeting this year.  The meeting will be held at the Red Lion Downtowner in Boise.  John May negotiated a great deal for us!  Plesae plan to attend now and invite non-members, your guides and key clients.  There will be more on this in future FYI Bulletins.

Hunt VP Message by Tammy Overacker

Greetings from Salmon,

Steve wrote a great letter and I just want to add a bit to his paragraph regarding the standardizing of operating plans with the USFS.  The outfitter committee, along with other key individuals, has been working diligently to come to an agreement regarding non-wilderness operating plans.  This document, that all permittees on the Salmon-Challis Forest would have to sign to operate, started with Wilderness language.  It included language that would require camp settings that have existed for many years to be torn down each season.  For those of you that don’t currently operate in Wilderness, that’s language that your operation probably wouldn’t survive under.  What we’re afraid of is that this process will set a precedence for other forest districts to follow.  That’s why we’re spending so much time on it.  If any other outfitters are being faced with this on other forests, please let John or Grant know so that we can work together to help you.

Many of you know that I also serve as secretary/treasurer for the Salmon Chapter IOGA.  The Salmon Chapter had two different spring fundraising events.  The annual meeting and banquet is our main membership drive event with a small auction.  The Outfitter Rendezvous, during the Salmon Select Horse Sale was a successful fundraiser.  At the last Chapter meeting, it was decided to donate a total of $4,500 to different charitable organizations:  IOGA, INRF, Salmon Valley Stewardship, Stream of Dreams, River Discovery, and the Wave Park.  Earlier this year, the Salmon Chapter hosted the meeting with outfitters, congressional delegation, and USFS regarding non-wilderness operating plans.  Following that meeting, the Salmon Chapter sent Louise Stark to Washington DC to battle for the industry on different issues including the standardizing of operating plans.  Area chapters are a great way to work together and deal with area specific issues.  If you think your area could benefit with a local chapter, please let John May know.  He’d be a great asset in helping to organize that.

I hope you all have a great season.  See you in Boise, in December!Tammy

Executive Director’s Message by John May

IOGA Members,

It looks like spring is finally here and many of you are anxiously ramping up for what is hopefully a very busy year. It is no different here at the IOGA office as we are busy putting together our request for advertising dollars from the Idaho Travel Council. The preliminary request was submitted last week and I will be heading to the Idaho Conference on Recreation and Tourism next week to present our grant request in person. It is through the support of the ITC and others like the Wild Idaho License Plate Fund that programs like Raft Idaho are even possible. Which by the way if you did not know www.raftidaho.org is up and running. This is a great landing page set up to drive activity to our members. We certainly would appreciate your support and promotion of this brand wherever possible.  If you are interested in some Raft Idaho “Get Paddled” bumper stickers to give away let us know and we will get some to you. Our hope is that in the future we can do this same type of marketing to all areas of or association.

April 9th and 10th found us in Salmon for the Spring Board Meeting of the IOGA. This was a great opportunity for us to get together and catch up with all that has happened since the winter meeting and the completion of the legislative session this year. Much discussion was had on IOGA position statements as well as the current and proposed 2015 budgets. More detailed information can be made available to any member who would like it by requesting that from the IOGA office but here is a breakdown of the motions that were passed at the meeting.

Finally I recently came back from Kamiah where I attended the 2014 Annual Outfitter and Guide Coordination Meeting with the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests. I found this to be a great opportunity to bring together national forest line officers, administrators and outfitters in one room and have an open dialogue addressing issues concerning all of us. I would like to thank Carol Hennessey of the forest service for putting this together and including the IOGA and its members. The IOGA and the Clearwater Chapter of the IOGA sponsored the lunch that day and thanks to long time members Dee and Leo Crane for setting that up.

Thank You to the Salmon & Clearwater Chapters by Darl Allred, IOGA Treasurer

On behalf of the staff and myself, I would like to personnally thank and acknowledge this year’s generous financial donations of the Clearwater and Salmon Chapters to IOGA.

For the past several years fundraising and a balanced budget have been very difficult for IOGA and these two Chapters have helped greatly to keep us afloat.  This year we anticipated a shortfall of around $12,000.  These donations will help keep us going as usual throughout the rest of the fiscal year (July 1-June 30).  If there are any members that can help by sending dues in a little early or getting involved in one of the many fundraiser programs, please let Janey or I know.  If any member would like help in setting up the Dollars for Outdoors program or any other fundraising program, let myself, any Board member, or staff know and we will be happy to assist you.

Once again, thank you Clearwater and Salmon Chapters for your continued support and leadership in IOGA.  Darl

Kudos to the Salmon & Clearwater Chapters

The Salmon Chapter of IOGA and the Idaho Natural Resource Foundation (INRF) had a successful dutch oven dinner, wolf howling contest and live auction on April 10th at the Salmon Select Horse Sale.  Thanks to this fundraiser and the Chapter Dinner and auction in March, the Salmon Chapter has donated funds to several groups including $2,800 to IOGA and $750 to INRF.

The Clearwater Chapter of IOGA had a very successful 14th Annual Spring Round-Up on April 12th in Orofino.  As always, a good time was had by all who attended.  Activities included “Musical Saddles”, raffles, games, dinner and entertainment by Alaska’s Hobo Jim and Idaho’s Shiloh Sharrard.  Funds raised will be used to support ICare and scholarships for local high schools.  Additionally a donation of $2,500 is being made to IOGA and $500 to the IOGA Legal Defense Fund.

Non Wilderness Operating Plan

The outfitter working group (IOGA members Shane McAfee, Louise Stark, Billejo Beck and John Cranney) that has been meeting since 2012, met several times since late February and recently reviewed a Salmon Challis National Forest informal survey of neighboring forests regarding management of non-wilderness assigned campsites. The outfitter working group concluded from the SCNF informal survey that there is a wide variation as to how nearby Forests are administering outfitter permits relative to campsite standards. The outfitter working group has concluded that there is considerable leeway for the SCNF to interpret regulations on campsite management and has sent the SCNF revised language on this topic. IOGA maintains that the SCNF has the latitude under current regulations to allow for wooden tent frames and other similar structures to remain in place.

BLM Wilderness Plan for the Owyhee Wilderness/Rivers

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (OPLMA) (P.L. 111-11, Title I – Subtitle F) designated 517,000 acres of public lands in Owyhee County in southwestern Idaho as Wilderness and 325 miles of waterways as Wild and Scenic rivers.

The BLM has published a Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River Management Plan (WMP) for these areas.

The Plan identifies actions and land use guidelines designed to provide for the use and enjoyment of these special public lands today and into the future, while preserving wilderness character, and protecting the unique values recognized in the OPLMA designation and enhancing wild and scenic river values.  There will be no restrictions on the number of groups allowed to float each river daily (group-size limit of 15 persons).  Camping tents, “pop-up” hunting blinds, and other temporary shelters may be used while the owner is in the Wilderness but must be removed when the owner leaves the Wilderness.

IOGA’s Grant Simonds has been continuously involved in this overall process through the Owyhee Initiative collaborative work group from 2001 leading up to the congressional action in 2009 and the development of subsequent wilderness management plan for the past four years.

Fish and Game News

  • The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet May 14 and 15 in Lewiston. A public hearing will begin at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 14 at Fish and Game’s Clearwater Regional office at 3316 16th Street. Agenda items include setting seasons for Chinook salmon on the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers; budget direction for fiscal 2016, a nonbiological rules update; and election of commission chairman and vice-chairman.
  • The 2014 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochures are back from the printer and should be available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices in most locations. They are also available online.
  • The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released proposed management plans for the state’s 32 wildlife management areas for a 30-day public review and comment period. These plans are revised periodically to reflect changes in habitat and to identify new management priorities and actions. Varying from 275 to over 124,000 acres in size, each WMA is unique with some including critical big game winter range and others focused on important wetland landscapes. Each of the proposed plans is available for review and comment on the Fish and Game’s website. The deadline to provide comments is May 20.
  • Click here for Chinook counts and prospects for season

Classified Ads

For Sale:  24 foot airboat. 10 1/2 foot beam wide, has a GM 8 1 engine.  It is Coast Guard Certified to carry 17 passengers.  It does not have to remain certififed.  Call Mark Yates, Hells Canyon Adventures, at 800.422.3568 or 541.785.3352 for more information and price.

Wilderness River Outfitters is sponsoring a Wilderness First Responder refresher class in Salmon June 2nd & 3rd.  Click here for the registration form.

Outfitting Business for Sale.  Whiskey Mountain Outfitters, an established hunt outfitting and guide businiess is for sale.  Big Game Hunting in Unit 40 and Bear Hunts in Unit 14 on private ground.  Contact Wayne Hungate for more information.  208.880.2335

If you are in need of well trained individuals i.e. Packers, Guides, Wranglers or Camp Cooks, we have students ready to go to work. Contact Elm Outfitters and Guides Training Program 406.961.3603

For Sale or Lease: We are the 100 Acre Wood Lodge in North Fork, Idaho, located on the Idaho/Montana border& only 3 miles from the Salmon River. We are pursuing a “lifestyle” change & wanted some of our contacts to know we are for sale…(or lease). We are a turnkey operation with plenty of room to expand. We also have a lake, acreage and an Outfitters License. Check out our web site, the virtual tour and details of the business and property. Jon & Nancy Cummings, 208-865-2165.

Satellite Phone Rentals  Satmodo rents sat phones starting at $29.99/week.  Available 24/7. Same day delivery available.  Reach us at (800) 279-2366 or via our website.

SITKA GEAR announces the Sitka Guide and Outfitter Program, open to any registered Idaho guide or outfitter looking for top-quality hunting gear. Please contact Jeff Sposito for more information.

ZEISS Sports Optics announces the ZEISS Guide and Outfitter Program, open to any registered Idaho guide or outfitter looking for top-quality German optics. Please contact Barton Dobbs at 303.903.4455 or via e-mail for more information.