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Rest easy Priest Lake campers, there's no mountain lion on Bartoo Island

Rest easy Priest Lake campers, there's no mountain lion on Bartoo Island

News release from the Idaho Panhandle National Forests:

On Monday, August 12, 2013, campers on Bartoo Island reported hearing and seeing what appeared to be  a mountain lion to the US Forest Service.  Bartoo Island, located on the Priest Lake Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF), is one of seven islands on Priest Lake. The island consists of USFS campgrounds and privately owned land.

To ensure public safety, personnel from the IPNF partnered with Idaho Department of Fish and Game and responded to the report. The agencies coordinated with the Priest Lake Sportsman’s Association and volunteers to search the island early on the morning of August 14. The group used hounds to search for the mountain lion, but did not find any evidence that one had been on the island.

Lookout Pass expansion approved for environmental studies

Lookout Pass expansion approved for environmental studies

The first phase of a Lookout Pass expansion has finally been accepted for environmental impact studies. The plan was submitted in March 2010.

 

The U.S. Forest Service has accepted the plan that includes new chair lifts and runs at "Eagle Peak" on Runt Mountain that sits on the Idaho/Montana border. A consultant for the National Environmental Policy Act will conduct environmental impact studies of the expansion.

 

Lookout Pass CEO, Phil Edholm, told the Shoshone News Press last week that the studies will look at impact to soils, wildlife and hydrology. Depending on the outcome of the study, Phase I of the expansion could happen in the next few years.

 

Photo contest: We want your best pictures from the mountain!

Photo contest: We want your best pictures from the mountain!

 

With ski season entering its final stretch, we at KXLY want to see the awesome mountain photos you took of your friends and family shredding.

Send your best shots to news4@kxly.com (with the subject line: Photo contest), and the newsroom will vote on the best photo, which will be shown during Chief Meteorologist Kris Crocker's ski report on Friday's newscasts. We will put together a slideshow for the KXLY Communities sites, so even if you don't win, your work will still be showcased.

Make sure to include where you are, the name of the photographer, names of the people in the photo and your contact information so you can be reached for a short story.

So sift through those awesome stills of your loved ones dominating some pow-pow and send them in for a chance to be shown to the Inland Northwest.

Lucky Friday mine on track to reopen in early 2013

Lucky Friday mine on track to reopen in early 2013

Good news for the Silver Valley: Rehab work at the Lucky Friday silver mine is ahead of schedule.  Hecla Mining reports that the mine on pace to open in the first quarter of 2013.

The Silver Shaft closed back in January after federal inspectors order Hecla to remove built-up sand and concrete material.  The Mining Safety and Health Administration had conducted a series of inspections after a rock burst injured 7 miners in December, 2011.

The Silver Shaft, commissioned in 1983, is one mile deep and it's the primary access for the Lucky Friday mine.  The clean-up is expected to cost $20 million dollars and left more than 100 miners out of work.

"The current rehab work at Lucky Friday has exceeded our expectations and has been completed through the important 4,900-foot level," said Hecla President and CEO Phillips S. Baker, Jr.

20 miners were rehired and will return to work this month, in addition to 75 hourly employees already at work.  Hecla expects to be back to a full complement of 201 miners by the end of 2012, in anticipation of resuming operations in early 2013.

 

Tear it up on Schweitzer bike trails

Tear it up on Schweitzer bike trails

It's time to "tear it up" on the trails of Schweitzer Mountain. Most downhill mountain bike trails on the mountain opened Friday.

The mountain hosts 10 trails that range from beginning scenic rides to striclty downhill paths that will give your shocks and brakes a workout.

There are a few rides that have unique features that riders don't want to miss. You can go across 12 handmade bridges and numerous freeride features on the Collector Trail or ride all the way to a lake on the the Colburn Trail. Plus there are plenty of views for anyone to enjoy/.

For the most part, the road is shared with hikers and horseback riders but there are a few that are strictly for cyclists only. 

Schweitzer said the Mid-Mountain skills state and the Redemption trail are still closed.  Both of these trails are for technical riders, especially the Redemption trail, where riders face multiple rock drops and a descent of 1300 feet. Employees said Redemption needs a little more work before it can open while Mid-Mountain needs more time to dry out. However, Schweitzer estimates both trails should be open in two weeks.

Osprey making their nest look like home

Osprey making their nest look like home

A pair of Osprey at Sandpoint’s Memorial Field have been busy in the way that makes their nest looks a lot like home.

Avid watchers of the birds are wondering when we’ll see eggs. The webcam was turned on last month after the nesting platform was installed on top of new lighting at the field.

Signs of “bedroom activity” were spotted earlier in April and now we wait. The male has been out and about bringing back fish. The female has been hanging out inside the nest the majority of the time.

Jane Fink, a biologist with Birds of Prey Northwest out of St. Maries, has been documenting the bird’s activity on the webcam’s website. Her last update was on April 26th regarding the addition of the “nest cup”, the depression that keeps future eggs in place and provide the right temperature.

Predicting The End of the World With Science

Predicting The End of the World With Science

Hypothetically speaking, if a nearby star were to go supernova, it could eventually reach our blue planet and rip apart our atmosphere. Complex life would cease to exist. That scenario is unlikely says Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, professor of astrobiology at Washington State University. That’s one of nine of possible ways Earth could meet its doom, and there’s only so much we can do about it.

His new book, “Megacatastrophes!”, co-written with David Darling, explores scientific realities we face and how we can simply be aware of them.

First and foremost, Schulze-Makuch and Darling are scientists. They ignore the pop culture paranoia of zombie apocalypse and the ominous Mayan calender. Schulze-Makuch even says that scenario is nonsense. The two writers discuss the realistic scenarios humans face from asteroid impacts, nano-technology to global pandemic.

“I’m not the prophet,” Schulze-Makuch said. “We look at different scenarios and we basically prioritize how dangerous it is and how disastrous it would be.”

Would the scenario result in a million dead or even a billion dead? Schulze-Makuch says a pandemic tops the list with diseases like the Spanish Flu or Black Death. With passenger flights crossing oceans and country borders, disease has no boundaries.