Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Living at Silver Creek Preserve

A lot of people ask me what it is like to live on the Silver Creek Preserve. For those of you who have spent any time on the preserve, you know how beautiful and amazing it is. To live here is a great adventure—every day is different and filled with wonder. I find this time of the year to be one of the most inspriring. The animals are busy getting ready for the winter, the days are getting shorter, and the cool air means waterfowl and other birds start to come for the winter. Two weeks ago I heard the first elk bugle and now we hear them all night long. Three weeks ago I saw the first group of sandhill cranes as they started to gather for their journey southward. Now, there are hundreds circling, filling the air with their eerie call, and catching the thermals as they get ready to head south. The moose are on the move as well, back and forth between the hills and the creek-- their usual path just yards from our front door. Everything is busy and everything is changing, not unlike most of our lives. There seems to be more time here, however, to sit back and take it all in. Maybe because we are a little too far from town to have much time to socialize, we spend a lot of time hanging out on the porch and just watching.

Now that I have a son, the wonders of living in this amazing place are all new to me again. It is an exciting journey and I look forward to his first fish caught, the first mud he roles in, the first feather found… all the wonders that make up my days at Silver Creek. I often think of the book my dad gave me when I went off to college, Rachel Carson’s A Sense of Wonder. As she wrote so eloquently,

“A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear- eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
--Dayna Gross, Silver Creek Preserve manager

Saturday, September 08, 2007

IDFG proposed changes to Silver Creek fishing regulations

Dr. Unnasch catches (and releases) a
big brown trout. Will there be changes
to the catch and release status of Silver
Creek Preserve?

We have had many questions regarding the proposed IDFG regulation changes for Silver Creek. The Nature Conservancy has served as steward of the Silver Creek Preserve for over 30 years. We manage the Preserve to protect an exceptional cold water ecosystem. We also welcome recreational use that does not impair the creek’s natural environment. In 2006, 6,000 visitors from all 50 states and 14 foreign countries came to enjoy Silver Creek’s clear waters, wily trout, and scenic vistas.

Silver Creek’s serenity contrasts sharply with the controversy recently sparked by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s proposed new fishing rules for the stream. The draft rules would permit anglers to keep up to six brown trout of any size daily. This would mark a big change from Silver Creek’s long history of “catch and release” only. The rules would also allow fishing from boats on stream reaches currently reserved for wading and float tube fishing.

After talking with state biologists, academic scientists, as well as local anglers, The Nature Conservancy has decided to ask the Department to withdraw the proposed regulations.

The Department wants to allow the lethal take of brown trout in order to maintain a balance between brown and rainbow trout. While the Conservancy shares this goal, we believe that the Department should take more time to review the science, involve the public, and shape fishing rules that earn broad angler support. We offer our help to the Department in undertaking these tasks. In the meantime, we think the proposed rules go too far, too fast.

We are unaware of any demand from the public for boat fishing on the upper reaches of Silver Creek. This area has a confined channel and receives heavy wading use. The existing rule works to avoid conflicts between boaters and waders and helps maintain the peace and quiet of this special place.


Dayna Gross
Silver Creek Preserve Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Idaho

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hurray for Volunteers

Jerry Jeffery is a retired teacher from Longbeach,
California. He and his wife, Cheryl are volunteering
this September at the Silver Creek visitor center.
He has fished Silver Creek for years, so stop by and
get some good advice!!

At the Silver Creek Preserve and throughout Idaho, we are lucky to have such a wonderful resource-- volunteers. At the Silver Creek Preserve, we rely on volunteers to staff the visitor center, help us with fieldwork, and also help us with preserve maintenance. This year we have already logged over 600 volunteer hours. We couldn't do it without our reliable and energetic helpers!

Each one of our volunteers brings with them unique talents and expertise. A big thanks goes out to the visitor center volunteers this year: Ruth Douglas, Frank Hayes, Art Dahl, Joan Sheets, and Jerry and Cheryl Jeffery.

Our other volunteers this year include:
Bob Wilkins,
Frank Krosknicki
Paddy and Morgan,
John and Jackson from the Wood River Land Trust,
Hunter from Silver Creek Outfitters,
Sarah, John, and Matt from the Blaine County CWMA,
Nacho, Manuel, and Dennis from Chaney Creek Ranch,
Terry Greggory from Idaho Fish and Game,
Larry Barnes and Zeke Watkins,
Poo Wright-Pulliam, Jeanne Seymour, Dave Spaulding, and Kathleen Cameron,
Marlen Gross and Bernie Smith.
Thanks to you all for all you do to help Silver Creek Preserve!