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InlanderJoe

Anyone ever see caribou in the Selkirks?

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Hi there: I'm curious in getting in touch with anyone who has sited caribou up in Northeastern Washington or on the Idaho side. How rare is it to find them? And will anybody be going on a trip up into NE Wash or the Selkirks in April?

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I've never seen caribou (at least not that I know of) but I have seen a small herd of elk up at the trailhead to Mt Si, two weekends in a row now, about 7 or 8 of them.

 

Just drove through the Idaho panhandle in the middle of Feb, didn't see any game though.

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Haven't seen them, it is rare, there are only a handful in the heard on the WA side.

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Ditto what pu says, going back almost 40 years of trips to the Selkirk crest, 95% of the time on or near Chimney Rock and Harrison Peak--which is more to the south from where I understand the herd frequents closer to the Am-Can border.

 

Would love to see caribou in the Selkirks, as well as other animals I know exist there but I haven't yet seen in north Idaho: griz, cougar, and wolverine.

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Seen tracks while skiing south of Salmo Pass BC, which is nearly on the Idaho boarder. I believe they move south into the States in the winter, when (foot) access is very difficult, so nobody sees them. In the summer, they migrate well north of the CA border. I have seen aerial photos of them at the Sandpoint ranger station, and those where taken in the winter.

 

Seen a couple grizzlies from the Chimney Rock trial over the years.

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Seen a couple grizzlies from the Chimney Rock trial over the years.

 

Cool! Where exactly? When? Big, or young?

 

Most of what I've seen of griz around there has been digging (most obvious), and possible scat which could easily have been from regular black bears. While griz is around, it's rare to see them.

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Rain/lightninged off of Chimney Rock. 2006? Coming down the trail on the Pack River side. As the trail turns north and becomes an old road, a momma griz was walking up the trail, between me and the trailhead. Spooked her at about 50m. She stood up (about 7 ft tall) and 2 youngins' peered out from behind her. Of course I shat myself, then backed away slowly, making increasing loud yells and banging my trekking poles together. She and her cubs ran up the uphill side of the trail. At that point, the terrain is steep and brushy on both sides of the reclaimed road. There was no place to go. I didn't know if they were just off the trail or far away, and there was no way to give them a "wide berth". So I waited for about 20 mins. then loudly continued down to the truck without seeing them again. Regret not taking a picture, but given the circumstance...

 

An electrician that I know lives on Pack River Road near old "Buck and Edna's" that burnt down. He has a "resident" griz. that he takes pictures of regularly.

Kinda far from the "core" area. Closer to Hwy 95!

 

 

 

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Right on! I love hearing griz stories, and glad to know there's at least one productive sow in there. I like coming in from the Pack River side, but the vast majority of my trips I access via the Priest Lake side of the crest, which of course is more traveled by folks thus less bears and wildlife seen overall.

 

If we ever meet in person, I'll share my Montana and Canada griz stories with you. Cheers! :brew:

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from http://www.cbbulletin.com/

 

Comment Period Extended On Critical Habitat Designation For Selkirk Woodland Caribou, Only 46 Animals

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that the public will have an additional 60 days to submit comments regarding the agency's proposed critical habitat designation for the southern Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou, an endangered mammal known to occur in the states of Idaho and Washington and in British Columbia, Canada.

 

Idaho's Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, and Boundary County, Idaho, asked for an extension to the comment period and additional opportunities for citizens to participate in public processes regarding the proposal.

 

"We recognize the public's interest in this issue and will work together to help citizens fully understand our proposal to designate critical habitat for caribou," said Brian Kelly, the Service's state supervisor for Idaho. "We also seek to gain as much information as possible from all interested parties which we will use to inform our final decision."

 

The Service is re-opening the public comment period on the caribou proposal for 60 days, until May 21.

 

The southern Selkirk Mountains caribou was listed as an endangered species in 1984. It occurs in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington and British Columbia, and the entire distinct population segment is estimated to include about 46 animals.

 

In total, approximately 375,562 acres are being proposed for designation as critical habitat. The proposed critical habitat is located in Boundary and Bonner counties in Idaho, and Pend Oreille County in Washington. These lands are all currently considered to be occupied by the species, and no exclusions are proposed.

 

The primary threat to the species' survival is the loss of contiguous old growth forest habitats due to timber harvest and wildfires. Human activities such as road-building and recreational trails can also fragment caribou habitat and facilitate the movement of predators into the caribou's range.

 

In 1980, the Service received petitions to list the South Selkirk populations of caribou as endangered from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and a U.S. Forest Service staff biologist. The southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou was emergency listed as endangered in northeast Washington, northern Idaho and southeast British Columbia in 1983, with a final listing in 1984.

 

Defenders of Wildlife, The Lands Council, Selkirk Conservation Alliance, and Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Service to designate critical habitat for the species in 2002. A 2009 settlement agreement stipulated that the Service would submit a proposed critical habitat rule to the Federal Register on or before Nov. 20, 2011, with a final rule by Nov. 20, 2012.

 

The southern Selkirk Mountains caribou is a member of the deer family, and it possesses unique biological and behavioral traits. It prefers high elevations above 4,000 feet and steep terrain with old-growth forests.

 

Small groups of mountain caribou migrate seasonally up and down mountain ranges, rather than undertaking the mass-group, long-distance migrations some species of caribou are known for. When winter snow deepens, mountain caribou feed almost exclusively on arboreal lichens that occur on old trees (typically 125 years or older), in high elevation forests.

 

Under the ESA, critical habitat identifies geographic areas that contain features essential for the conservation of a listed species. Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the ESA by requiring federal agencies to consult with the Service on federal actions that may affect critical habitat and by prohibiting federal agencies from carrying out, funding, or authorizing the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Only actions that have some federal nexus are subject to consultation on critical habitat; activities undertaken by private landowners that do not involve any federal funding, permits or other activities are not affected by a critical habitat designation.

 

The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve or other conservation area. It does not allow government or public access to non-federal lands. A critical habitat designation does not impose restrictions on non-federal lands unless federal funds, permits or activities are involved. However, designating critical habitat on federal or non-federal lands informs landowners and the public of the specific areas that are important to the conservation of the species.

 

Interested citizens are invited to attend a Service-hosted information meeting on Saturday, April 28 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Citizens will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposal by talking with Service biologists and managers at this information meeting.

 

The same day, a public hearing will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. so that citizens will be able to provide formal oral comments for the Service to review and consider for its final decision. Speaker registration will begin at 1 p.m.

 

The information meeting and hearing will be at Bonners Ferry High School, 6485 Tamarack Lane, Bonners Ferry, Idaho 83805.

 

 

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The last time I ran into the Selkirk herd was just upstream of Nakusp hotsprings, summer, 1989. About 20 total, with one old doe in charge of the whole herd. The one big buck was there just for show. I had my one year old son in the backpack carrier, along with my wife. I think carrying a baby made the caribou less anxious about us. They kept their distance, but that distance was about 15 feet. We checked each other out for about 5 minutes. It was five minutes I will never forget.

 

But in a lifetime of hanging out in N Idaho, I have never seen tracks or caribou. I have seen evidence of them browsing the lichen in the trees, but my guess is, as mentioned above, one would only see them in winter, on snow.

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Not exactly what you asked about, but I'm pretty sure I saw one along the side of a highway in the Canadian Okanogan. Can't remember exactly where, it's been close to 10 years ago. I was heading west from Nelson towards Vancouver.

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Very late response to your question, but did see three caribou on a trip into Harrison Peak, probably 1993 or so.  They were on the ridge between Harrison Peak and Harrison Lake.  I believe they are now non-existent in Idaho and North-east Washington.  Don't have my old journals handy to give you further info.

 

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