In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, BLM-Idaho will highlight 50 adventures in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Areas throughout 2014. Each “Wilderness Wednesday” during this year of celebration, the public will find a new post on BLM Idaho’s Facebook page, suggesting a new idea for a wilderness adventure. All activities will also be featured on the BLM-Idaho website. Each wilderness adventure will identify the wilderness area and include a photo, brief description, suggested experience level, location and approximate time to complete. Posts will begin on January 22. Members of the public are encouraged to share their photos and experiences in Idaho’s wilderness by using #IdahoWilderness50. We will share our favorites on our Facebook page throughout the year.
On February 14, Deer Parks Wildlife Management Unit welcomed about 1500 trumpeter swans, making Valentine’s Day 2013 extra special. These swans account for about one-quarter of the entire Rocky Mountain population counted during the annual census. The foraging birds depend on the area’s protected river corridor and wetlands for night-roosting. In 1999, the BLM, with assistance from the Conservation Fund, purchased the 2,500 acre area. It is cooperatively managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the BLM.
You feel as though you are entering a new mystical world while driving through the redwoods in Redwoods National Park. Although it s a warm day, the area under the canopy of gigantic trees is cool and moist. The ground is covered with fuzzy moss, dew-covered flowers and bright green foliage and butterflies sweep through the air.
The pygmy rabbit is the smallest North American member of the family Leporidae, with all hares and rabbits. They usually weigh about one pound and are about 9-12 inches in length. One of them could fit in the palm of your hand. They are also one of the only species of rabbit that dig their own burrows in deep, loose soil. Learn more about this pint-sized rabbit on the BLM Idaho’s website: http://blm.gov/hykd.
Grab a picnic lunch, hike up the trail at Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park and immediately be surrounded by incredibly breathtaking mountain views, a sea of colorful wildflowers and icy patches of snow!
Idaho Extreme Mustang Makeover Youth Trainer Creates Art inspired by the Public Lands
In the spring of 2015, 17 year-old Lydia Smith of Rigby, Idaho traveled to the Boise BLM Wild Horse Corrals to pick up her mustang in her first venture as a youth trainer for the Nampa, Idaho Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM). While there, her Mom shared that Lydia was a talented wildlife artist and encouraged Lydia to show the BLM staff some of her impressive artwork.
BLM Continues Successful Partnership to Introduce Idaho Youth to Nature’s Classroom
School may be out for the summer, but nature’s classroom is always in full session in northern Idaho! Just ask the sixty kids who participated in a series of Watchable Wildlife Nature Camps throughout July, hosted by the BLM and Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
This summer, campers each morning explored nature’s classrooms at BLM’s Blue Creek Bay recreation site within the 736-acre Wallace Forest Conservation Area and BLM’s Mica Bay Boater Park along the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Along the many forested trails at Blue Creek Bay, explorers sought signs of wildlife – tracks, bones, feathers and fur. And they learned about forest ecosystems as they listened for and identified bird sounds.
At Mica Bay Boater Park, campers waded in cool waters to beat the heat, and searched for insects, fish, snails and even a few crawdads. Here campers learned about aquatic ecosystems, which are plentiful in northern Idaho.
To escape the heat, campers spent late afternoons at the North Idaho Wildlife Education Center in Coeur d'Alene, with wildlife mounts ranging from woodland caribou to tiny pygmy owls and even a “bat room” that simulates a cave. The diverse assortment of raptors, owls, fish and mammals offered campers hands-on experiences, such as learning what owls eat by dissecting owl pellets. Campers looked for mouse bones and other interesting items that owls don’t digest during just one of the fun and cool “classroom assignments” of camp.
-Suzanne Endsley, Public Affairs Specialist for BLM Idaho Coeur d'Alene District
You may be surprised to find out that the BLM wild horse and burro adoption process doesn’t end once the animal leaves the adoption facility. In order to obtain a full title, a horse or burro must reside with the applicant for one year and meet the BLM criteria. After one year, BLM sends the applicant an eligibility letter. The letter must be signed by the applicant and a veterinarian or extension agent to verify the health of the animal. Once the letter is returned to the BLM and cleared, the owner will be provided the title to the animal. BLM range assistant Denice Morgan recently conducted a compliance check to verify that two burros adopted from a 2012 adoption were doing well. Sophie and Maggie were found to be healthy and happy. Owner Stefanie Simmons has a fondness for animals and has gone out of her way to make homes for many strays like these two burros.
View from the Top: Idaho’s Urbanized Peregrine Falcons
On rare occasion, local bird watchers may be treated to a peregrine falcon sighting in Idaho’s Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey area during the spring or fall migration. Peregrine falcons frequently nest near water, on ledges of rocky cliffs or in this case, buildings.
For the fifth year, a pair of peregrine falcons has been spotted fourteen stories up on the ledge of a bank building overlooking Boise, Idaho. Falcons do not build nests, but scrape a small depression to hold eggs within a nest site. The nest site must provide protection from weather and potential predators and must be in or near an adequate prey base. Nesting on buildings is an indication of how successfully these falcons are adapting to urban settings.
While conducting monitoring work, BLM Idaho Rangeland Technician Jason Lierman happened upon a baby badger and its mama trying to cross the Horse Butte road in the Jarbidge Field Office. Watch to see what this protective mama does next!
Very Large Airtankers Fight Fires in Idaho and Wyoming
It has a wingspan of 165 feet, a length of 182 feet and weighs over 400,000 pounds fully loaded. The DC-10 plane, also called a very large airtanker (VLAT) airplane, is capable of flying 600 miles per hour and carrying a maximum payload of 11,600 gallons of fire retardant. It is by far the largest airtanker in the fleet. Due to its massive size and weight, few airports can support it. The airtanker base in Pocatello, Idaho is one of a handful of airtanker bases in the nation able to accommodate this massive plane. Located in Eastern Idaho, this is the base of operations for tactical firefighting aircraft supporting wildfire suppression efforts in Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming and Northern Utah. In July, two of these airtankers departed from the Pocatello Airtanker Base to help with the Lodge Pole Fire in Idaho and the Fairfield Fire in Wyoming. The two VLATs dropped nearly 79,000 gallons of fire retardant in the four day period. The Pocatello Airtanker Base is administered and operated by the BLM. The BLM, in partnership with the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, form the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
The BLM has worked with the local community to construct teaching gardens that provide an outdoor learning space where teachers can conduct classes in an urban setting. These gardens are a venue for educating students on the unique plants, wildlife and geology of their area, as well as local Native American life and traditions and sage grouse habitat. http://on.doi.gov/19dThrO
Volunteers Celebrate National Trails Day in Idaho wilderness
In celebration of the 2013 National Trails Day, BLM partnered with 25 volunteers from the Idaho Trails Association and the Boise REI to complete work on the Roberson Trail. The volunteers repaired trail erosion, installed new trail markers and re-built switchbacks of this steep trail. This historic pack trail, located approximately 70 miles southeast of Boise, is located near the deep, secluded and scenic Bruneau-Jarbidge river canyon and wilderness area. The group plans to tackle other nearby wilderness areas during future National Trail Day events.
Hidden among the rough canyon terrain, on the South Fork of the Snake River, lies the homestead of famous Idaho author Vardis Fisher and his family. Among many other works, Fisher is known for his book Mountain Man, later made into the famous movie Jeremiah Johnson, featuring Robert Redford. In February of 2012, with help from various partner organizations and money from the congressional-designated Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations, the BLM was able to purchase the 431-acre homestead site. With this newly acquired land, the BLM can ensure its rich history will always be available for the public and future generations.
The peregrine falcons continue to grow and enjoy breakfast, perched atop a downtown Boise, Idaho building.
The Peregrine Fund webcam site says: This is nail-biting time for viewers because the chicks walk right up to the edge of the nest box, causing many people to fear that the young birds will fall or be blown off the 14-story building. Though that is a remote possibility, the chicks are simply doing what comes naturally. Their instinct is to fly. Like toddlers learning to walk, they must test their limits – even if it causes webcam watchers to cringe.
Are you ready for spring? Is your home prepared for the upcoming fire season? Get your home’s outdoor space ready for fire season with firewise landscaping. Check out the BLM-Idaho’s Facebook page each Friday over the next several weeks to learn about colorful fire-resistant additions that could be made to your home’s outdoor landscaping.