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Two Campfire Discussions
Outdoor Idaho has had some interesting campfire discussions over the years, featuring a broad cross-section of Idahoans. Here are two of those discussions, one from 2008 and the other from 2003.
Around the Campfire: From Outdoor Idaho's 25th Anniversary Celebration (2008)
We gathered together six individuals who really know their way around Idaho and asked them to discuss the big issues facing the state in the next ten years. The conversation was animated and insightful, and part of the discussion is included in our Outdoor Idaho program. We are grateful to the staff of the Idaho Botanical Garden, for letting us use their picturesque outdoor Lewis & Clark exhibit.
Watch the 25th Anniversary Campfire
Highlights from the Conversation: "The Next Ten Years"
Sara Baldwin, Area Ranger for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area
- "Climate change definitely is a theme that weaves through a lot of the issues that are going to face Idaho in the next ten years with regards to natural resource issues. But more than that, I think the changes in our population is really the common thread through all those issues."
Laird Noh, retired Idaho State Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Resources & Environment Committee
- "I brought along, just suspecting this might be one of the subjects, a mailing of beautiful ranch properties throughout the west by a fairly prominent real estate firm, and there's an Idaho section; and the first of eleven ranches for sale is listed as this spectacular 690 acre deeded ranch that occupies its own mountain valley. The ranch is 2.5 miles long, it's surrounded on three sides by federal land, with a mountain trout stream running the entire length of the property: $6,000,000.
So that's the struggle I think that many people in the ranching business are confronted with, as we see what is certainly appearing to be a change; pressures to get off the public land with livestock and at the same time, enormous checks dangled for the purchase of that private property."
Margaret Soulen Hinson, past Chairman of the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission
- "There's just this great quote by Aldo Leopold, that I just love. I think he was the epitome of the conservationist. He said there are two spiritual dangers in this world. One is believing that breakfast comes from the grocery. The other is that heat comes from the furnace.
And I think the sad part is, as we see all this movement away from our agrarian roots, we lose that touch with the land, and we lose the sense of what it all means."
John Freemuth, Professor of Public Policy at Boise State University
- "I think Idahoans are going to have to confront, we are a net importer of energy. We're going to have to face an energy future here that's going to change what we're used to, cheap power that came from the dams. And that could lead to a whole number of issues that we haven't dealt with before. Are we going to put nuclear plants in Idaho? What are we going to do? Are we going to dam more rivers?"
John McCarthy, Idaho Forest Campaign Manager for The Wilderness Society
- "Protecting the big blocks of our public lands gets more and more important, for resilience, for ecological systems, for climate change, for the public to have a place they can go and experience nature. We have such an incredible resource here that is so rare anymore, to be able to appreciate nature, to be able to understand nature, to see how it really functions in a natural system.
The idea that Idaho has this large intact sagebrush system, this vast forest system — I think it's critical we find ways to protect and appreciate it."
Bill Studebaker, poet, essayist and kayaker
- "This naturalness about Idaho, though, in the last 40 years I've seen Idaho become more and more artificial. Go down the Middle Fork and I see boom boxes and satellite televisions and cell phones and watches and GPS units. It ruins the whole ambiance. I believe in psychological wilderness as well as physical wilderness.
You ought to be going out there for reasons of the spirit and reasons of the mind, not just to be so many miles from somebody else."
- "These are very much, so to speak, watershed days in terms of the future of water in Idaho. And at the same time, while those issues are up in the air, until legal decisions are made, there's reluctance to compromise."
- "The answer isn't in the courts. You get an answer, but I think those court decisions rarely resolve issues. They just make them more complex."
- "Somewhere we've got to come together, rather than battling in court, because everybody loses in those situations. And I think the opportunity is right, I think there's enough of us that have been around for long enough fighting over the issues that we all know and respect each other."
- "Maybe our politics is part of a bigger cycle, where we're slowly moving into, 'Let's solve some problems here,' rather than this fringy partitionized, 'If you're not with me, you're evil.' I certainly have room to hope that the rhetoric I hear is a little different this time."
Campfire Discussion: From Outdoor Idaho's 20th Anniversary Celebration (2003)
As part of our Outdoor Idaho Twentieth Anniversary show, we invited a group of friends to join us one weekend in August of 2002, to discuss how Idaho has changed in the last twenty years.
The hike into the lake was a relatively short one of about 3 1/2 miles. Luckily, the fishing was excellent, the weather was perfect, and the food was great! We started the discussion around the campfire at dusk and continued well into the evening.
Watch the 20th Anniversary campfire
Highlights from the Conversation: "How Has Idaho Changed?"
Bill Studebaker, author, kayaker
- "If I could summarize anything, it would be the experience of watching the national properties of the state change from Idaho's 'back yard' to America's 'outback.' And being America's outback is a phenomenal thing. That's the most impressive thing in my lifetime. To feel I'm living in America's outback.
Also, Idaho has become a haven for extreme sports, and there are persons coming from all over the country to participate. In the last twenty years, it's really, really grown."
Norm Nelson, film maker, backpacker
- "There was not a single peregrine falcon here twenty years ago. The bald eagle has returned. Birds of prey generally speaking, are doing really well in Idaho. Their habitat is maintained because of areas like this.
So I think it's possible to maintain and even improve our relationship with the environment in the future, if we have a good solid consideration for it, because we have some real successes to look at in twenty years."
Robin Jenkinson, graduate student, College of Natural Resources, U of I
- "The year before last, we went to Boville for St. Patrick's Day, the only Irish bar on the Palouse. And it sounds like a start of a bad joke, but we walked in there, and we were just embraced by the people there. Most of them were loggers. The country band was all loggers.
They said, a couple years ago, we would have kicked your asses out the door, but now we really understand where you're coming from and we really agree, there needs to be wood in the streams and selective logging is the way to go. So I imagine that's a change that has occurred in the last twenty years, and I'm really excited what that bodes for the future."
Kimberly Brandel, District Ranger, New Meadows, USFS
- "In the past ten years recreational use here on the Payette has tripled. And I think, you've been a show for twenty years, and we've been talking about the changes, well, think about what's going to be happening in the next twenty years.
We're just going to get more people, more and diverse uses. And as a manager I can't provide everybody use on the same acres . . . and it's real easy to ruin someone else's experience and what they hold dear to them."
Jay Rais, fly fisherman, outdoorsman
- "I'd like to think that Outdoor Idaho, in a pretty effective way, counteracts all the millions and millions of dollars that are spent by the big corporations promoting motorized use, and that shows like this really show how you can enjoy the back country without the big flashy ads and all the glamour that's attached to it."
Tom Kovalicky, former Forest Supervisor
- "There's no doubt about it that the last twenty years has been the waking-up period in Idaho. This has been the experimental era that has given Idaho a focus on its past and where it can possibly go in the future.
I predict the salmon will become the rallying point for hanging on to a cultural value that very few people, very few states can enjoy like Idaho. And that will be our hearthstone. That will be the bellwether for the future. And I predict Idaho will save that wild salmon run for many, many more generations."
Ann Joslin, llama packer
- "I do sense that more and more people are appreciating what Idaho has to offer in terms of outdoors, even if they don't get out to the extent we do. And a big part of that is the people who are younger than we are learning those values.
And if that happens, I think that twenty years from now, it will be a great experience to come back to this very same place."
Kay Johnson, businessman, outdoorsman
- "I'm optimistic about the future. I do think in the next twenty years, we're going to need to work better together. I think if we don't, we're going to find more restrictions.
I think we just need to recognize that all groups have a right to the wilderness and we need to work with them to preserve it."