Behind the Stories

On the Road Again…

By Bruce Reichert
June 21, 2017

In the Pioneer Mountains. Photo by Bob Jonas.
In the Pioneer Mountains. Photo by Bob Jonas

Lightning storm near Twin Falls. Photo by John Mills
Lightning storm near Twin Falls. Photo by John Mills
It's probably not a surprise that the Outdoor Idaho crew does most of its shooting during the summer months; it's easier to get around the state, and the days are longer.

This summer we’re shooting video for half a dozen programs, each of them a distinct slice of the Idaho story. Take, for example, our July 13 show, "Creative License." We’ll spend time with creative talents who connect to their art through nature. Casey Kristofferson loves to strum on one of his many guitars from his perch in the mountains of central Idaho. Alexandra Paliwoda pounds and forges iron into works of art from her blacksmith shop in the shadow of the Tetons near the Wyoming border. John Grade pursued his artistic vision by creating a 75-foot wooden sculpture of a lava tube at Craters of the Moon National Monument based on a digital scan of the interior. John Mills chases thunder clouds to capture digital images of stunning desert lightning storms in southern Idaho — he’s even been hit by lightning.

Our September show, “Jobs Without Walls,” involves a jet boat pilot in Hells Canyon, a soil scientist in eastern Idaho, a Life Flight helicopter pilot, a Christmas tree hunter, and a postal worker who delivers the mail by boat.

Horses in the Owyhee desert. Photo by Tim Tower
Horses in the Owyhee desert. Photo by Tim Tower
Wild Horses” - some call them feral horses – in any case, they have become a symbol of the American West. Our first show of the 35th season will explore this highly controversial topic. These horses are often reviled, as they compete for resources in an ever-changing environment, beset by fire and drought and other animals. Many of these horses wind up in holding corrals far from home, costing taxpayers millions. We’ll take a look at what is happening with these horse herds in our state and how some new ideas may offer solutions to a seemingly hopeless situation.

We’ll also be shooting footage for our November show, “Restoring Rivers.” The Portneuf and the Kootenai are two rivers where wonderful things are being done to make them more natural.

Into the Pioneers” will take the Outdoor Idaho crew into a mountain range that most Idahoans know little about. In April we shot a winter segment at Pioneer Yurt. Other segments yet to shoot include a llama trek with Ketchum native Bob Jonas and his wife Sarah Michael; a mountain climbing segment; a bike race; a feature on pronghorns and sheep, mining and geology; and much more. This hour-long December show is already generating a lot of interest among the crew.

We’ll also be doing some shooting for a handful of 2018 shows, notably “Small Town Festivals,” “Grapes & Hops,” and “Off the Grid.”

Rancher John Peavey and Tess O'Sullivan
Rancher John Peavey and Tess O'Sullivan from Nature
Conservancy on the Flat Top Ranch. Photo by Emily Bruneel
Oh, and then there’s our March 2018 show, “35th Anniversary.” That’s right, 35 years. We’re planning a fascinating look “behind the scenes,” with those who have kept us on the air for more than three decades.

So if you see us out and about this summer, be sure to say “Hi!” And if you have a story idea, that’s even better!

Almost Canada

By John Crancer
April 18, 2017

Hunts on the Moyie
Kayaking on the Moyie River.

American Falls on the Upper Priest
American Falls on the Upper Priest.
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.

Horsespack trip to Shorty Lookout
Horse Packing to Shorty Peak Lookout.
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.

Boundary Smith Creek Wildlife Management Area
Boundary Smith Creek Wildlife Management Area
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.

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