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Outdoor Recreation

New West Daily Roundup for Feb. 3, 2016

GetOutfitted

Today in New West news: Colorado Springs company GetOutfitted launches ski onesies rental, University of Idaho researchers advise U.S. to prioritize wildfire research and preparation, and Rare Element Resources to delist self from NYSE.

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New West Daily Roundup for Jan. 20, 2016

Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport

Today in New West news: Frontier Airlines’ frequent-flier program doesn’t soar, Utah to invest in “lifestyle” trails, and Wyoming asphalt sour crude prices fall dramatically.

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New West Daily Roundup for Dec. 18, 2015

downtown Boise

Here’s your New West news: Boise-based fraud detection company receives $80 million investment, Quicksilver gondola in Utah helps create largest ski area in the United States, and no new medical school on the table for Bozeman, Montana.

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New West Daily Roundup for Dec. 3, 2015

downtown Boise

Here’s your New West news: where investments went in Idaho in 2014, the Idaho Legislature mulls taking up solar energy in 2016, and the U.S. Forest Service looking at regulations for Colorado’s Conundrum Hot Springs.

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Conservationists Deplore Bombing of Avalanche Runs at Yellowstone

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, backed by several other conservation groups, has strongly criticized Yellowstone National Park’s winter use plan to keep Sylvan Pass open between Cody and the park’s east entrance. The pass features 20 avalanche runs that must be knocked down by artillery shells fired from a 105 mm howitzer, at a cost of $325,000 per season. Weather permitting, high explosives are hand-dropped on the avalanche runs from a helicopter.

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Hate Those Junk Fish

Lake Lowell in southwestern Idaho has been much in the news lately. The state government is fighting a federal proposal to limit longtime recreational uses on the huge reservoir, which was built for irrigation in the early 1900s. Federal officials want to restrict water sports to about a third of the lake and ban dogs and horses, to protect wildlife in the Deer Park National Wildlife Refuge, which incorporates the lake. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter insists the state should manage the wildlife. Amidst this debate, Idaho Fish and Game announced this week it was considering how to reduce a carp infestation that has disrupted the reservoir’s aquatic systems.

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How Much Should Hunters With ATVs Be Regulated?

The hunters stalked their game for hours, carefully taking note of scat and tracks the herd left behind. They hunted on foot through the West's backcountry wilds, through brush and over mountains. A rumble in the distance sounded like the characteristic clap of a Rocky Mountain thunderstorm. It spooked the elk. Over the hill emerged a firearm-clad off-road vehicle rider. Many hunters contend they should be protected from noisy, ungulate-frightening machines when out seeking their prey. And in numerous states they are, with rules keeping hunters on ATVs tied to major roadways instead of backcountry paths. But ATV advocates want those restrictions changed, and across the West lawmakers continue to propose bills favoring motorized uses for hunting. In Idaho, the issue is coming to a head, where a back-and-forth on whether hunters can use ATVs to access wilderness is under way.

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Helping Out the Bob: Volunteering in Montana’s Largest Wilderness Complex

Pull, don’t push! When you’re working in the Bob Marshall Wilderness with a crosscut saw, this is the rule. For five days in July, “Pull, don’t push!” became my mantra. Without the whine of the chainsaw or the stench of two-cycle engines to burn your nostrils, it is the sing of the blade, powered by two people, that makes trail crew work possible in Montana’s largest wilderness complex that said no to roads, vehicles and motorized anything in the late 1960s, largely thanks to one man, Robert Marshall. Six of my friends and I signed up with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) for one of their many volunteer trail crew projects. Our goal was to free a section of downed telephone line on the Historic Phone Line along the South Fork of the Flathead River in the 1.5 million acre complex. For 15 years the BMWF has placed volunteers deep within one of the country’s largest and most remote wildernesses to help maintain and preserve the many trails, cabins and artifacts that encompass a place affectionately referred to as “the Bob.”

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The Case for Making ATV and Other Outdoor Recreation Vehicle Riders Accountable

Idaho is a sportsman’s paradise and a huge draw for outdoor recreation, including ORVs, or Outdoor Recreation Vehicles. More and more ORV riders are taking to the trails of Idaho's popular destinations. My concern is the disregard that a growing number of ORV riders have for rules and posted signs. Unfortunately, their irresponsible riding has led to a dramatic deterioration in the quality of the outdoor experience on both private and public forest lands. Two years ago, I took along my 11-year-old son on an opening-day hunt on “Access Yes” forestland in Idaho’s panhandle. These lands were owned by a timber company that allowed public access, but restricted motorized use to mainline roads. After hiking three hours up a road closed to motorized use, we encountered two riders on ATVs. My son was discouraged after the long hike and I was upset, knowing his first hunt was cut short.

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Kayaking Dillon Reservoir: A Natural Perspective

Kayaking around Dillon Reservoir, people tend to notice things that they might not in a motorboat. That was the idea behind Kyle McKenzie's business, Kayak Lake Dillon, a sea-kayaking outfit that offers lessons and tours of the lake in Colorado. This will be the business's second year of operation in Summit County. They wanted to keep things on the down-low last year, but now they're ready to spread the word. Anyone with a Summit County ID will be offered drastic discounts — and when we say drastic, we mean the most drastic kind. “You get a very different perspective of the lake and the area from a kayak, not on a loud motorboat. Especially in the morning, it's always really calm and quiet, a really relaxing trip,” said McKenzie, who is also the lead guide.

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