Outdoors Briefs

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Fire update meeting at Lakeview

The public is invited to a meeting today for updates on the Surprise Creek Fire today in Lakeview.

The 5 p.m. meeting at the old schoolhouse will provide information on the fire’s status, suppression actions and Bonner County’s emergency notification procedures.

Bring a lawn chair.

Early closure of Emerald Creek Garnet Area — St. Joe Ranger District

The Emerald Creek Garnet Area south of St. Maries will be closed for the season Aug. 20, and will be operating on reduced hours until then. To provide an opportunity for digging through the weekend, the site will be open Friday, Aug. 17, through Sunday, Aug. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Emerald Creek Garnet Area typically closes Sept. 4, however the garnet-bearing material has been exhausted early for the season. The garnet material is transported to the Emerald Creek Garnet Area recreation site for public use. Geologists identify locations in the Emerald Creek area to excavate the material for the site.

“We had record visitation for July this year,” said Christine Plourde, recreation staff, on the St. Joe Ranger District. “Visitation has almost doubled during the month of July since 2015. It is great to see so many visitors, but we also go through the garnet material much faster.”

The district will be developing a longer term plan for sustainability of the site to meet the growing public demand.

For more information or questions, please contact Christine Plourde at 208-245-6022.

Bear precautions for berry picking

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game urges huckleberry pickers to take proper bear precautions when heading into the woods to pick berries.

Fish and Game recommends carrying bear spray. A can of bear spray costs between $35 to $50. Make sure to keep bear spray in a quickly accessible place.

Fish and Game also recommends making noise when you’re in the woods.

“It’s difficult to not get entranced by those berries and become silent,” Kara Campbell, wildlife regional biologist said. “But making noise allows animals to know that you are in the area and prevents you from startling them, or vice versa.”

Also, don’t travel alone. Berry picking with multiple people allows you to create more noise and have more eyes out on the landscape. If you do end up going out alone, make sure to let someone know where you are headed, and what time you plan to be back, Campbell said.

And know your bears. Black bears are more likely to run away if you make noise, get big and throw things. Grizzly bears can get aggressive if you act this way, so you’re best to slowly and calmly back away with your bear spray in hand.

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