Behind the Stories
By John Crancer
The idea to do a program on the far northern reaches of Idaho has been on our Outdoor Idaho list for some time. I'm glad we were finally able to document some of the incredible country that borders Canada.
The prerequisite for inclusion in the program was some kind of Canadian connection, or at least a close proximity to our northern neighbor. As I researched the program I found what I thought were some good connections, and they started with rivers. All three of the primary rivers in the area flow into Idaho from Canada. The Upper Priest, the Moyie, and the Kootenai. And the Kootenai actually flows from Canada into Montana and Idaho and back into Canada. I thought that was particularly appropriate for our theme.
We decided we wanted to do something with each river. We had never done a whitewater trip on the Moyie, so that was a choice for one segment. Additionally, we found a couple with a cabin on the Moyie who lived just a mile from the border. Another piece for the program was in place.
With the Upper Priest River we knew about the waterfall on that waterway that sits on the border at the end of Idaho's Centennial Trail. A hike to American Falls would provide another segment.
And the Kootenai is the location of a huge river restoration project spearheaded by the Kootenai tribe. We were lucky enough to work with the tribe to show some of their efforts. We also met a local outfitter in Bonners Ferry who fishes the Kootenai. That gave us another Kootenai River angle.
Three Heart Outfitters also does horse packing in the area and we were able to go with them on a ride to the top of Shorty Peak lookout just a few miles from the border. It has great views of both Canada and the Selkirk Mountain Range in Idaho.
Finally, we found an Idaho Fish and Game Wildlife Management area below the Selkirks that is right on the Canadian border. Its northern edge is marked by Boundary Creek and that creek is also the official border.
This was a program that seemed to just naturally come together. We found a lot of material that we felt tied well into the Almost Canada concept. In fact, there were several other segments we could have included, but we would have needed an hour to do that.
To me it's satisfying to take the concept of a program from paper, to capturing images in the field, to writing a script and then working with our editors to match words, visuals and music into a completed program.
While it is ten plus hours to reach this far northern area of Idaho, it's certainly worth the drive and the effort to get there. This is a part of the state that has so many exceptional qualities it's worth returning to again and again. It was my privilege to showcase it for Outdoor Idaho.
Almost Canada Website
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