|-Improving the permitting process for outfitters, guides and other outdoor leaders on public lands-|
Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) was introduced into the U.S. Senate last Week, on March 23, and is being sponsored by Senators Heinrich (D-NM) and Capito (R-WV) with an impressive group of bipartisan cosponsors (including Risch).
Thanks to America Outdoors for leading the charge on this important legislation, to those of our members who have thrown their time, energy and lobbying efforts behind it, and not least to our members of Idaho's Congressional delegation for responding to the requests from IOGA and its members for their support.
The permitting authority for outfitting and guiding permits, which is currently included in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), is sunsetting every year with little prospect for long-term reauthorization. SOAR breaks out the permitting authority and renews it as an amendment to FLREA and makes important changes to simplify and improve permitting processes to enable more access for outfitters and organized groups.
New permitted uses of public lands are rarely authorized because permitting processes have become unnecessarily complex and costly in some agencies. Land managing agencies are not even authorized to work together to issue one permit for a trip that crosses multiple agency boundaries. SOAR is written to make common sense changes to the permitting processes and regulations to enable more access to public lands in a way that increases economic benefits of public lands while continuing environmental protections.
For more information on the highlights of the Bill click HERE
To show your support for SOAR clickHERE
Fishing for Spring Chinook Closed for the Remainder of the Year on the Lower Salmon & Little Salmon
By Joe DuPont, Fisheries Regional Manager
Monday, June 3, 2019 - 7:34 PM MDT
Hi Everybody. It is time for the weekly spring Chinook Salmon update for the fisheries in the Clearwater River Basin and in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers (Rapid River Run) (6/3/19).
There is no sugar coating this update because, to tell you the truth, it is very disappointing and it is going to bum people out or just make them downright angry. Fishing for spring Chinook Salmon in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon River has closed for the remainder of the year. Please read on to understand why.
Licensing Board Adopts Amended Temp. Rule on March 22 (re: Hunt Tag Allocation)
The Licensing Board met (May 22) at the behest of Hunt Outfitters, IOGA and members of the Licensing Board itself to reconsider the application and interpretation of the temporary rule promulgated by the Licensing Board this past late-April as it relates to the new Law (House Bill 192) governing outfitted hunt tag allocation.
The Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board will be proposing rules to implement the 2019 law changes involving the designation to outfitters of deer and elk tags allocated by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in capped zones and controlled hunts.
Individual time for oral comment may be limited to 5 minutes at the open hearing meetings scheduled on June 12, 2019 and August 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM at 1365 N. Orchard St. Room 172 Boise, ID 83706.
The Board requests that written comment be delivered on or before July 29, 2019. Comments can be submitted by email: [email protected], fax: (208) 327- 7382, or Mail: Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board 1365 N. Orchard St. Room 172 Boise, ID 83706.
Please visit the OGLB website, www.oglb.idaho.gov under the News and Bulletin tab to review the proposed rule. If you have any question, please call the office at (208) 327-7380.
We will send out a copy of the Licensing Board's proposed negotiated rule as soon as it is available to us and the public for your review and comment. It is important to remember that all state agency rules promulgated in 2019 must be approved by the 2020 legislature. We strongly encourage all outfitters to review the content of the negotiated rule once it is available, to identify any concerns or suggestions for revision, and to provide these to the Licensing Board (in writing and/or in person at the June meeting). We also would request you copy IOGA on your communications with these suggestions such that we can more effectively represent the needs and concerns of the industry for our part of negotiated rulemaking.
Salmon-Challis NF: Forest Plan Revision Update
Wild & Scenic field validations scheduled
The Salmon-Challis National Forest is required to conduct Wild and Scenic Rivers inventory and eligibility as part of its forest plan revision. The draft eligibility report was released in November 2017, and the forest is still accepting feedback.
Public input so far led Forest Supervisor Chuck Mark to direct the forest plan revision team to field validate river segments listed as eligible in the draft report. In Fall 2018, the forest invited members of the public to use their local knowledge to complete Wild and Scenic River Field Review Worksheets provided two demonstrations on how to complete the worksheets. Salmon-Challis crews started field work last fall and will complete field validations of the remaining stream segments. We will issue an eligibility report later this summer.
The tentative schedule for the remaining field validations is as follows: Segment | Tentative Day
Yellowjacket Creek - 6/7/2019
Elk Creek 1 - 7/9/2019
Marble Creek - 7/24/2019
Rapid River B - 7/24/2019
Panther Creek - 5/31/2019
Marsh Creek B - 6/10/2019
Camas Creek - 6/24/2019
West Fork Camas Creek A - 6/24/2019
Yankee Fork Salmon River A - 6/24/2019
Lightning Creek - 7/15/2019
Rush Creek - 7/15/2019
Warm Spring Creek 3 - 7/15/2019
Big Creek 2 - 8/5/2019
Muskeg Creek - 8/5/2019
Soldier Creek 1 - 8/5/2019
Dates of field verification are subject to change. For additional information about specific segments or if you would like to meet field crews at the river segment, contact Nick Schade at (208) 756-5115 at least 72 hours in advance of the dates listed.
Draft plan due out in late 2019
The Salmon-Challis National Forest Plan Revision is still underway and Forest Supervisor Chuck Mark said he anticipates a draft plan will be available for public review in late Fall 2019.
“We’re focused right now on bringing new information to the public about wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, and species of conservation concern – three processes we’re required to do as part of forest plan revision,” explained Mark. Forest staff are working to complete the wilderness evaluation, finish field work in support of a wild and scenic rivers eligibility report, and issue a revised draft list of potential species of conservation concern. Mark said these products come prior to the draft plan and are necessary to help inform the draft plan.
Forest staff have also been meeting with many different members of the public to get their ideas about what a revised forest plan should address. These discussions have included the Shoshone-Bannock and Nez Perce tribes, state agencies, county government, outfitters and guides, and grazing permittees.
“I’m really pleased with the participation we’ve been getting for forest plan revision. Not only are we receiving helpful comments, but we’re also fielding requests for more information,” Mark said. “We’re glad to sit down with groups to talk about their vision for the Salmon-Challis’s future and ways we might be able to get there.”
Commission Seats up for Grabs This summer, two Idaho Fish and Game commissioners’ terms will expire, according to a news release from Gov. Brad Little’s office.
Little will appoint individuals to fill the seats vacated by Dan Blanco, of Moscow, and Derick Attebury, of Idaho Falls. Blanco serves at the commissioner for the Clearwater Region, while Attebury represents the Upper Snake Region.
Though both commissioners are eligible for reappointment, those hoping to join the commission are encouraged to submit applications, which can be found here. Completed applications should be sent to [email protected] by 5 p.m. on June 14.
Read on at the Idaho Statesman Public Gets Chance to Consider White-tailed and Mule Deer Plans Idaho Fish and Game is asking deer hunters to review its draft management plans for mule deer and white-tailed deer when they are released next month and provide feedback to the department.
The white-tailed deer plan focuses on topics including population management and hunting seasons to maintain sustainable deer herds and meet hunter expectations.
Click HERE to review plans and view open house meeting dates.
Redd Alert Volunteers Sought
The spawning season for endangered Chinook Salmon on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is August 15-September 15 each year, the same time that float boating, both outfitted and non-outfitted, continues. Float boat restrictions during the spawning season include no reissuance of cancelled permits, a limit of 12 craft per launch and redd avoidance procedures of maneuvering boats at least 25 feet away from Chinook salmon redds (nests). Last year the Middle Fork Outfitters Association initiated a Redd Alert volunteer program with USFS support.
The primary purpose of the Redd Alert volunteer program is to make focused contact with boaters to promote redd avoidance awareness and hand out our Redd Alert boat stickers. The MFOA provides a $30/day stipend to cover volunteer expenses. MFOA can and will provide camping equipment and other logistical support for the Redd Alert volunteers. The 2018 volunteer program was instrumental with increasing compliance rate, avoiding redds, to 86% in 2018 from 58% in 2017 (no volunteers). The volunteers work closely and supplement the pre-trip message of the USFS river interpreters (checkers) to boaters.
MFOA is currently seeking Redd Alert volunteers for August 28-31 and September 1-15 at the Boundary Creek put-in, northwest of Stanley. Volunteers are also needed for September 1-15 for the Indian Creek put-in which is 25 miles downriver. MFOA will provide orientation training for all volunteers. Anyone interested in becoming a Redd Alert volunteer can contact Grant Simonds, ([email protected] or [email protected]) 208.867.2138.
Idaho Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program 2019
The 2019 watercraft inspection season is upon us with inspection stations opening statewide in the coming weeks. In addition to the listed inspection station locations, watercraft are inspected during the boating season at roving roadside inspection stations spread throughout the state. These additional inspections help ISDA better understand the boating public, and potential vectors of introduction into Idaho.
Click HERE for a list of the stations for 2019 with some information on each. (It's a snazzy interface.)
Click HERE for information on Fouled Boats thus far in 2019.
Forest Service Blasting Program
As many of you are already (very) aware, as a result of several audits of the FS Blasting Program, the FS Washington Office has recommended that "The FS use of explosives outside of the avalanche control and winter sports program areas will be accomplished by non-FS employees under contracts and task order agreements. FS owned magazines will be removed from NFS land and blasting material brought to the project site on an as-needed basis by outside resources."
FS Regions 2 & 4 pushed back on the directive, noting that the audits and consequent recommendations do not adequately take into account the unique nature of the blasting program in Regions 2/4, which encompass areas that are especially difficult to access and deal with situations that require quick turnaround--trails closed by landslides, large boulders that cannot be [re]moved by other means, logjams and trees that are often unsafe to cut with saw, etc.
Forest Service Regions 2 and 4 are therefore seeking an exemption from the Washington Office of the Forest Service to maintain their blasting program(s). As outfitters and guides, we can help support their case for an exemption by continuing to write letters (to include in the end of year package from the regions to the FS Washington Office): (1) of support for the blasting program, with specific examples of its unique application and importance in the operating area of the letter writer; (2) documenting anecdotal experiences that demonstrate the need for the blasting program operated by the FS (and not only outside contractor, e.g., where a certified blaster could/would not access the site in question or where the process of soliciting a bid would be too time-consuming or the bid itself too expensive).
With the help of our Government Affairs Liaison, Grant Simonds, and leadership within the Salmon River Chapter IOGA, we intend to: (A) continue reaching out to our Congressional Delegation and their staff for their help in emphasizing the unique importance of the FS Blasting Program in our state, and; (B) to develop a "procedural guide" for outfitters navigating the blasting program in this interim period.
"'These wild and scenic rivers are amazing with entrenched canyons and if you love rivers this is one of the best river floats you can do in the world,' said Robison.
Nobody knows that better than Idaho outfitter and guide Grant Simonds who depends on public access to these rivers to make a living.
Even though access means a hard to travel dirt road, Simonds told us people have access to the river, but not too much access to the point that the Owyhee River would lose its ruggedness that makes it so unique.
'Once you are down there you gain a true appreciation for these Owyhee Canyonlands,' said Simonds. 'You can enjoy it either by land or on the river.'"