Wildlife spotting, conservation groups
While it's certainly rare to see a grizzly or caribou, plenty of other wildlife may be spotted in trees along lakeshores or creeks, in alpine meadows, or, well, just about anywhere really.
Early morning and late afternoon are often the best times of the day to view wildlife, usually when they're feeding. Spring and fall are the best times to see migrating birds using the Pacific Flyway. Remember your binoculars, cameras and video recorders! To increase your chances of seeing wildlife, visit these areas:
Round Lake State Park -- 8.5 miles south of Sandpoint off Highway 95 on Dufort Road; osprey, great blue heron, beaver, muskrat, mink, white-tailed deer, raccoons, and amphibians and reptiles.
City Beach/Sand Creek -- in Sandpoint; Canada geese, seagulls.
Pack River Delta/Clark Fork River Delta -- 5 miles and 21 miles, respectively, east of Sandpoint on Highway 200 at Lake Pend Oreille; moose, waterfowl, white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat, osprey, bald eagles, great blue herons, loons, elk, wood ducks and tundra swans. If you continue east on Highway 200 about 60 miles into Montana, look for bighorn sheep on the cliffs.
Farragut State Park -- four miles east of Athol on Idaho Highway 54; mountain goats (on the cliffs of Bernard Peak across the lake), white-tailed deer, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, bald eagles and songbirds.
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge -- 5 miles west of Bonners Ferry on Riverside Road; waterfowl, osprey, bald eagles, northern harrier, ruffed grouse, great horned owl, rough-legged hawk, elk, white-tailed deer, moose, beaver, coyote and black bear.
McArthur Wildlife Management Area -- 17 miles north of Sandpoint just off Highway 95 on County Road A4; waterfowl, coyotes, moose and white-tailed deer.
Overall, minimize disturbances to wildlife. Do not try to approach too closely, especially when an animal may be dangerous -- such as bears with cubs, rutting elk and moose in the fall, and moose with calves. Move slowly and quietly and use available blinds -- a boat or car with the engine turned off, for example. Do not pick up sick or orphaned animals. Finally, obey any posted rules you encounter and respect the rights of other wildlife viewers or photographers.
For more information, see Idaho Wildlife Viewing Guide, by Leslie Benjamin Carpenter (Falcon Press, 1990).
Wildlife Conservation Groups
Following is a list of nationally and locally based groups
Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Missoula, Mont. -- Liz Sedler, P.O. Box 1203, Sandpoint, ID 83864. Website: www.wildrockiesalliance.org
American Wildlands, Bozeman, Mont. -- Mary Mitchell, member of board of directors, 1108 W. Pine St., Sandpoint, 208/263-5282. Website: www.wildlands.org
Boundary Backpackers/Idaho Conservation League, Boise, Idaho -- Jerry Pavia, Chairman of Idaho Conservation League, P.O. Box 912, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805, 208/267-7374. Website: www.wildidaho.org
Cabinet Resource Group, Libby, Mont. -- Judy Hutchins, P.O. Box 104, Heron, MT 59844
Idaho Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Boise, Idaho -- Tima Wilson, 208/342-7055. Website: www.nwf.org/conservationdirectory/group_detail.cfm?orgid=1426
Pheasants Forever, St. Paul, Minn. -- Paul Merritt, president of Kootenai Valley Chapter, 208/267-6210. Website: www.pheasantsforever.org
Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club, Sandpoint -- Dale Snipes, P.O. Box 1589, Sandpoint, ID 83864, 208/263-3016 or 263-0424. Website: www.lpoic.org
Rock Creek Alliance, Sandpoint -- Mary Mitchell, executive director, 1319 N. Division, 208/265-8272. Website: www.rockcreekalliance.org
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula, Mont. -- Larry Book, 93 Woodland Dr., Sandpoint, ID 83864, 208/263-7416. Website: www.rmef.org
Selkirk-Priest Basin Association, Priest River, Idaho -- Mark Sprengel, Wildlife Committee Chair, P.O. Box 1809, Priest River, ID 83856, 208/448-2971.
Trout Unlimited, Arlington, Va. -- Troy Tvrdy, President, Panhandle Chapter, 212 N. 4th Ave., Suite 145, Sandpoint, ID 83864, 208/265-2640. Website: www.tu.org