Executive Director Report 11/22

November has proven to be very busy around the IOGA office. A lot of prep time is occurring to get ready for next months annual meeting. Janey, Grant and myself are trying to put together a great program that is not only informational but hopefully a little fun. We have been able to secure many new items for our live and silent auction, as well as possible interest from some of these supporters in becoming new Business Associate Members. This is an area of growth that should be a slam-dunk for us to improve. IF every outfitter in our current membership asked just 1 business that they work with to join and support our association that would bring in over $10,500 dollars in new revenue. A little pressure can go a long way and you would be surprised how many you can get by just asking. I have had numerous meetings this month with different advertising companies in an attempt to bring forward some new ideas for your consideration about IOGA marketing in the future. It does not happen overnight and will not happen unless we start taking some steps toward that goal. Probably baby steps but steps non-the less. The IOGLB had their November Board meeting, which started with a hearing on the afternoon of the 13th followed by two days of meetings on the 14th and 15th. This gave me a great opportunity to not only meet the board but also to see them in action. Details of some of the outcomes will be discussed later in this FYI but overall it was a very positive meeting and I believe we can continue to work with the IOGLB staff and board toward many common goals. I was very fortunate that Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer made some time for me last week and we were able to meet for a couple of hours to discuss everything from current changes in the Tourism Department to advertising in general. Director Sayer spent quite a bit of time expressing to me how supportive he is about what our industry does for not only tourism but for the state as a whole. In fact, he has accepted an invitation to come and speak to our membership at our upcoming annual meeting. A truly believe that a good working relationship with the state is key for us as, outside of our membership, they are the biggest partner we have. Finally I had an opportunity to meet with Mitch Knothe who is the states representative on the Whitewater License Plate Board. As many of you know we have been fortunate to have received funds to promote the boating side of our industry in the past and I wanted to make sure they know we are hoping to continue that tradition moving forward. I wish you and your family a great Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing you next month here in Boise.

International Tourism

The Idaho Department of Commerce's Tourism Division is holding an open house to receive comments on their international tourism program. A substantial amount of marketing funds are spent each year on the international program and they are trying to see if those dollars are being well spent. Anyone who is interested in commenting either for or against this program should attend as this could be your only chance to do so before a decision is made.  Click here for more information.

Annual Meeting

The IOGA annual meeting is a two-day meeting beginnning at 8:30 a.m. sharp on Wednesday, December 18th.  Most attendees from outside the Boise area will want to plan your travel to Boise accordingly in order to be on hand for the opening bell on Wednesday morning.  The meeting concludes Thursday evening, December 19th with the annual Thaw fundraiser and Party.   To purchase Thaw tickets, click here.  The updated agenda is diversified to reflect the make-up of the IOGA membership with general sessions and river, hunt and recreation section meetings.  The exhibitor hall is nearly sold out for Wednesday afternoon, December 18.  You can register online. Don't forget the annual Poetry Contest.  Last year's poetry contest winner was outfitter Steve Burson, IOGA's President. The IOGA special room rate is $62 single or double occupancy. You must make your reservations by December 2nd to receive the special rate. Call the Boise Hotel and Convention Center at 208.343.4900 and be certain to tell them you are with IOGA.

Monument Proposal Making Headlines

A recent study commissioned by the Idaho Business Council says the establishment of a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument would create 47-155 new jobs and increase the economic output of a four-county area (Blaine, Custer, Butte and Camas) in Central Idaho by $3.7 million to $12.3 million, according to a new economic study authored by Don Reading, Ph.D., of Ben Johnson Associates. The Idaho Business Council is one of a dozen local and national groups that have joined former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus and Bethine Church, widow of former Senator Frank Church, in calling for a designation of a monument. Among others, the Sawtooth Society, the IOGA, many Stanley area residents, some county commissioners and a retired Sawtooth National Recreation Area ranger remain skeptical. Recently, the IOGA position letterstating industry concerns and calling for an open and collaborative process was hand delivered to Obama Administration officials in Washington DC. The IOGA letter included input from several outfitters who currently outfit in the Boulder White Clouds who are concerned that the “devil is in the details” and so far there are few details, especially related to potential impacts such as constricted access and party size reductions that could come with monument designation and the resultant new management plan. Similar impacts were experienced by outfitters in the late 1990’s after the Clinton Administration monument proclamation relative to creating Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

Fish and Game News

During its recent November meeting, the Commission approved a new species management plan for Westslope Cutthroat trout, listened to a staff report on the impacts of large southern Idaho fires on critical big game habitat, approved moving ahead with negotiated rulemaking for bear baiting in grizzly country and the Landowner Appreciation Program. Staff reported that IDFG has received 1,200 comments on the draft Elk Management Plan indicating general support for the plan. The number one concern of commenter’s is on managing predation on elk. The next step is to edit the plan and seek Commission approval during its January meeting in Boise. During the upcoming IOGA meeting, IDFG staff will be presenters on the elk plan, the proposed new rules and wolf management.

 Licensing Board News

During its recent November meeting that included public testimony on the proposed rule to clarify existing rules regarding outfitting on private lands, the Licensing Board not only approved the new rule to move forward for legislative consideration this winter, but also lifted the moratorium on outfitted waterfowl and turkey hunting. Over a period of two years no consensus was reached by a turkey and waterfowl working group and/or through negotiated rulemaking. Instead the new pending rule clarifies that clubs and organizations providing outfitted services will need to be licensed, among other details.  New Policy 2027.1-2013 was approved by the IOGLB that lists parameters that the Board will consider regarding future applications for waterfowl and turkey hunting on private lands. The IOGLB also approved a proposal presented by IOGA Executive Director John May asking to have an informational membership piece from the IOGA inserted into the annual renewal packets that go out to all outfitters and guides. This piece will also be used for any new license packets that go out throughout the year. The quicker we can get membership information into the hands of those in our industry, the better chance we will have at recruiting them into the IOGA. We would like to thank the Licensing Board for agreeing to work with us on this. During the upcoming IOGA annual meeting, Lori Thomason, IOGLB Office Manager, will offer a Webinar on Thursday afternoon, December 19 entitled, “Buy/Sell Process—Keys to Making it Work”.

Nominations and Elections

IOGA will be electing three Officers and three Board members during the December meeting. The terms for Will Judge, IOGA Vice President; Tammy Overacker, Hunt Section Vice President, Dana Demorest, REC Vice President, expire during the upcoming annual IOGA meeting of December 18-19. The Hunt and REC Vice Presidents will be elected during their respective Section meetings. The Vice President will be elected during the general election. Terms for Officers are two years so officers elected in December will serve until elections are held at the annual meeting in December 2015. For duties and responsibilities, click here. Board of Directors whose terms are expiring this December are outfitters Ken Helfrich, Kidd Youren and Dirk Gibson. Board members will be elected during the general election in December. The terms for the IOGA Board of Directors are three years. For duties and responsibilities, click here. Nominations for IOGA officers and board of directors occur before and during the annual meeting. Send your nominations to Janey Bruesch, the IOGA Office Manager. The IOGA is responsible by state statute to send the names of two qualified outfitters/guides to the Governor in January for the outfitter term that expires April 2014. Chris Korell, Korell Outfitters, is the current incumbent and is not interested in serving another term. Send your nominations to Janey Bruesch, the IOGA Office Manager.  The IOGA Board of Directors will be interviewing IOGLB outfitter nominees during their meeting on December 20th.

Video and Photo Contest

Once again we will have the Photo Contest. You can submit your photos in advance or at the meeting. Entry fee is $5 per photo with a limit of 3 photos per person. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded during the Thursday luncheon. New this year is a video contest. You must be an IOGA member to participate and videos must be of Idaho outfitted activities.