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August 2006

Conservation Connection August 2006

NOTE: All links have been removed from this archived newsletter. For more information on any topics mentioned, please use our website Search bar above.


In this issue:

  • Horse business
  • Hot Loomis
  • Killing predators?
  • Take a walk outside
  • You, that's who!

Backcountry Horsemen trail work

Backcountry Horsemen and Conservation Northwest volunteers rebuild trail in the Salmo-Priest area.
Photo: Jeff Lambert







Happy Trails to You


In a partnership that's keeping our wilderness trails open and building stronger alliances with folks who love our forests and trails, Conservation Northwest is working in northeastern Washington with the Backcountry Horsemen and the Spokane Mountaineers. On the Kettle Crest, we helped build and clear trail at Edd's Mountain, an area adopted by the Ferry County Chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen. To protect a high, dry meadow from crisscrossing tracks, those of us working on foot removed vegetation to define a solid tread, while Backcountry Horsemen (and women!) cleared downed timber farther along the trail. In other trail work this summer in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area, volunteers replaced old puncheon (wooden foot bridges) with rock cribs, using gravel and material hauled in by the horses. More work is scheduled in the Salmo in September.

This year Conservation Northwest received a $3,500 grant from REI, Inc., to continue doing trail work as well as to create non-motorized recreation trails, such as the proposed Gibraltar Trail southeast of Republic. You're invited to help us in our work outside. Thanks, REI!


Loomis fire line from 2003

Fireline carved into the Loomis in 2003. The Farewell fire died before it reached the defensive line, but the damage of the fireline itself was painful.
Photo: Mark Skatrud









Fire and the Loomis


The Tripod/Spur fire northeast of Winthrop, which has already spread through unprotected roadless lands on the Okanogan National Forest, has now entered the edge of the southernmost of the two Loomis Natural Resource Conservation Areas (NRCAs). These Loomis conservation areas were established for the Canada lynx through Conservation Northwest efforts in 1999. Since the southern NRCA is steeper than the northern one and almost entirely roadless, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who manages the forest, has focused its defense strategy mostly on firelines associated with the road network to the east of the conservation area. There are some impacts from this strategy, but the agency is staying in close contact with its own ecologists as well as with Conservation Northwest about options and decisions.

This is the second time in three years that large, early-season fires have ignited and spread through the high country west of the Loomis State Forest. Three years ago, faced with the Farewell Fire raging eastward through the northern Pasayten Wilderness Area, the DNR constructed damaging firelines that cut through parts of the two Loomis NRCAs.

Fire itself is not generally a bad thing in these high forests. Lodgepole pine forests, for example, are naturally adapted to frequent fire. But, in combination with logging, this episode of fire is probably going to impact the Canada lynx that depend on this isolated area. After fire season, Conservation Northwest will convene lynx biologists to assess the situation.


Wolf pup. USFWS

Wolves could be shot by aircraft in wilderness areas if proposed Forest Service rules come to pass.
Photo: USFWS






New Rule Targets Wolves and Bears


The US Forest Service has proposed to loosen current restrictions on the killing of wildlife, including bear, cougar, fox, and wolves, within wilderness areas and research natural areas. The proposed rule would allow aerial shooting and the use of motorized equipment and poisons including M-44 cyanide guns. Under the new rule, the Forest Service wouldn't even have to conduct environmental analysis or engage the public, relying instead on recommendations from undefined collaborative groups.

Call us crazy, but Conservation Northwest doesn’t think cyanide guns or aerial gunning of wildlife belong in our last wild forests. Congress and the American people have ordained special status to wilderness and research natural areas, where nature is left to evolve naturally except when human life is threatened. Thanks to actions by conservationists, the deadline for comments was recently extended. Please send a quick letter. (Deadline has passed.)


Conservation Northwest hike

Hikers in Hoodoo Canyon in the Kettle River Range.
Photo: Eric Zamora


Go for a Hike!


Hiking is good for the soul; we encourage you to visit the lands you love! Teaming up with the Spokane Mountaineers, The Lands Council, and the Sierra Club, we've created a series of free hikes this summer in roadless areas throughout the state.

Here are two examples. In western Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 20, hike Tinkham Peak past Cottonwood Lake on a beautiful hike that's kid friendly and showcases the Cascades checkerboard lands protected by The Cascades Conservation Partnership. Then, in northeastern Washington, on Saturday, Aug. 26, explore the Kettle Crest Trail and Taylor Ridge, in an enchanting corner of the Kettle Crest National Recreation Area, where wildlife still frequently outnumber hikers. Hope to see you there!


Great gray owl - copyright Paul Bannick

Great gray owl in the eastern Okanogan.
Photo: © Paul Bannick

Conservation Northwest's development director has achieved recent accolades for his photography. Read more about Paul in Pacific Northwest magazine.

Whooo? Conservation Northwest, That's Who


Now you can keep the Northwest wild without ever leaving your computer! We have a new and improved website, featuring easy, on-line tools to take action, become a member, or make a donation. The Get Involved link found on every page is your key to quick access to community and action.

Our online donation page makes it easy to make a gift at any level. Donors receive a one-year membership to Conservation Northwest, regular updates on our campaigns, and the Conservation Northwest Quarterly. You can also opt out of mailings; no problem. Please join us! You are vital to our work. With your help, we promote healthy ecosystems, wildlife, and people.



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