Parks and Rec reminds boaters that kids must wear life jackets

BOISE — Officials from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation are reminding parents that Idaho law requires kids 14 and younger to wear a life jacket on all vessels 19 feet or less in length when the vessel is underway.

“County marine deputies have reported numerous instances around the state the past couple years where kids without life jackets are out boating with parents in small motor boats and paddle craft,” said David Dahms, the department’s boating program manager, in a news release.

The life jacket law applies to boats with and without motors, including rafts, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, row boats and drift boats. Dahms also noted that life jackets must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and be properly fitted.

Adult operators of a vessel who do not comply with the kids’ life jacket law are subject to a $99 citation.

More information on how to properly fit a life jacket for a child is available at www.boatidaho.gov.

Culvert work will close Beaver Creek Road near Headquarters

HEADQUARTERS — Officials at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, in coordination with PotlatchDeltic Corporation and the Idaho Department of Lands, will be replacing culverts along Forest Service Road 247, also known as the Beaver Creek Road, starting Monday. The road will be closed to through traffic during the work.

A detour will be available via Forest Service Road 246 (Scofield Road) and Browns Rock Road, a PotlatchDeltic Corporation road. The detour will begin at Headquarters and end at Camp 14 at the junction of the Sheep Mountain Road and Beaver Creek Road.

The culvert replacement project is expected to last until mid-August. More information is available by contacting Travis Mechling at (208) 476-8210 or travis.mechling@usda.gov.

Fish and Wildlife OKs changes to regulations for fall bear hunting

OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved changes to the fall bear-hunting rules during its conference call last Friday.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, asked department staff to review and provide a recommendation for black-bear season rule changes at a meeting earlier this year. At the June meeting in Port Angeles, Wash., department staff presented two recommendations to simplify bear regulations and make them consistent statewide.

The first recommended change standardized the statewide season start date to Aug. 1. The new start date provides more hunting days in six of the 11 hunting areas.

The second change standardized a two-bear bag limit statewide. The previous rule allowed for harvest of two bears during the season, but only one could be from the east side of the state.

“Our field biologists are currently conducting new hair snare monitoring in two districts to learn more about our current black bear populations,” said Eric Gardner, the department’s wildlife program director. “We chose to bring these two changes forward because they will simplify the regulations and have little impact on our goal of maintaining sustainable black bear populations in Washington.”

The commission approved the rule changes, which take effect Aug. 1, with a 6-1 vote.

Nez Perce artist to give elderberry flute carving demonstration

LOLO PASS — Nez Perce tribal member Kevin Peters will be the Lolo Pass Visitor Center’s Artist in Residence next Friday through July 14.

Peters will be demonstrating the art of elderberry flute carving. He will start with a raw stick of elderberry and demonstrate the process of hollowing and carving the wood to create his beautiful masterpieces. Peters is well known across the nation for his flute carving and playing, as well as his painting and work with rawhide. Peters’ programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Applications to become master hunters now being accepted

OLYMPIA — Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is inviting new applicants to join the ranks of 1,650 certified master hunters across the state.

The department administers the Master Hunter Permit Program to skilled volunteers who are willing to aid department efforts in support of the public and Washington wildlife. The program is designed to promote safe, lawful, and ethical hunting, and to strengthen Washington’s hunting heritage and conservation ethic.

The department enlists master hunters for controlled hunts to remove wildlife that damage property. Master hunters also provide approximately 15,000 hours each year on volunteer projects involving landowner relations and access to private lands, conservation projects for game and diversity species, and hunter education.

“To qualify for the program, applicants must demonstrate a high skill level and be committed to lawful and ethical hunting practices,” said David Whipple, the department’s hunter education division manager.

More information is available at http://bit.ly/322ESi1.

WDFW officials to take questions from citizens online Monday

SPOKANE — Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind and his Eastern Region Director Steve Pozzanghera will take questions from the public in an online broadcast from 6-7 p.m. Monday.

“Our Eastern Region is a large area with a wide variety of terrain, habitat and species,” Susewind said. “I understand and care that the concerns of people living and recreating in this area may be different from those in other parts of the state. It’s a chance for me to hear what is on the minds of the public and our customers here.”

The department’s Eastern Region spans Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Orielle, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman counties. Members of the public can watch and ask questions from links on the department’s website, wdfw.wa.gov, or at http://bit.ly/2JfeBEs.

Susewind and Pozzanghera will share updates on a few local issues, such as concerns about encounters with bears, wolves and cougars; prescribed burn efforts; the change to anterless deer hunting in northern counties; the current white sturgeon fishing season, and results of the joint northern pike suppression effort on Lake Roosevelt.

Campfire restrictions in force in areas of eastern Washington

SPOKANE — The impending arrival of hot, dry weather has prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to restrict campfires and other activities on department-managed lands in eastern Washington.

Cynthia Wilkerson, manager of the department’s Lands Division, said the restrictions help to reduce the risk of fire in state wildlife areas and access areas.

“Observing fire restrictions and exercising common sense will go a long way toward preserving public recreation lands, wildlife habitat, and safety for local communities and the recreating public,” Wilkerson said.

A temporary restriction on firearm use also started Monday on department-managed lands. Target shooting and other gun use is prohibited, but discharge of a firearm for legal hunting is permitted.

The emergency order that imposes restrictions east of the Cascades prohibits:

Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings. Personal camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, or liquid petroleum gas are allowed.

Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle.

The discharge of firearms for or other purposes by anyone not engaged in lawful hunting.

Welding and operating chain saws, including the use of an acetylene torch or other open flame.

Operating a motor vehicle away from developed roads. Parking is permitted within designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads; and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roadways.

The temporary restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases. Any changes to these restrictions will be posted on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov.

Fireworks are prohibited year-round at all the state’s 33 wildlife areas and 600-plus water access areas. Throwing a lit cigarette or any other burning material from a motor vehicle on a state highway is also prohibited year-round.

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