Camo at the Capitol February 19, 2020
Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance joined other Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) affiliate groups from across the state in Boise this week for IWF’s annual Camo at the Capitol event. Idaho Wildlife Federation has 28 affiliate groups and represents thousands of Idahoans.
A delegation of Founding Members of Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance traveled to Boise for the meetings. Other east Idaho groups such as Back Country Hunters and Anglers and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership also participated.
Idaho Wildlife Federation executive director Brian Brooks said IWF’s goal was to fill the State House for a day with sportsmen & conservation groups. The IWF participants were introduced to the legislature on the floor of the House and Senate. IWF affiliate members met with legislators and the governor and interacted with the public.
Several IWF affiliate groups had information displays in the Capitol Rotunda. Their presentations generated a lot of interest from legislators and the public throughout the day.
Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance board member Mark Harbaugh of Ashton said one of the messages HFWA took to Boise is that they support the Western Governors Association Policy Resolution on safeguarding wildlife migrations. They called on Idaho Governor Little and state and federal agencies to coordinate with private, county, state, and federal entities to identify wildlife migrations, apply the latest science, and allocate resources for the benefit of our big game and other wildlife, private landowners, and public land user groups.
Charlie Lansche, who has more than three decades of family history in Island Park, where he and his wife Coni live year-round, said the group supports a safe highway and is concerned about wildlife vehicle collisions on US 20 from Ashton Hill to Last Chance in Island Park.
HFWA founding member Ann Schenk of Ashton added, “I hope there will be environmental studies and an opportunity for public comment on the remaining construction scheduled to begin in 2022.”
Harbaugh, a lifelong hunter and angler, spoke of the importance of wildlife as a huge economic driver in eastern Idaho. He said his group seeks to bring people together around a shared concern for wildlife.
Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance also expressed concern about several wetlands along US 20 and the impact of future highway construction. Sarah Cubells, Program Coordinator for HFWA, said that Ruth Shea, a founding member of the group and world expert on trumpeter swans in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, is working with Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) on behalf of HFWA to ensure that upgrading Hwy 20 will not damage Swan Lake.
Swan Lake is Idaho’s most productive Trumpeter Swan nesting site. Shea says, “With good planning, ITD could avoid damage and actually improve this highly visible and well known swan habitat in Island Park.”
Cubells said her group’s participation in Boise along with so many affiliates of IWF demonstrated the strong voices of sportsmen and women and conservationists in Idaho.
Read more in the Idaho Wildlife Federation website.