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Some People We Profiled in Our 30th Anniversary Celebration
All of those we profiled in our 30th Anniversary show have passed on, and we are the poorer for it. Many were from the "greatest generation," men and women who survived the 1930's Depression and experienced World War Two. It seems they were always teaching us something about our state and about the land.
He was the first guest on the first program; and until he passed away in 2005, Morley Nelson was a pretty regular visitor on the show. It was always fun working with Morley and his two filmmaker sons. Morley just had a way of looking at things that set him apart from other scientists. And no one doubted his love for the birds!
"They are an inspiration to humanity because, in the defense of their young, they will give their life," he reminded anyone who would listen. "When this bird is protecting its nest, if a grizzly bear came, he would fly out and say to the grizzly bear, it's either you or me. He'd take him right by the nose, and either get rid of him, or die trying."
"Every nation in the world knows the vertical environment," said Nelson, "but not the details. The spectacular aerial combat, the young birds learning to fly, diving and putting on this tremendous ability that they have to live. It's all right there, going on if you're on the vertical environment."
He strode across the Lochsa country of northern Idaho, almost bigger than life. Bud Moore started out as a trapper. He later became a forest ranger, when rangers could call their own shots. Decades later, he watched as the Forest Service started losing favor with the public.
"I just feel strongly that poor timber management practices created more wilderness than all the wilderness people put together," said Moore. In the 1960's leaders in the Forest Service "were torn apart, people that loved the land, and yet they still were trying to get that wood out. And they were damaging other values. And they knew it."
Bud Moore stayed active well into his nineties, as a logger on his own 80 acres of land. But whatever he did, he always had a deep love for the land and the wildlife.
"This land, well, it has some broken pieces. The grizzlies are gone. And we've lost something great in this ecosystem, and it won't ever be whole til we get them back. The sea-run fish are hanging on, but they're endangered as you know, several species of sea-run fish. If we want to keep the place whole, we've got to work on that, too. So there are some broken linkages, big ones that go clear to the ocean. So, I guess, we've got lots of work to do."
Idaho native Nelle Tobias lived in McCall and sought to remind us all of what we have here in Idaho. Her motto was "Keep Idaho Idaho"; and her fierce and steadfast work of letter writing and volunteering helped make the River of No Return Wilderness a reality. This gentle fighter even has a wildflower named after her: Tobias' Saxifrage.
"Well, I guess it's just a feeling that one has to do what one feels must be done," said Tobias. "Idaho is so singular in having this wonderful untouched world. And let's take care of it, or we'll be just like the other parts of the country, denuded, and wondering where to go next to get our soul back."
Outfitter and pilot Al Tice knew the Salmon River country like few others. The Mackay Bar Lodge, on the Salmon River, was a favorite of hunters and anglers alike. A month before his death, Al Tice talked with us about his life at Mackay Bar.
"I made a special effort to take good care of people," said Tice. "The customers would fly in from McCall to Mackay Bar, and then we would take them from there on a trip whatever they wanted, whether a boat trip on the river or a fishing trip up the streams or pack into the lakes."
Tice was the first one to have a jet boat on the Salmon. "I was looking through a mechanics magazine, and I spotted this little jet boat that they had over in Australia. I wrote those people about it and talked them into bringing one of those jets out to try it on the Salmon River. We built our own boats around it. I got the dealership for that jet boat. That was the first jet boat that ever came into this country. It was quite an experience, but then pretty soon everybody had one."
Tice and his family made home movies, complete with narration and music, that captured a way of life that can still make you smile. "Guys said, don't you want to catch another steelhead? I said, well, I've caught a little more than my share. How about shooting elk? I said, well, I've got plenty of elk in my life, plenty of deer. This is the truth, you know."
Another old timer who shared his film and experiences with us was Omer Drury, a medical doctor in the community of Troy. In his spare time, he ran an outfitting business; and in the 1960's, he started documenting his encounters with the hardy souls who lived along Idaho's rivers. Buckskin Bill was a favorite of Drury's.
"Buckskin enjoyed your stopping. We used to speculate on which one of the good looking young ladies of the group Buckskin would choose to dress up in a costume. If there were kids along, he liked to ask them if they liked kittens and bring out a jar of cougar kittens he had preserved.
"I got the impression that most of them were uncomfortable with too close of neighbors, that they liked to have some choice of their neighbors and who they visited with and were very personal about their time. You didn't want to infringe. If you infringed too much, you wouldn't be welcome. They always treated me real nice. These people are not being replaced. I cherish the memories. They put a life to the canyon."
Manetta Schrite took us into the arcane world of hat-making, near Idaho City. She was so good that folks would come from the other side of the country just to learn from the best. Manetta was a popular figure in Boise County; in fact, one year, as a joke, some of her friends actually ran her for county sheriff! But it was her hat-making ability that we focused on, for a show called "Living Legends."
"There's not a week goes by that one or two people don't come in and want me to make them a hat," Manetta Schrite told us. "I think it's real appropriate to call myself the old hat gal. they try to be respectful to me and say, oh, yes, she's the lady that does hats. I just reply to them, I'm the old hat gal. That's explanation enough."
Bill Studebaker was a kayaker and a poet who understood how things worked. This native Idahoan had a special love for Idaho's salmon, and the life cycle of a fish that journeys to the ocean and then returns to die.
"For me the fish themselves have been a symbol of the cycle of life, where you begin in one spot, you make a world journey, you return to that spot, to give something back. It's the 'hero cycle,' the kind of thing Campbell talked about it, and Jung talked about, where we begin, we journey, and we return.
In the Salmon area in the state of Idaho, we know of this cycle of the salmon. It's very important to us, and we're fighting to preserve it."