Thursday, December 29, 2016

Slipping and sliding in a winter wonderland

By Andrea Dell

"When I was your age, I waded through 20 feet of snow for 10 miles just to reach the bus stop!"

I exaggerate (a bit), but you're probably grinning after reading that first sentence, either because you've heard this from your parents or grandparents, or you've said something similar to your children or grandchildren.

Clearwater County's winters over the last several years have been comparatively mild. Maybe a few inches of snow here and there, and a couple weeks of near-zero degree weather. 

We'd hear stories of the east coast getting hammered with two or three feet of snow and raging wind gusts, and think, "Thank God it's not like that here."

Then came winter 2016.

No, it's still not as bad as the east coast.

But, it's had more snowfall than I can remember in several years. Even people dreaming of a white Christmas are saying, "Okay, I'm over it!"

The National Weather Service says this particular weather system comes along every four years or so. Seems like it's been longer than that since we've seen this much snow here in the valley.

Next week, yet another rare weather system is supposed to descend with a round of bitterly cold temperatures, where the HIGHS will "struggle to reach zero degrees." That's Fahrenheit, not Celsius.

The lows, meanwhile, could drop down to -15 or so a couple days next week, in some areas.

As of this writing, the actual forecast for Orofino says highs in the mid-teens and lows around zero degrees, give or take a couple of degrees.

Orofino often doesn't get hit quite as hard as other places by these extreme weather conditions. Surrounding areas often do.

Meanwhile, we can expect more snow until that cold snap arrives to welcome us to the new year.

Take a look at the photo with this post. It's the rear entrance to Orofino City Park. There's even more snow piled up there than is pictured, and this image was taken less than a week ago.

The roads aren't going to improve for the foreseeable future. Neither are the sidewalks, many of which are slick with ice or three inches of gooey slush.

The town is quiet, and business is slow, as people wisely stay off some very scary roads. Those who don't often find themselves stuck, or in a fender bender. If they're lucky, they get by with a white-knuckle, fish-tailing round trip.

Wherever you are as you're reading this, I hope your new year is the best one yet. And if you're huddling in the throes of a real winter, as we are here in Clearwater County, stay warm and safe. We at the Clearwater Tribune will see you next year.

Orofino City Park's rear entrance is pictured in late December, 2016. Photo by Charlie Pottenger.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Idaho spring steelhead season opens New Year’s Day

By Mike Demick, Conversation Information Supervisor

For some anglers, the best thing about New Year's is the start of the spring steelhead season, which opens Jan. 1 on parts of the Clearwater, Salmon, Little Salmon, Snake and Boise rivers.

But before wetting a line, anglers will need a 2017 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit.

River sections to open include:

Salmon River from its mouth to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.

Little Salmon River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.

Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Oxbow Dam.

Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Clear Creek.

North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Dworshak Dam.

South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.

Boise River from its mouth to the Barber Dam.

The steelhead limit is three per day, nine in possession and 20 for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch and release. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed immediately.

Steelhead are in the Boise River and the Snake River above Hells Canyon Dam only when stocked by Idaho Fish and Game. 

During November, over 300 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River. A steelhead permit is required to fish for and keep steelhead (rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin). Barbless hooks are not required on the Boise River. 

Consult Idaho’s 2016-2018 Fishing Seasons and Rules brochure for exceptions and special restrictions. For additional information on steelhead fishing including the latest catch rates, dam counts, and useful instructional videos, go to /steelhead.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Winter weather closes some Dworshak recreation facilities

Dworshak Dam and Reservoir recreation staff have enacted winter-season closures for Viewpoint restrooms, Dam View Campground, Canyon Creek Campground and Merrys Bay Day-Use Area.

Dent Acres campground will remain open until Dec. 15 at noon, weather permitting, to accommodate hunters. If winter conditions create unsafe access, staff will close the campground earlier. Notices will be posted in the campground and with local media outlets. Off-season camping at Dent Acres costs $14 per night. 

Big Eddy, Bruce’s Eddy and the fishing wall area below the dam will remain open for use during the winter season. Seasonally closed facilities are slated to reopen in the spring of 2017, as weather conditions allow.

As always, safety is the Corps’ greatest concern – boaters should wear lifejackets and avoid drinking alcohol while boating. The road leading to the recreation areas, especially the boat ramps, can be icy and potentially hazardous during the winter, so please drive safely.

For more information regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dworshak facilities access and current conditions, call 208-476-1255 during business hours. The Dworshak Dam Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Galbreath receives new home to replace one lost in fire

Submitted by Shelley Ponozzo

The WUNCCIL (Wildfire Long Term Recovery for Unmet Needs Group for Clearwater, Idaho, and Lewis Counties) group held a dedication for a new home recently completed in the Upper Fords Creek area above Orofino. This area was one of the harder hit during the 2015 Municipal Fire in Clearwater County.

Dave Hasz, Chairman for the WUNCCIL Group opened the Dedication by thanking the Clearwater County Commissioner’s for waiving the County building fees and other assistance they provided in helping to make this new home a reality. Hasz presented the new home owner, Scott Galbreath with a Certificate of Occupancy from Clearwater County for his new home. 

Denise Bacon, Galbreath’s Case Manager for the WUNCCIL Group introduced Scott Galbreath and explained what he had to overcome with regards to the fires. Galbreath, a veteran, would have preferred being on his property to help fight the fires last August, but due to medical reasons and surgery, he was in the hospital. 

A family member and friends rushed to his property, but his home was already burning and a complete loss. They continued to hose down other out buildings to save what they could. John Eshleman, Region IV Board Chairman for the Mennonite Disaster Service presented Scott with a handmade quilt as a house warming gift. In addition, the Kamiah Quilters Guild gave two handmade quilts to Scott, for him and his daughter, to stay warm on cold nights.

Dave Hasz thanked Wade Gayler, Red Cross Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Idaho/Montana Region for all of his assistance this last year and for the funding of approximately $158,900 from the American Red Cross to assist those affected by the fires and help build two homes in Idaho County and one home in Clearwater County. 

Gayler stated “the contributions to the Red Cross came from Orofino, Kamiah, Lewiston, around the region and across the nation, to help this area rebuild and make this day possible. He is honored to represent the Red Cross at this day of celebration and to help dedicate this new home.”

The WUNCCIL Group wanted to thank and somehow show their appreciation to John Eshleman, Region IV Board Chairman and the Mennonite Disaster Service, for coming into our communities to provide their talent and expertise in rebuilding homes lost during last summer’s fires.

Hasz presented a plaque to Eshleman and the Mennonite Disaster Service. Words can fail us in trying to thank and describe how much the Mennonite Disaster Service provided to the Clearwater, Idaho and Lewis County area. Eshleman named the different project managers and their teams that came into this area to volunteer their time, thanking them. Harold Miller was the MDS Project Director for the home being dedicated that day.

Michele WhiteEagle performed the pastoral duties by closing the Dedication in prayer.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Veterans Day activities aplenty for the VFW

By Doug Boyer

With a full week of Veterans Day activities just past, the veterans and the auxiliary at the VFW were kept quite busy.

Due to the fact that there was no school on Friday (Veterans Day, Nov. 11), area schools held their assemblies throughout the week.

So we started off the week on Monday, Nov. 7, with a wonderful assembly put on at Orofino Jr./Sr. High School, where we judged the art class Veterans Day posters. This was followed by a presentation of the “POW/MIA” table and the Armed Forces medley, and presentation of white carnations to the veterans in attendance.

This was followed up on Thursday at noon, when the VFW presented a new flag to the students and faculty at Peck Elementary, followed by a flag raising with the Pledge of Allegiance and then an assembly hosted by the school and followed up with some great food. 

Also on Thursday, we had the honor of attending a music-filled tribute to veterans at Orofino Elementary.

On Veterans Day, we started the day at 7 a.m. with the help of 48 veterans and community members, and posted over 160 U.S. flags at the Orofino and Weseman cemeteries.

We also held Buddy Poppy sales throughout the community, and had a great chili and stew lunch and bake sale hosted by the VFW Auxiliary.

At 3 p.m., we had the honor of presenting Certificates of Appreciation to veteran residents at Clearwater Health and Rehab. Our day concluded with a Quilt of Valor ceremony, where 15 deserving veterans were each presented with a beautiful handmade quilt by the Quilts of Valor Federation in conjunction with the Central Idaho Quilt Guild.

What a wonderful week, and we thank everyone in the community for showing us their appreciation.

A busy holiday season is fast approaching

The U.S. Marine Corps will be kicking off their annual Toys for Tots program for the 2016 season on Friday, Nov., 25 and the VFW is one of the collection centers in our area.

Please help the USMC help the less fortunate by dropping off your new, unwrapped toys at the VFW in Orofino. 

The VFW will be holding its Christmas party this year in conjunction with Orofino American Legion Post 53, Auxiliary members and their families at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, at the VFW hall. Turkey and ham will be supplied by the VFW, so just bring your favorite side dish to share.

There will be door prizes, Christmas music, and plenty of holiday cheer. 

Speaking of Christmas, it is not too late to reserve our smoke-free VFW hall for your holiday party or get-together. Dates are filling up fast, so call the VFW today at 476-4117 for an inexpensive holiday party rental.

An engraved brick makes for that perfect Christmas present

We still have plenty of room for more bricks in our “Brickyard of Memories,” and it is not too late to get you or a loved one’s memories engraved.

Please keep in mind there is absolutely no military affiliation required in order to purchase a brick. You can celebrate your children, grandchildren, friends or yourself with anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, births, deaths, years in Orofino—the sky is the limit!

They make a great birthday, Christmas or anniversary present, too! There are currently over 140 bricks in place, with room for hundreds more. 

The 4” x 8” bricks are $40 each with your engraved message, and the 8” x 8” bricks are only $70. These bricks, along with some older bricks from the old junior high school, are placed between the two sidewalks leading up to the VFW building.

For further information or to purchase your brick, please call the VFW at 476-4117 or stop by and pick up an order form. Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a brick or bench! 

The VFW holds their monthly membership meeting on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. The Auxiliary meets at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

The VFW and Auxiliary are updating their records and are requesting that all members let the VFW or Auxiliary know of any email, address, or phone number changes. 

Want to join the VFW? We would love to have you! Too busy? Don’t worry, we won’t put any pressure on you to do something. Just contact any VFW member, bring your DD 214 down to the VFW at 330 Michigan Ave., or call 476-4117 for more information.

Not eligible for the VFW? The Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars is now accepting both men and ladies as members to the Auxiliary. Just be a blood relative of a combat veteran and you too can be a member! Give us a call for more info.

A big thank you to everyone in our community who helps support our veterans and Harold Kinne VFW Post 3296.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dr. Hanna Konarzewska, Cardiac Electrophysiologist, implants first S-ICD (subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator) in Lewiston

Dr. Hanna Konarzewska is a Board Certified Cardiac Electropysiologist specializing in diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and palpitations. She implants and manages devices such as defibrillators, pacemakers, and loop recorders to aid in diagnosis and management of these arrhythmias.

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center proudly recognizes Dr. Konarzewska and her team at the St. Joseph Heart and Vascular Center, providing award-winning healthcare.

An ICD device monitors a patient’s heart 24/7, sending an electrical shock to the heart if it detects a life-threatening heart rhythm in order to restore the heart to its normal rhythm, preventing sudden cardiac arrest.

This device is different from a regular implantable cardiac defibrillator. The ICD lead, which senses the electrical activity in the heart, is tunneled under the skin to rest next to the heart on the breast bone, and a small pocket on your side houses the device. 

There is no need to access the vessels of the heart to place the leads as with a regular implanted defibrillator – leaving the heart and the blood vessels untouched and intact.

For patients, this means less lead related complications such as lead fracture, lead migration, or arrhythmia, as well as, less opportunity for infection in high-risk patients as the heart remains untouched. 

A physician would help determine which device is right for each patient. For more information, visit

Friday, November 11, 2016

Oversized loads to move through Lewiston starting Nov. 13

LEWISTON - Throughout the month of November, freight trucks will haul large building components from the Port of Lewiston to the Clearwater Paper Corporation during overnight hours with minimal impact to motorists.

Thirteen oversize loads are scheduled to make the 2.9-mile trip between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. starting on November 13. You can see a map of the route here and a preliminary schedule below.

Traffic on the Memorial Bridge may experience some delays. Flaggers will also block the intersection of Highway 12, the Main Street Bypass, and Main Street. This could create a delay of 15-20 minutes.

Omega Morgan is the company hauling these loads. They have partnered with ITD, Lewiston Police, the city of Lewiston, Nez Perce County, emergency services, and public utility outlets to make this move as smooth and successful as possible.

The cooperation on this project highlights ITD's commitment to safely transport goods and services throughout the state.

Preliminary Schedule of Hauls:

Every night from Sunday, November 13 through Tuesday, November 22.

Then every night from Monday, November 28 through Friday, December 2.

Work done to clear travel path:

- Temporarily remove street lights between Idaho 128 and Main St.

- Install temporary rotation traffic signal arm at 3rd Ave. North and U.S. 12.

- Relocate overhead utility lines.

The Idaho Transportation Department is responsible for all highways on the State Highway System – interstates, state highways and U.S. routes. All other roads are under the jurisdiction of the local, city or county entity.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Idaho Foodbank celebrates new facility

Lewiston, ID – On Thursday, Nov. 3, The Idaho Foodbank cut a ribbon and celebrated its new north central Idaho facility with a ceremony for local business leaders and donors.

This is the culmination of years of planning and effort. The new facility will provide programs and/or services to the 9 northern-most counties in the state. It will help the Foodbank, which has operated out of Lewiston since 1994, reach more people than ever before.

Chairman of the Foodbank’s Statewide Steering Committee for the Fresh Approach campaign, Patricia Kempthorne said, “Even as the economy improves and hunger numbers in Idaho level off, we still need to do more to reach the people in need in every part of our state. This new facility will enable the Foodbank to bring in more of the nutritious food that doesn’t just solve hunger, but does so in a healthy way.” 

The building comes at the perfect time, as the Foodbank launches its “Hope for the Holidays” campaign. The new facility will play an integral role in the goal of distributing the food for more than 2.5 million meals. Some of that will come from the current “Feed the Foodbank” effort in Lewiston, with more than 25 companies working together to collect food to fill the new structure.

Feeding America’s annual hunger study “Map the Meal Gap” estimates more than 17,000 people in north central Idaho are food insecure, meaning they may not know where they’ll get their next meal. More than 4,000 of those people are children.

“Our community is in need and the Foodbank has worked for more than 12 years to help those who are hungry in north central Idaho,” said Joanna Alford, Local Campaign Committee Co-Chairman. “North central Idaho looks after its own and this new building is a symbol of the great work being done to help our friends and neighbors. More help is needed. We still hope to raise the funding needed for this new building.”

Friday, October 28, 2016

Idaho state road closure information

The Maggie Creek Supervisory Area of the Idaho Department of Lands in Kamiah has historically closed the Brown’s Ridge/Mosquito Creek Loop Roads and the Fidler Road from the end of general elk season to Memorial Day weekend.

These seasonal closures were designed to reduce road damage and maintenance expenses and also to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation from road surfaces. 

Last year, due to significant road improvements performed by the Maggie Creek Supervisory Area, these roads remained open on a trial basis and were closely monitored for moisture related road damage and soil erosion issues. 

Brown’s Ridge/Mosquito Creek Loop Roads and the Fidler Road will remain open again this year, but will be closed should road damage and/or significant erosion occur, or if damage to timber resources or other State property is determined by the Idaho Department of Lands to have occurred. 

The Farmer Road system will be closed from Oct. 1 - May 1 annually, and all other road closures remain in effect, which means that use by unauthorized vehicles wider than 50” is prohibited. 

Cooperation of the public is crucial and much appreciated. Please report any unauthorized use of closed roads and/or damage to State resources. 

For more information, please contact the Kamiah Idaho Department of Lands at 208-935-2141.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Work underway to reduce rockfall risk at site of Idaho 14 Elk River landslide

Crews began work Oct. 24 to address the rockfall risk at the location of a massive landslide on Idaho 14 west of Elk City. The landslide in February loosened tons of rock and debris. Another slide in the same location two months later loosened additional material.

Eventually, it took six months and more than 15,000 truckloads to remove 235,000 cubic yards of mud, rocks and trees. Depending on the density of the material, each cubic yard can equal a ton, meaning the cleanup may have required the removal of more than 470 million lbs.

Crews will perform rock scaling (identifying loose rocks in danger of tumbling down to the roadway and taking proactive steps to bring them down safely) and rock bolting (a process in which a long anchor bolt is drilled into the rock formation, transferring the load from the exterior to the more stable interior of the rock mass.)

During the work the road will be reduced to just one lane, as the lane closest to the hill will be closed to traffic. Flaggers will guide traffic. Drivers should expect up to 15-minute delays as work progresses.

West Company, of Airway Heights, Washington, is the contractor on the work.

To encourage new vegetation to take root on the hillside, help stabilize the area against further erosion, and anchor rocks and debris, crews plan to hydro-seed the area next spring.

To discourage future slides, crews may also install metal mesh netting in particular areas or build a rock catchment.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Johnson’s Mill motorcross race is Saturday

The 55th annual Johnson’s Mill XC race is set for Saturday, Oct. 15, at Johnson’s Mill, about 10 miles outside of Orofino, up Grangemont Road. Sign-up starts at 8 a.m. Riders will make their way through over 40 miles of single track, with live and dead checks.

The entry fees are $40 for pros, $30 for amateurs, and $20 for minis, plus a $5 per rider land permit fee.

Classes in this race include: Pro (with a monetary payback), lightweight, heavyweight, vet (40+), iron man, woman, and mini (bike sizes 50, 65, 85).

A mini riders meeting will be held at 8:45 a.m., with that race to begin at 9 a.m. A “big bikes” meeting is at 10:45 a.m., with that race beginning at 11 a.m.

The Orofino Motorcycle Club, who are hosting the race, invite everyone to come out and enjoy the event. They would also like to remind hunters that there will be racers in the woods that day, so please use extra caution if you’re hunting in the area.

The group also apologizes to hunters for the disruption, and adds that the race will be back to its regular June race date next year.

For more information on the race, including directions to the race site, visit Orofino Motorcycle Club on Facebook. You can also call Jim Engle at 208-816-6253.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Nez Perce Tribe: We are committed to preventing the Clearwater and Lochsa River from becoming an industrial corridor

The Nez Perce Tribe opposes the Clearwater and Lochsa River corridor becoming an industrial corridor, and has repeatedly made this known, according to a news release the Tribe issued last week.

The Tribe peacefully protested mega-load traffic in 2013 and simultaneously pursued a successful action in federal court enjoining mega-load traffic from the wild and scenic corridor of U.S. Highway 12 within the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. 

The injunction issued by Judge Winmill in 2013 remains in place until the U.S. Forest Service completes an impact study and consults on a government-to-government basis with the Nez Perce Tribe. 

ITD’s recently proposed rule regarding 129,000-pound oversize shipments is, according to the press release, no different from the agency’s position prior to the 2013 federal court injunction.

“It does not alter the reality that the legal issues at stake are federal in nature, are the subject of a federal court lawsuit that resulted in a federal court injunction, and are subject to on-going federal court mediation. At a minimum, ITD’s proposed rule is at this time ineffectual,” states the press release.

ITD made no effort to contact the Nez Perce Tribe or the U.S. Forest Service before unilaterally proposing this rule, states the press release.

The Forest Service, the Tribe, and Idaho Rivers United are engaged in mediation under the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ mediation program.

The Forest Service, the Tribe, and ITD–which was invited into the mediation in 2015–are all bound by confidentiality from disclosing those discussions; however, the Tribe strongly disagrees with ITD’s characterization of the mediation in its FAQ accompanying this rulemaking. 

“The Tribe is committed to continuing to protect the Clearwater-Lochsa river corridor, and to working with the U.S. Forest Service and others regardless, whether ITD chooses to do so or not,” states the press release.

The Tribe will not comment at ITD’s hearing on the proposed rule, but it will submit comments on the proposed rulemaking in writing by Oct. 14.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Shopko Hometown Store grand opening is Friday, Oct. 14

Opens to customers Sunday, Oct. 2

Shopko has announced that it will open a new Shopko Hometown store located at 429 Michigan Ave on Friday, Oct. 14. Shopko Hometown provides local residents a convenient new community-focused shopping experience that features essential name-brand items.

A special grand opening event, highlighted by a $2,500 check presentation to Orofino Junior / Senior High School by the Shopko Foundation, will take place at 7:45 a.m.

All residents are invited to join the Shopko team and community leaders for the event. For those who can’t wait for the grand opening celebration, the store will be open to customers starting on Sunday, Oct. 2.

The first 100 customers in line will receive a free $10 Shopko gift card. A number of prizes will also be given out through “register to win” events.

Customers will also be encouraged to sign up for Shopko’s loyalty program to receive exclusive mailers, $10 off on their birthday and special email announcements and offers.

Every customer who uses their loyalty member card on the day of the grand opening will be entered into a drawing for a $1,000 shopping spree. Refreshments will be served inside the store.

The store will be open Monday through Sunday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The pharmacy will be open Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The excitement surrounding our grand opening isn’t just about the products we sell, it’s about making life easier for the customers we are privileged to serve,” said Peter McMahon, Shopko CEO. “It’s about the stuff that counts—the essentials that help people get ready for work or school or to enjoy the weekend with family and friends.”

Shopko Hometown combines Shopko’s strong reputation for health services and customer service with a broad and dynamic offering of national brands and private label brands at a great value. Product offerings include clothing, home furnishings, toys, consumer electronics, seasonal items and lawn and garden products – all in attractive, well laid out, easy-to-shop store format.

“At Shopko Hometown, we understand that we’re simply part of the larger community,” said McMahon. “That’s why we support local organizations, such as schools and 501(c)(3) organizations, that are vital to the well-being and future growth of the community.”

Having opened 53 stores in 2015 and 22 thus far in 2016, including the Orofino location, Shopko is projecting continued growth over the next two years with the expected opening of additional stores in markets across the country. 

Shopko provides the stuff that counts. Follow Shopko at

About Shopko

Shopko is owned by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a leading private investment firm focused on leverage buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies. 

Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Shopko Stores Operating Co., LLC is a $3 billion retailer that operates 372 stores in 25 states throughout the Central, Western and Pacific Northwest regions.

Retail formats include 131 Shopko stores, providing quality name-brand merchandise, great values, pharmacy and optical services in small to mid-sized cities; five Shopko Express Rx stores, a convenient neighborhood drugstore concept; five Shopko Pharmacy locations; and 231 Shopko Hometown stores, a smaller concept store developed to meet the needs of smaller communities.

For more information, visit

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fall burning planned on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests will be conducting fall prescribed burns beginning as early as Sept. 10 and continuing through September and into October, until weather or air quality conditions are no longer favorable.

Roads and trail heads that lead into these areas will be posted with caution signs and a map of the prescribed fire locations. 

Powell Ranger Station is planning to broadcast burn a 20 acre unit in the Saddle Camp area along FS road 5601. Smoke may be seen along FS road 107 and FS road 500.

Machine piles in the Saddle Camp and Granite Pass areas within the vicinity of the Powell Divide Timber Sale, along with hand piles near Rocky Point Lookout and the Powell Ranger Station, are also targeted for burning.

Moose Creek Ranger District is planning pile burning in the Johnson Bar area and the Swiftwater and Iron Mountain timber sale areas.

As weather and conditions allow prescribed fire treatments may be applied to three units in the O’Hara area. Visitors may see smoke and meet forest personnel along FS roads 470 (Coolwater) and FS road 464 (O’Hara) during burn operations. 

Lochsa Ranger Station as part of the North Lochsa Face Project is planning a landscape burn in the Middle Butte area north of FS road 483. The prescribed fire treatment is estimated to be 1,000 acres.

The purpose of the burn is to reintroduce fire to the landscape, reduce woody fuel loadings which also reduces the potential for large, catastrophic wildfires, and allow vegetation, naturally found in these areas, to return. 

Additional broadcast burning is planned in late September or early October in the Dead Canyon Timber Sale area near the upper portion of Deadman Creek and Cedar Knob and in the Cabin Timber Sale area near Cabin Creek. The prescribed fire treatments will reduce woody debris to create openings for tree planting.

North Fork Ranger District is planning pile burning in the Middle Bugs Timber Sale area. Piles are located near Lean-To Ridge off of FS road 555 and Beaver Dam Saddle off of FS road 103.

Palouse Ranger District is planning to broadcast burn 30 acres in the Abes Animals Timber Sale near Bovill and an additional 15 acres in the Robo Stew Timber Sale near the community of Elk River. 

Machine piles will be burned in the Cherry Pit, located near Helmer, and Abes Animal timber sale areas. Hand piles located near Jerome Creek, near Harvard, and near the Palouse Ranger District are also targeted for burning. 

Salmon River Ranger District is scheduled to broadcast burn approximately 336 acres within the Festus, Adams Stewardship and the Buckshot timber sale areas.

Approximately 129 acres will be treated within the Festus Timber Sale southeast near White Bird Station off of FS road 9485.

45 acres located in two logging units within the Adams Stewardship Timber Sale near the Adams Work Center, FS road 221, and FS road 309.

Treatments in the Buckshot Timber Sale will total 162 acres and is located near Willow Flat off of FS road 354.

Prescribed fire treatments in various Ponderosa Pine plantations near McComas Meadows, Earthquake Basin, and in the Cove area at the head waters of Bully Creek are planned. 200-300 acres will be treated.

Red River Ranger District, weather permitting, will begin prescribed fire treatments September 12, 2016 and continue until weather and conditions no longer support burning operations. Prescribed fire treatments are scheduled in the Red River Meadows area and the Soda Creek area. 

Acres and locations scheduled include: Approximately 100 acres in the 66 Timber Sale located on the west side of Red River Meadows and below FS road 1800 (Cole Porter Road), 80 acres, Looney 2 Timber Sale, east of FS road 222 along FS road 1806 (Loon Creek Road), 14 acres, Blanco Timber Sale, and east of FS road 222.

Also north of FS road 1183 (Blanco Road), 100 acres, Jungle Trail Timber Sale, located between FS road 234 (Red River Hot Springs Road) and FS road 1172 (Soda Creek Road), and 200 acres in the French Gulch Timber Sale along FS road 9822 (French Gulch Road).

Fire personnel will work closely with the Idaho/Montana Airshed Group, the National Weather Service, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to insure that smoke impacts are minimized. 

Smoke from these prescribed fires will be much less than what would be expected from a wildfire. If smoke concentrations approach air quality standards fire ignition may be delayed until air quality improves.

Residual smoke may be visible for up to two weeks following ignition, but most of the smoke from the fires will dissipate one or two days after ignition. 

Specific information on the location and timing of these prescribed burns are available at each of the district offices. Powell Ranger Station – Matt Young or Brandon Cichowski, 208-942-3113, Moose Creek Ranger District – Tim Schaeffer or Aaron Skinner, 208-926-4258, Lochsa Ranger Station – Sean Gaines or Neal Cox, 208-926-4274, North Fork Ranger District – Mike Lubke or TC Peterson, 208-476-4541, Palouse Ranger District – Lisa Spinelli or Alan Carlson, 208-875-1131, Salmon River Ranger District – Mike Blinn or Kevin Barger, 208-983-1950, Red River Ranger District – Josh Bransford or Tom McLeod, 208-842-2245.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Forest Proposes Adding Cabins and Lookouts to Recreation Rental Program and Increase and Implement New Fees at Several Recreation Sites Across the Forest

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are interested in receiving your comments on a proposal to increase the fee at one campground; and implement a new fee at two campgrounds, three group recreation sites and four cabin/lookout rentals. 

Through this proposal, if implemented, two cabins and two lookouts will be available for public rental, adding to the Forest’s popular recreation rental program. They will also bring several campgrounds, group sites and a dump station into alignment with other sites offering similar benefits and services. 

While these sites have historically been free, the forest has invested in items such as; potable water; increasing recreation site capacity and amenities, such as group sites and shelters; improved toilet facilities; and new picnic tables and other infrastructure.

A reasonable fee, paid by users of these sites and services, will help ensure that the Forest can continue maintaining and improving the sites for future generations. 

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is proposing to charge fees at the following sites:

· Aquarius – Purple Beach Group Site, North Fork Ranger District: Proposed fee of $15 per night and an additional $5 extra vehicle, per night fee for more than 2 vehicles. The adjacent day use picnic area will remain free to public use. 

· Cedar Flats Sewer Dump Station, Fenn Ranger Station, Moose Creek Ranger District: Proposed fee of $10 per use/waste dump.

· Elk River Day Use Picnic & Group Shelter, Palouse Ranger District: Proposed fee of $25 daily rental of the group day use facilities which includes a large group shelter with a maximum capacity of 150 persons and parking for 30 vehicles. Advance reservations for this site will be available through the National Recreation Reservation System.

· Fish Creek Group Site, Salmon River Ranger District: Proposed fee of $25 per night with a maximum capacity of 75 and 20 vehicles. Advance reservations for this site will be available through the National Recreation Reservation System.

· Gold Meadows Cabin Rental, Lochsa/Powell Ranger District: Proposed fee of $40 per night. Advance reservations for this site will be available through the National Recreation Reservation System.

· Liz Creek Cabin Rental, North Fork Ranger District: Proposed fee of $40 per night. Advance reservations for this site will be available through the National Recreation Reservation System.

· Lolo Creek Campground, Lochsa/Powell Ranger District: Proposed fee of $12 per night.

· Partridge Creek Campground, Palouse Ranger District; Proposed fee of $12 per night. 

· Scurvy Mountain Lookout Rental, North Fork Ranger District: Proposed fee of $45 per night. Advance reservations for this site will be available through the National Recreation Reservation System. 

· Wallow Mountain Lookout Rental, North Fork Ranger District: Proposed fee of $45 per night. Advance reservations for this site will be available through the National Recreation Reservation System. 

Additional construction is required at Partridge Creek Campground prior to implementation of proposed fee, and is planned to occur in 2017. No fee will be charged prior to completion. The four proposed cabin and fire lookout rentals have not been available for recreation use prior to this date. An analysis of nearby similar recreation sites indicates that the proposed sites and associated fees are in alignment with other offerings.

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to retain 95 percent of fees collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate and maintain and improve these sites. 

Forest managers will be accepting comments until October 14, 2016. For more information, questions or to provide comments about any of these fee change proposals, please contact Diana Jones at (208) 476-8239. You can mail comments to: Diana Jones, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, 12730 U.S. Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544 or email comments to FS-comments-northern-clearwater.

Once public involvement is complete, this proposal and public comments will be presented to the Coeur d’Alene Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) prior to a final decision and implementation.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Clearwater County Fair: The pedestrian’s revenge

By Andrea Dell

One year, while walking home from the fair, I encountered a chalk drawing of a human outline, in the street.

It was in the middle of a crosswalk beside the old Orofino Junior High—the intersection next to First Christian Church. It looked like the type of outline drawing crime scene investigators make around a murder victim’s corpse.

My first thought was a little evil: An Orofino pedestrian bites the dust.

Obviously no one died there, or any such thing. No doubt it was drawn by someone having a little fun.

Still, being a pedestrian in Orofino isn’t easy.

Clearwater County’s Fair and Lumberjack Days weekend is the one time of year when pedestrians rule the streets in downtown Orofino. You can step casually off the curb and know you aren’t in danger of being run over, because everyone else is doing the same thing.

Normally, this is not the case.

Like me, you’ve probably been to communities where cars will basically slam on their brakes to stop for you.

In Orofino, you don’t often see such a thing from motorists. To be fair, when you attempt to cross the street, it doesn’t usually take more than a few seconds before someone will stop for you.

Even so, most pedestrians know to be extra wary if there is any traffic when they’re trying to cross the street.

Often, a couple of drivers in either direction will breeze on by as you stand there waiting. It’s hard to say if they weren’t paying attention, or simply didn’t want to spare that three to five seconds it would take you to cross their lane.

Sometimes, a driver will speed up when they see you. Perhaps they think they’ll be out of your way faster if they hurry, plus they won’t have to stop. Everybody wins!

When you’re the driver, and perfectly willing to stop for pedestrians, it’s tricky for you, too. Cars behind you may not notice a pedestrian even if you do. Do you try to stop, and risk getting rear-ended, or do you cruise on by, leaving the pedestrian to wait on someone more curteous?

The larger issue for drivers is figuring out what the heck a pedestrian is trying to do.

Because pedestrians here are conditioned to be extra wary of traffic, the way we handle that wariness is fairly confusing to motorists.

For example, one species of Orofino pedestrian you’ll notice is the timid lurker. You’ll find them hovering shyly on the sidewalk, a body length from the edge of the curb.

They’ll be tentatively glancing back and forth, hoping the traffic will clear, or at least figure out what they’re wanting and slow down.

Maybe they’re even rocking back and forth a bit, the way you do when you need to use the restroom pretty badly. It’s difficult to tell that they even want to cross the street.

When they do cross, they break into a fast walk, or even a jog, as if they feel it’s only a matter of seconds before the vehicle that finally slowed down for them decides to floor it and mow them down.

Another type of Orofino pedestrian is the one a driver does see, and does stop for, because they are standing at the edge of the curb, clearly waiting.

In this case, instead of crossing, they wave the driver on by. Do they not want to cross after all? Or, do they want to be free and clear of all traffic before they cross, so they can take their time? Perhaps they’re just being courteous.

The only way to know is to glance in your rearview mirror after you’ve driven past. Sometimes they’ll be right where they were, leaving you to wonder why they’re just standing there.

More likely, you’ll see them step into the street and cross, or waving on some other vehicle that showed up.

During the Clearwater County Fair, this timid pedestrian business doesn’t exist, particularly on Main Street (only a block from where the fair is set up).

Pedestrians march boldly into the street whenever and wherever they please, sparing barely a glance at any motorists who try and brave downtown Orofino.

Sometimes droves of pedestrians pass in one giant pack. Other times, there are just a couple of people, or small groups, spaced just far enough apart that cars can’t simply speed by without running over someone.

If you’ve never noticed it before, or never thought about it, take a minute to check it out at this year’s fair.

And, enjoy it while you can—once things wrap up on Fair Sunday, you’ll be back at the bottom of the food chain, Orofino pedestrian!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Orogrande Community Protection Project gets underway

The Orogrande Community Protection Project got a jump start in July when Idaho Department of Corrections' (IDOC) Red Shirt crew joined forces with forest personnel.

The Red Shirts, comprised of ten crew members from the Idaho Corrections Institute in Orofino, put training they had acquired to use cutting, brushing, and piling around the community of Orogrande. Corrections Officer Spencer, said of the group, “They are ready to go to work.”

The IDOC crew members earn $1.25 an hour. Wages earned in projects like the Orogrande project can be used to send money home, pay for child support, and purchase items in the commissary like pop, candy, and Ramen noodles.

Skills learned and utilized help inmates reintegrate back into the community and find jobs. When crew members were asked if they had spent time in the forest and done similar work, a range of experience, from one who had grown up in that line of work to another who was originally from Sacramento and had never done any kind of related work or spent time on forest lands, was shared.

Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor, Cheryl Probert, signed the Final Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Orogrande Community Protection Project on January 29, 2016. 

In a Feb. 8 news release, a community member shared, "The Orogrande Protection Project is an example, of what can be accomplished when the local community and USFS work together in a harmonious way…” 

The project is designed to reduce forest fuels near private lands and roads near the Orogrande Community, other private lands, and along Forest Road 233, the Crooked River Road.

The project is also designed to reduce the risk of high intensity wildfires and to improve forest health, vigor and resilience within forest stands.

These actions are consistent with the Idaho County Community Wildlife Protection Plan (CWPP). The project area is located in the Crooked River watershed southwest of Elk City.

Shown here is some clean-up work done during the Orogrande Community Protection Project. The goal of the project was to reduce the risk of wildfires and improve forest health.

Pictured here are members of ICI-O Red Shirts work crew who helped at the Orogrande Community Protection Project.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Prescribed fire aims to reduce fire risk, improve elk habitat

Weather conditions permitting, fire managers plan to begin prescribed fire operations next week in the Barnard Junction and Moose Kelly project areas of the North Fork Ranger District. 

The planned area has remained relatively untouched by fire for almost a century. Applying fire in a controlled manner will reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires and provide better forage for declining elk herds and other wildlife species.

The prescribed burn has been scheduled to take advantage of the narrow window of opportunity for prescribed fire treatment available, as the area receives 30 to 60 inches of rain annually, and is compared to an inland rainforest.

The fire will be allowed to move and spread within the units until precipitation from a season-ending weather event occurs. Units targeted for treatment range from 150 acres to 2,050 acres.

Not every acre will burn, but the entire area will benefit from the increased vegetative diversity created by the managed fire. 

After fire managers perform a test burn, a helicopter, utilizing aerial ignition, will drop hundreds of chemical-filled plastic spheres that look like ping-pong balls onto ridges with stands of dead and dying timber in the target area. A chemical reaction causes the spheres to ignite on the ground and smolder until they light vegetation.

By varying the proportions of the chemical mix and the number of spheres dropped, fire managers can control the speed of ignition and the intensity of the prescribed fire. The fire will then be allowed to back downslope into wet drainages, reducing fire intensity. 

The targeted prescribed fire area burned during the historic 1910 and 1919 fires. Decades of fire suppression has left the area heavily forested with lodgepole pine and many of the trees in the area are dying from infestations of mountain pine beetle. Reducing the amount of available fuels aids in the reduction of potentially large, high intensity wildfires.

Thick tree canopies have prevented growth of forage required by big-game animals. The result has been an adverse effect of elk habitat in the area and elk populations dropping drastically over the past quarter century. Many plants respond favorably to fire and new growth will provide forage for wildlife.

Residents of Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley are likely to see smoke from the burn. Prescribed fire produces smoke, but the smoke is typically short-lived and managed to minimize impacts to communities.

Prescribed fire and other fuels treatments help to reduce the severity of wildfires and minimize adverse smoke impacts on public health and safety.

Over the next several weeks, the forest is planning several other prescribed fire projects in the North Fork and Lochsa/Powell Ranger Districts to reduce fuels and restore characteristics of a fire-adapted ecosystem. Prescribed fire treatments have not been implemented in these wetter areas since 2011.

Planned treatment areas are located within remote, roadless areas or areas with very limited road access. Staggering the prescribed fire treatments through the late fall reduces smoke impacts to local communities.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ICI-O and Special Olympics Idaho team up for a “Mega Event Fundraiser”

Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino (ICI-O) has a goal of raising $10,000 for Special Olympics Idaho, and to get there, they are holding a Mega Event Fundraiser all day Saturday, July 30, at Ernie’s Steakhouse in Lewiston.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. and continues until 10 a.m.

“‘ICIO’s Mega Event Fundraiser’ is the largest fund raising event that we have done to date,” said Anthony Riccomini, Even Coordinator. 

“It will include a Jail Sit Challenge, Tip and Cop, Torch Run, inmate artwork auction, free parking lot carnival with carnival games, snow cones, and more! We will be out all day long raising awareness for Special Olympics Idaho,” said Riccomini.

The day begins with the Torch Run at 9 a.m. Athletes from the Special Olympics, along with representatives from the IDOC, local law enforcement, and the general public, will carry the Torch of Hope from North 40 Outfitters down Juniper Dr. to Nez Perce Dr., ending at Ernie’s Steakhouse around 10 a.m.

Law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes will compete to see who can acquire the largest dollar amount of pledges for their run. The top two law enforcement officials and top two athletes that receive the most will win the honor of taking turns running the torch. The general public is encouraged to run as well. 

No pledges are necessary, but a $10 entry fee ($20 with a Torch Run t-shirt) will be collected at the starting line the day of the event between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The arrival of the runners at Ernie’s Steakhouse will be the kick-off of the free parking lot carnival. There will be a bounce house, face painting, carnival games, prizes, and more. 

IDOC will have a “jail” set up, and will challenge the public to give up an hour of their freedom to sit in this “jail” for charity. 

At 11 a.m. Ernie’s will open for lunch and there will be law enforcement officers on hand to serve the guests for tips. All tips that are collected by the officers will go to the Special Olympics Idaho. (Officer tips are in addition to the servers tips). 

Inside Ernie’s you can check out the IDOC inmate artwork silent auction and place your bids. There will be a radio live remote, as well as a live band for your enjoyment.

Ernie’s Steakhouse is located at 2305 Nez Perce Dr. in Lewiston. To view details about each activity, print flyers and pledge forms, make donations, and view the artwork up for bid in the silent auction, visit

Friday, July 22, 2016

“The Stealing of Idaho’s Capital” at Pierce 1860 Days

The Historical Actors Consortium out of Lewiston will perform “The Stealing of Idaho’s Capital” during Pierce 1860 Days.

The Historical Actors Consortium from Lewiston will be coming to Pierce as part of Pierce 1860 Days. They will perform a play entitled “The Stealing of Idaho’s Capital” at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Pierce Community Center. There is no admission fee.

This play will depict the historically accurate story of the beginning of Lewiston, and how it was the original capital of the Idaho Territory in 1863.

In 1865, disturbing and illegal events caused the capital to be moved to Boise. This is the only time in United States history this has happened.

You will meet hoteliers Hill Beachey and Madame Bonhore, along with Alonzo Leland, the tireless promoter of northern Idaho.

Other important Idaho pioneers will tell their stories, and the second Idaho Territorial Governor, Caleb Lyon, may even show up (if he isn’t run out of town…).

The actors who perform this place don’t use a stage—they create the play amongst the audience. You’ve probably never been to a performance like it!

Pictured here is Caleb Lyon, Idaho’s second Territorial Governor.

This is an Idaho Territory seal from 1863, when Lewiston was Idaho’s capital.