Industry Update

September 1, 2021

ExpertVoice Access: If you are an active member of IOGA fill out an application on ExpertVoice and get discounts on outdoor brands! Login or signup at www.ExpertVoice.com, search for “Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association” and follow the signup flow, a team manager will review your application. For more information check out the “Resources” tab in the IOGA Member Portal.

Grant Award: IOGA was awarded a grant from Idaho Commerce. Grants are awarded to qualified non-profits to fund projects that promote tourism to Idaho. IOGA uses these funds to create and promote the IOGA Brand Sites (Hunt Idaho, Fish Idaho, Raft Idaho, Jet Boat Idaho, Ride Idaho, and Guest Ranch Idaho). If your business needs to get listed on a site email [email protected]

ID – 55: Full Road Closures begin September 7th, 2021. Drivers can expect full road closures Monday-Thursday from 10AM to 2PM. After 2PM the road will be open to one-way alternating traffic. itdprojects.org/projects/id55smithsferry/

Grizzly Bear focus group: Share opinions to inform management and conservation efforts. Click here for details

Pack Gear for Sale: Available 4 saddles, miscellaneous bridles, breast straps, halters, lead ropes, saddle blankets, pack pads, pack bags, hobbles, feed bags, pack harnesses, 12×14 nylon pack tent, 2 wood stoves. Contact Ron Williams at [email protected] for more information, (801)641-4742.

Note to Members: Al Bukowsky has a new email address, [email protected]

Save the Date

River Sector

  • Note from Joe O’Neill on Hammer Creek Boat Launch: The field downstream of the campground is mowed for over-flow parking. New campground hosts Jim and Frances live on site. If camping at Hammer Creek Campground, Slate Creek Campground, or Pine Bar Campground you need to pay the camping fee as stated in your BLM permit.

Hunt Sector

  • Stay vigilant against CWD: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/aug/10/idaho-asks-hunters-to-continue-to-stay-vigilant-ag/
  • New Fish and Game Commissioner: Dave Bobbitt was appointed Commissioner for the Panhandle Region.
  • Fish and Game Commission meeting took place September 1st. The Commission:
    • Approved a coho Salmon season on the Snake River that starts on September 3, and the coho season on the Clearwater River opened Sept. 1. Fall Chinook return could be larger than forecasted and more fish than last year. Read more here.
    • Reduced the bag limit for steelhead anglers to one fish per day and three in possession. The new bag limit starts Sept. 3 and runs through Dec. 31, which is the end of the fall season. Read more here.
    • Adopted a temporary rule to increase the outfitter elk set-aside from 2800 to 2900 tags, to cover increased 2019/2020 reported use. 
    • Set general hunt deer and elk tag limits for nonresidents and outfitter allocation in units/zones not having resident tag limits (i.e., newly capped hunts).
    • Reach out to Aaron Lieberman or Jeff Bitton with questions or concerns about the Fish and Game Commission Actions. 

In the News

Covid 19 Update

  • Over 50% of the population of Idaho now has at least one dose of vaccine.
  • Delta variant of COVID is here, now responsible for approximately 81.3% of new cases
  • Governor Little activates National Guard to respond to Covid surge

Wildfire Update

This year Idaho has spent an estimated $51.8 million to fight fires, experts told the Idaho Land Board that the costs could double before fire season is over this year. Current and historic data for state-owned land fire activity:

YearLightningHumanTotalAcres
2018371401777,367
201956981541,213
20202080100742
2021113175288115,971
20-year Average17820,049
Current and historic data for state-owned land fire activity

There has also been approximately 17,606 acres of private land burned and approximately 186,000 acres of federal land burned.

Legislative Update

Idaho State Budget

  • Idaho has a budget surplus of over $1.4 billion. This comes from a $900 million ending balance for fiscal year 2021, combined with another $531 million forecasted (July 2021 revenues came in nearly $40 million above expectations).
  • In addition to the budget surplus Idaho will receive $1.1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act, these funds will be distributed to many state and local programs addressing health care, education, minimum wage, broadband, water/sewer projects, etc.
  • If Congress passes the president’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, Idaho will likely see additional funds.

Census – Idaho

  • Idaho’s population has increased by 17.3%, Idaho is the second fastest growing state in the nation (Utah is the fastest growing state). Over the past 20 years Ada and Canyon counties have see approximately 75% growth in population.
  • The Census data is necessary for the Idaho Legislative Reapportionment Committee to draw new legislative district maps (they start meeting in early September). The average population per district will be 52,546 people. The population increases have primarily been in urban areas. It is likely we will see a higher number of urban districts that are geographically small, and a lower number of rural districts that are geographically large.

Federal

  • $15 Federal Minimum Wage Order. The Department of Labor published its proposed regulation to implement the Biden Administration’s Executive Order 14026, establishing a $15 minimum wage for federal contractors on the 22nd of July. This proposed rule affects all federal contractors, not just public land permittees. In many cases the application of the Executive Order as interpreted through these proposed regulations does not address the unique business model that is the outfitting and guiding industry. You can review the proposed regulation on the federal register. You can read the Joint Comments submitted by AOA, GCROA, IOGA and others here

Infrastructure Act Includes Provisions to Interest to Outfitters:

Short Haul Exemption for Providers of Recreation Activities, Sec. 23012
A significant win for AO and outfitters, an exemption from federal regulatory requirements for 9-15 passenger vans is included in the Senate infrastructure bill. When the vehicle is operating within 150 air miles from the outset of the trip and crosses state lines, with or without trailers, vans are exempt from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. FMCSA requirements include year-round insurance policies, electronic logbooks, and other provisions that do not translate well to seasonal outfitter transportation needs.

Sport Fish Restoration and Recreational Boating Safety, Sec. 28001
As vessels such as kayaks and tubes become more ubiquitous on popular recreational rivers, congestion and other conflicts at put-ins and take-outs are on the rise. This section directs the Comptroller of the United States to analyze how increased use of non-motorized vessels is increasing conflicts at access points with non-motorized and motorized vessels, and user conflicts at waterway access points. This study will likely be undertaken to analyze how a proliferation of non-motorized vessels who are not contributing funds to maintain access points are creating an imbalance in the system. America Outdoors will be tracking this issue, as the study may point to an interest in expanding excise taxes to non-motorized vessels.

Forest Service Legacy Road and Trail Remediation Program
Through this bill, $250,000,000 will be made available to fund the US Forest Service Legacy Road and Trail Remediation program, repairing and maintaining roads and trails in the forest system. While this is just a percentage of the overall maintenance backlog the USFS faces, it provides an opportunity to repair and improve many routes that have been on the back burner for some time. The selection of projects would be done with local input and may include the decommissioning of some routes. Keep an eye on your local forest to ensure that the funds are being appropriately spent.

National Motor Vehicle Per-mile User Fee Pilot, Sec. 13002
The U.S. Highway Trust Fund, paid for primarily through fuel taxes, is facing diminishing funds as more and more drivers switch to electric vehicles. In an effort to “restore and maintain the long-term solvency” of the fund, this amendment purports to establish a per-mile user fee pilot program for commercial and non-commercial vehicles alike. Should this pilot program be expanded, gas-powered vehicles could be taxed twice for the same fund, once at the pump and once through a per-mile fee.