PRESS RELEASE — Thursday, October 6, 2016
For Information Call Greg Likins at 373-7369
           or Sandy McBride at 373-7366

Outdoor Idaho Begins 34th Season With “The Outfitters”

— Airs Thursday, October 13, at 8:00 p.m. MT/PT on Idaho Public Television — Repeats Sunday, October 16, at 7:00 p.m. MT/PT

Idaho's outfitting industry has always attracted colorful characters: modern-day mountain men, storytellers, and self-reliant MacGyver types. It's their job to connect us to the great outdoors — and each year nearly 200,000 people enlist their guide services.

The official website for the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association ( lists more than 250 outfitters and related services, from hunting, rafting and fishing guides, to those specializing in trail rides, jet boating, climbing, mountain biking, hiking and all kinds of winter activities. This is an industry that has a major impact on Idaho's economy, its image, and its outdoor resources.

“The Outfitters” (airing October 13 and 16) profiles some of these individuals in their element and looks firsthand at the lives they lead and the challenges they face.

“Idaho is a leader in the outfitting industry,” says Garden Valley outfitter Darl Allred. In fact, the state's outfitting association is the oldest in the United States. “We're probably more regulated and more organized and do more professional trips than any other state,” explains Selway-Bitterroot outfitter Steve Burson.

And yet Idaho's outfitters and guides face some real challenges, says Outdoor Idaho host Bruce Reichert. “That connection to the outdoors that some of us take for granted just isn't there with a younger generation. And, frankly, neither is that sense of partnership that once existed between outfitters and the Forest Service.”

White Clouds outfitter Mike Scott concurs. “People are changing; their needs are changing. It's going to be critical that our agency partners are able to evolve with us. So we've got to get back to communicating again.”

“I had a woman once tell me that she got out of her tent in the middle of the night and looked up at the canopy of stars over her head, and her soul expanded,” says Doug Tims, who spent 27 years as an outfitter. “That soul-expanding experience goes home with people and allows them to be the champions for wild places in the future. So keeping alive that constituency and support of wild places, that's our biggest challenge, and that's what needs to be our biggest role.”

Outfitter Bill Bernt on the Salmon River, courtesy of Steph Bernt Ellis.