Trestle over Curlew Lake  


May 10, 2007

If you're bored, you must have missed spring

Rich Landers - Outdoors editor

Serious outdoor types have no time for boredom. The word "bored" isn’t in our vocabulary, except when we’re talking about customizing a hunting rifle.

If we’re not doing something, we’re getting stuff ready to do something.

Anticipation is an activity in itself. Closure can be a lingering issue.

Ski resorts have closed, but the mountain slopes are settling into high-country highways for skiers willing to invest some muscle power. A friend reported Tuesday that the corn snow in the North Cascades is "sublime" – a term Cascades skiers cherish and use sparingly.

Hikers are coming up with colorful excuses to explore trails that are clear of snow as high as 5,000 feet in many areas. "Wildflowers are blooming everywhere," said Sagle hiker Phil Hough of the Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. Hough is leading a Mother’s Day wildflower hike near Lake Pend Oreille for footloose moms and their families. Info: (208) 255-2780; www.scotchmanpeaks.org.

Birdwatchers have to put down their binoculars occasionally this time of year in order to plant flowers, shrubs and trees that will attract, shelter and feed birds year-round.

Turkey hunters still have time to fill their spring-season tags, but most have finished the job because other things need to be done. For example, big-game special permit applications are coming due.

Anglers have choices that change weekly. Northern pike have been on the prowl for weeks. Spring chinook fishing will open on portions of the Snake on Friday. Mayflies soon will be hatching at Badger and Williams lakes. Walleyes are going to come off the spawn in the Columbia and start getting interested in lures again. The Idaho stream season will open in a couple of weeks.

Anglers in the Inland Northwest are about the most un-bored people on the planet.

Bicyclists are gearing up for the STOKR ride this weekend out of Libby and other big rides almost weekly through much of the summer. Any hint of boredom can be dashed at the 24-Hour Race at Riverside State Park on May 26.

River runners are entering prime whitewater season from the Spokane River to the Lochsa, while flatwater paddlers could wear out their arms day and night all season and still not sample all the region’s options, from the Little Spokane River to nearby lakes.

You can try out a new kayak at the Paddle Fest Saturday on Sandpoint City Beach. Info: (208) 263-5975.

COMPETING INTERESTS

Looking at that short list of boredom-busting outdoor activities tugging at our lifestyles, it’s no wonder the outdoors is becoming a smaller place. People who work to avoid conflicts have little idle time.

Eloika Lake Association members are sponsoring the first Kayak & Canoe Poker Paddle from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on May 19. (Preregistration required, boat rental available through Spokane Parks and Rec, 625-6200).

I notice this is the same day the Spokane Fly Fishers have scheduled a club outing at Eloika.

The 650-acre lake has plenty of room for both, but will it always be that way?

The future is not bright when we have arrogant developers who ignore laws to destroy something as precious as kokanee spawning beds at Lake Pend Oreille.

Rock climbers need to be working with Washington Fish and Wildlife biologists in scheduling short-term climbing closures to avoid disrupting gold eagles as they choose a place to nest in the Tieton area near Yakima. The alternative could be complete closure to some state wildlife lands.

 

Rail-trail advocates in Ferry County are working hard to bank the railway that’s being abandoned along the Kettle River from Republic past Curlew Lake to the Canada border. They would like to transform the right-of-way into a 28-mile corridor for utilities and a trail for non-motorized travel similar to the wildly popular Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

But a few people apparently are digging in to demand the trail also be open to motorized vehicles, such as ATVs and motorcycles.

The concept of multiple-use trails is worth pursuing in many areas, but not in the case of a rail trail. The only way motorized vehicle riders could amuse themselves on the flat grade of rail bed would be to go at high speeds or dip on and off the grade – neither of which are desirable from the viewpoint of adjacent landowners or land managers who must minimize user conflicts and liability.

Ferry County commissioners have set a public meeting to discuss rail trail proposals for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Republic Elementary School Multi-Purpose Room.


Mount Spokane’s master plan is in the works, and everyone wants a piece of the 13,800-acre state park pie.

While organized nordic skiers have been trying to work with snowmobilers and Inland Empire Paper Company to expand cross-country ski trails on the mountain, another contingent of nordic skiers is requesting trails groomed and dedicated to people who want to be pulled on their skis by dogs.

The downhill skiing concessions proposal to expand runs onto the back of the mountain is plowing over the reservations of wildlife biologists, who say the loss of old-growth security will impact critters ranging from neo-tropical birds to bears.

The public would gain some ski terrain, but almost surely at the cost of wildlife diversity.

Public meetings and decisions affecting wildlife and outdoor recreation are scheduled every day. Some people are advocating and defending their outdoor pursuits as much as they are participating. That’s part of the game nowadays.

With so many competing interests, you’re a loser if you think you have time to be bored.

© 2007 Spokesman Review. Used with permission.

 
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