March 20, 2018

Mesa Falls Marathon This Saturday

mesa-falls-1The Mesa Falls marathon will begin this Saturday first thing in the morning, and if you want to participate, you need to register by Thursday. You can do the marathon (which is from Mesa Falls to Ashton,) a half marathon, a 5k, or a one mile family run. Or, if you’re like me, you can run ahead, snap a few photos and run back to the car.

There will be a big feed and an awards ceremony in the Ashton city park after the race. (NOTE: I’ve often wondered what type of award it would take for me to punish my body for 26 miles?)

If you’re a runner, you don’t want to miss this one.

The Mesa Falls marathon is one of the “50 great marathons” here in these United States. Clean air, clean water and good clean fun — that’s what you’ll get this Saturday. Better get registered.

Try a Little Kindness

kids-atxI live just through the trees from a really grumpy guy. I’ve been told he’s even grumpier than I am (no, seriously.) The thing he hates most in this life is unsupervised kids on four wheelers and motorcycles blasting past his house at mach four raising an outrageous cloud of dust.

The other day I overheard a conversation in the lumberyard beween this man and another. He was obviously still angry about the situation and very vocal. “I called the sheriff on the little %$^&$#,” he declared defiantly. “You should have seen the look on the parents’ faces when they found out they were to be fined.”

In case you’ve forgotten, you are responsible for your children until they turn 18. If they’re out tearing up the countryside it will be you that will foot the bill. But it needn’t ever get that far. Nobody I know up here is unhappy with ATV’s going past the house at a reasonable speed. I would define reasonable at less than 10 mph. I don’t know anyone who would give an ATV a second glance if it came by at that speed.

The problem is when they come by 5 – 6 at a time fishtailing down the road with no regard for anyone. That’s a problem. But again, if you’ll just hold it down until you’re out of the cabins and onto the trails, you can turn yourself inside out and nobody will care. And there are thousands of miles of wood roads and other trails where you can do just that.

So slow down through the cabins. Don’t make any more dust than you have to. Don’t make any more noise than you have to. And everyone will leave you alone to enjoy your time here. It’s really that simple. Bring your four wheelers and blast around with us. We’d love to have you come and share all this with us. But show a little kindness as you go through the cabins. It will go a long way toward neighbor relations.

Road Construction In Island Park — Expect Delays

roadsWell, ’tis the season. The road construction season, that is. Road repair crews are popping up all over Island Park and there is serious expansion of the road (new passing lanes, etc.) in several locations.

While I’m normally a complainer toward road construction delays (especially where there is no alternate route to avoid the construction) this is important work. Island Park has seen a marked increase in traffic over the last few years and much of that traffic consists of RV’s, motor homes, big rigs, vehicles with trailers full of toys behind, etc., all of which slow things down.

The biggest danger of an accident here in Island Park is from some impatient soul who can’t wait to be ahead of a long line of slower traffic. As these people push the envelope, we’re all at risk. For that reason, I applaud the state of Idaho in their efforts to make our highways safer.

Delays have been short up to this point — about 10 – 12 minutes max. Flag crews have been good to keep things moving and not let things get out of hand. And look at it this way: if you have to be stuck in traffic somewhere, there is no better place than Island Park to do so.

So be patient and don’t let the delay get to you. Oh, and by the way, if you feel inspired to offer a cold one to the flagger, don’t be shy. I’ve never see one turn down anything cold and wet. It might not help you get through the construction any faster, but it will sure make his / her day!

Fewer Snowmobiles In Yellowstone This Year

bisonOur oh so liberal friends in the Department of the Interior in their infinite (but twisted) wisdom have decided to lower the cap on the number of snowmobiles allowed each day in Yellowstone National Park to 318 sleds. Note that’s not 315 or 320. It’s a very scientifically derived 318. Apparently that’s the precise number of sleds that match the noise and pollution levels of the more than 10,000 cars full of flatlanders that visit the park each day in the summer. How they arrived at that very scientific conclusion is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

If you want my opinion of why it’s okay to effectively “close” the park in the winter and not in the summer, it’s financial. It cost the National Park Service more than $1 million a day to give free access to visitors this summer. In the winter they’re certainly not making any money. So in my estimations they’re thinking “hey, we’re not making any money here anyway in the winter, let’s push to restrict access. If that flies, we’ll start on restricting summer access.” Now I know it’s very dangerous to try and try and get into the mindset of the American liberal, and I don’t recommend you try this at home as this is something that should be left to the experts, but there seems to be no other way to explain the apparent absurdity of this rule.

I guess the buffalo and elk in Yellowstone have an extreme sensitivity to the smell of snowmobile exhaust (not to be confused with automobile exhaust, which they apparently thrive on.) Even worse, after years of breeding in this environment of semi-captivity, they’ve developed such acute hearing that the noise of a snowmobile passing by at 25 miles and hour is offensive to them (however the noise made by Harley Davidsons roaring by at 55 mph is music to their ears.) Praise be to the gods that we have people here in America smart enough to figure all this out. Who knows what would happen if they left it all up to the rest of us “unwashed” people?

For the silver-lining group among you, there is one bright side: if you happen to win the lottery and get to putt along at a snails pace through the park, you likely won’t see anyone else. With the hundreds of miles of roads in the park, and the shamefully low number of sleds, you’ll likely have the park to yourself. You gotta love that!

Huckleberry Heaven

huckleberryIf you’re from here, I don’t need to explain the title to you. If you’re not, you have no idea what you’ve been missing. This is the season visitors to Island Park wait for all year — the huckleberry season. Berries started to ripen last week and will continue over the next two to three.

Berries this year are fat, juicy and sweet. Early rains and later sun provided just the right mix of nutrients for the little plants to work their magic. Although it’s early, I’ve seen tons of people out gathering. The most popular sites get picked over pretty quick, so my advice is take a day, jump on your four wheeler and find your own glory hole.

Whatever you do, don’t ask someone to show you their favorite spot. A huckleberry hole is like a fishing hole. There’s kind of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” aura around the whole thing. Once you share a hole with someone else, they’ll share theirs with you, and it grows from there.

For those of you who’d rather not get your hands dirty, you can stop at the Shell gas station in Thornton (about 3 miles South of Rexburg,) and buy them. The going rate this year is around $60 a gallon. When you take into account how long it takes you to find and pick a gallon, $60 might be cheap. It depends on whether you have more money or more time (oh, and whether you’re a wanny when it comes to getting out and tromping in the woods.) See you out there!

Fall River Electric Photo Contest

mesa-fallsIf you are a member of the Fall River Electric Coop (and you are if you have a cabin that has electricity in Island Park,) you are eligible to submit photos to Fall River electric for their annual photo contest.

Photos must be high-resolution and must be submitted by September 30, 2009. The top twelve photos will be used for the annual calendar that is distributed all over the valley (and of course photo credits are given,) and the best of the rest will be used for inclusion in the newsletter and other publications.

If you would like to submit your photos, log on to and follow the links. This could be your chance at fame and fortune ($100 for first place.) Don’t let this one get away.

"Friendly" Black Bear Causing Macks Inn Residents Problems

black-bearIt seems there’s a big black bear hanging around cabins in the Macks Inn area of Island Park online canadian pharmacy lately. The bear has lost his natural fear of humans and is starting to make a nuisance of himself.

In the last few days (a week or two) the bear has been seen on several decks in the area, making it obvious that someone has been feeding him. I have heard people talking, saying, “I like it when the bears come around. I even like it when they’re up on my deck, because I can sit safely inside and snap a few photos. What does it hurt if I leave a little something to encourage the bear to come to my place so I can do that?”

The answer is simple. If the bear starts to become a nuisance, he may be relocated at a great cost to the taxpayers. If he becomes aggressive after not finding food, he’ll most likely be put down (that’s euthanized — killed — for those not from around here.) Bears that are “human habituated” and not deemed able to be rehabilitated are always put down.

So the long and short is, feeding bears may well take their lives. These are not cuddly lap animals. They are big, very strong, and can be unstoppable once they’re spun up. Be wise about leaving food out. Keeping your deck and other areas around your cabin or campsites clean may well save the life of an unwitting bear. That’s conservation at its most basic if you ask me.

Weed Control In Harriman State Park

thistleIt’s not often I come down on the same side of an issue as the tree huggers. But this time I have to admit they’re right on. If you’ve been in Harriman State Park you know there is a serious thistle problem. You’ve seen them. They are tall, bushy, with big purple flowers and are absolutely horrible to walk through. They afflict fishermen, hikers, bikers, photographers and anyone else who visits the area. But since I collect medicinal herbs in the area, the last thing I want to see is herbicides sprayed indiscriminately in Island Park.

The Henry’s Fork Foundation (HFF) has come up with a perfect solution: death by bugs. They got a grant for $3,000 from the state of Idaho to release 2,500 small gall flies which, working with stem mining weevils to be released a short time later, will kill the thistles without the use of herbicides. Granted it would have been infinitely cheaper to get a gallon of broad-leaf herbicide and git ‘er done, but this is a very responsible way to accomplish the same thing in a way that doesn’t threaten the rest of the local environment in any way.

If you would like more information on how to get rid of thistles in your area without using herbicides, contact the Henry’s Fork Foundation and they can tell you how it’s done.

Ongoing Grizzly Bear Discussion

grizzThe Sierra Club, et al, are seeking a “re-listing” as it were of grizzly bears (which were taken off the endangered species list May 1, 2007.) They think that grizzlies aren’t protected enough and that only they can save them.

The things I find interesting about this situation include the fact that none of those groups seem to live where grizzlies do. They sit back in Washington, file their spurious lawsuits and try to intimidate lawmakers into doing something that has no need of doing.

Another thing I find interesting is that they somehow have the misguided idea that bears (or whatever other endangered group) is more important than the people. I find that remarkably similar to the misguided idea some people have that the “right” to medical treatment of an illegal alien is somehow more important than the “right” of one who is legal (and has paid into the system for years.)

With a host of other things about this that range from reasonable to absurd, I’m going to stop. The courts will decide how this should go — not the people who are elected, who live and work here, who have some important input — the courts. Those people who know the least about this whole thing will decide how it should be for everyone. You gotta give one thing to liberals: they know how to work the system.

Stay In Touch

library-1Being on vacation is great with one exception: trying to find an internet connection to stay in contact. If you’ve been out of touch for awhile and need to get current, consider the library.


Yes, even Island Park has a library. It’s located on the loop road (to the west) between Macks Inn and Island Park Village. They are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and a half day on Saturday. You can use the internet on their computers to check your email, etc. There is no cost, but if you go at the wrong time of day, you may be spending a little time waiting.

The best time to go is first thing in the morning or just before they close. If you’re going to be here awhile, you may also want to consider getting a library card. Like any library, the card is good for books, videos, etc. This isn’t the library of congress, by any means, but it’s a great place to spend a few hours, and a great place to get caught up on the latest.

Now you have no excuse for not staying in touch.

Ire Mounting Against Long-Haul Trucks

truckA citizens group in Montana is seeking support from Island Park residents on pressuring legislators to curb (or drastically reduce) the number of long-haul trucks that come through Island Park and then on through the Madison River Valley to Ennis.

Research in Island Park shows that during the day, a long-haul truck will pass by and average of every three minutes. Many use “jake” brakes to slow down, destroying the serenity many of our visitors come here to find.


But there is something almost un-American to tell truckers they have to go around. The difference in going from Idaho Falls to Bozeman through Island Park and Ennis is significantly shorter than going north to Butte on I-15 and then East to Bozeman.

I find it hard to decide where I stand. I find it interesting that the people who complain most about the trucks are often the ones who complain most about the cost of everything the trucks bring. They are also, I’m generalizing here, the ones who complain most about pollution, the un-green nature of our society and the way we’re damaging our environment.

In a lot of ways, it’s the standard NIMBY (not in my backyard) problem. We all agree coal-fired power plants, prisons, gravel pits, youth centers, skateboard parks, etc., etc., etc. are necessary, but I don’t want them built where I am. I’d much rather they build where you are.

The truck debate will continue to rage and I suppose eventually there will be enough support to force them to go around. How that squares with product pricing, fuel waste and environmental damage is beyond my ability to calculate. If you feel strongly, let us know.

Fire Danger: Extreme

fire-extreme1I drove past the ranger station there at Pond’s Lodge yesterday and noticed the fire danger sign listed the fire danger as extreme. I don’t know whether someone changed the sign as a prank, or whether it’s really extreme, but we should all be cautious.

Usually, the fire danger goes up when we have a dry spell and all the grass and dead plant material on the forest floor dries out. But this year we have had nothing but rain since May. It’s rained at least a little bit three or four times a week all summer, so it’s hard to understand why the fire danger might be at a critical level (it also makes it hard to imagine what it’s going to be when all that stuff does dry out!)

At any rate, the forest service has indicated that there is extreme fire danger so please plan on taking the appropriate measures to ensure your fires don’t get away from you. Here are eight ways you can be “fire-safe:”

1. Use only approved fire rings for fires
2. Clean the area around the fire ring of anything flammable (grass, pine needles, etc.) for at least 10 feet back.
3. Build smaller fires (big fires tend to throw off more sparks, etc.)
4. Maintain your wood supply well away from the fire.
5. Avoid using gasoline, etc. to start your fire.
6. Have water or a fire extinguisher nearby — fires can spread very rapidly.
7. Make sure your fire is dead out (well watered) before going to bed.
8. Never, ever leave your fire unattended

The forest is here for all of us to enjoy. We love to have people come and enjoy it with us. But it’s safe to say we all enjoy it more when it’s not charred by fire, so please have fun and be fire-safe.

Island Park Water Quality Meeting Tonight

riverNow before you say, “Yeah, that’s just a room full of pine cone spitters,” you need to realize that this meeting affects all of us. If your cabin isn’t where you’re connected to the Island Park sewer system, they’re going to talk about when you’re going to have to be and how much it will cost. If you are connected now, you need to be there to find out how much more you’re going to have to pay to help connect everyone else.

The meeting will talk about the trends in water quality since they started measuring in 2005 (and it doesn’t look good!) They will also discuss what that pollution means for the aquifers, etc. (meaning how it potentially affects the water coming out of your well.)

Don’t miss this meeting. You don’t want to be blindside down the road, nor do you want things happening without you getting a chance to voice your concerns. The meeting is at Lakeside Lodge (on the way to Bill’s Island) and it starts at 7:00 p.m. and is expected to go for an hour and a half or so. See you there!

It's A Buyer's Market

cabin-for-saleIt’s no secret that real estate sales have been slow nation-wide. That’s been true here in Island Park as well. When the sale of primary residences drops off, you can imagine what happens to the sale of secondary (vacation) homes. Couple that with the fact that much of the construction in the Island Park area was investors building “spec” homes, and you have the recipe for great bargains.

Many investors were caught with no place to sit approved on line drug stores last year when the music stopped. So for the last 8 – 12 months they have been making payments on high-interest construction loans for a place that there’s no potential buyer for. While the asking prices haven’t dropped all that much, with the slow-down selling prices have come down significantly.

If you’ve been thinking about a new home in the Island Park area, now’s the time to buy. There is a fantastic selection of properties from mild to wild and they are selling for a fraction of what they did last year at this time. There will never be a better time to buy here in Island Park (at least in terms of pricing, selection and availability,) so call your favorite realtor today and see what’s available. You’ll be glad you did.

Sawtelle Stampede July 4

fun-runIf you are a runner who frequents the Island Park area, chances are you already know about the “fun run” on Sawtelle Peak. The event is organized to have something for everyone. There is a half marathon (13.2 miles) a 10K, a 5K and 1K for kids (I hope it’s kids of all ages, because 1K might be all I could manage.)

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Much of the terrain is challenging, but nothing that would preclude a reasonably fit person from completing the course. This is one of the premier events in the west for mountain runners. But even more fun, US gold dollars are given to the winner of each event. (I’ll bet those kids never even see me coming.) Because the stampede is on the 4th of July, participants are urged to wear patriotic colors (of course that’s red, white, and blue, regardless of your heritage.) To make sure participants follow that request, there will also be an award for most patriotic clothing.

You can register at If you register early (before June 19) you get a free tee shirt. If you’re going to run anyway, might as well have the tee shirt. It’s a great way to meet runners of the opposite sex!