Leave federal public lands alone

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Idaho legislators need to go out, enjoy the outdoors on public lands, and smell the wild roses.

State lawmakers are looking at passing legislation to transfer control of federal public lands in Idaho to the state. The state can't even take care of its state parks. The governor and the legislature severely cut funding to state parks several years ago.

Robins are everywhere. What gives?

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I've been getting a lot of questions about all the robins around Boise. So, I went to Idaho Fish and Game and here's an explanation:

A lot of people don’t realize that robins can be found year around in Boise.

The robins that breed here in the summer probably move south, and the north Idaho and Canada robins probably come here for the winter, said Rex Sallabanks, wildlife diversity program manager for Idaho Fish and Game.

Gear Tuesday: Warm up your cold-weather cycling

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If you're a year-around cyclists, heads up!

Leg and arm warmers might be just the thing. You might check out leg and arm warmers from Cannondale at local bike shops.
They are lightweight and feature a polar fabric for stretch and a light layer of insulation and some reflective accents for visibility.

Weekend update: Ice fishing on C.J. Strike

Image It was good weekend, but not so good if you were a perch. It's great to have ice fishing so close and convenient at C.J. Strike. Ice was about a foot thick off Cottonwood Campground. Stay away from the dam. There's still some open water there.

Fat bikes for rent in the Treasure Valley

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I mentioned fat bikes in my Jan. 17 column, and then found out that Meridian Cycles at 830 North Main Street in Meridian rents them for $50 per day. They have a 15-inch and 19-inch frames, which sounds like his and hers rigs. The photo above isn't necessarily one of their bikes, but it gives you an idea of what they look like. The oversized balloon tires float on packed snow. From what I've heard and read, they roll well on groomed trails such as snowmobile or cross country ski trails, or just packed snow on roads. But hold that thought. According to Jennifer Okerland at Idaho Parks and Recreation, "they are probably not allowed (on groomed Nordic trails) because they would tear up the ski tracks," she said. But she added that there's no specific rule against them and "there hasn't been any demand yet." Groomed snowmobile trails typically fall under the jurisdiction of county or Forest Service, depending on which agency manages them. I will try to get more information soon.

Here's your full Hank Patterson boxed-set DVD collection (bootleg live version)

Dress for winter bike riding for the low, low price of $1,337

Yes, I am being sarcastic, but that's the total cost of a full winter outfit for bike commuting put together by an editor at Gear Junkie, and it would work equally well for winter trail riding. Heck, that's about half my annual fuel bill for my Dodge Ram pickup that guzzles gas like a frat boy at a keg party, so it kind of negates the savings of bike commuting. The website did a break down of the winter riding clothes one of its editors wears for winter commuting in Minnesota, which I will venture to say is consistently colder than our winters, not just during a cold snap like we're experiencing. While most of us won't dump the cash on the full outfit, you can pick and choose out of this gear to keep you warm on the most frigid rides. I know I am lusting after those gloves, I just can't pull the trigger on $130 digit protectors. Must be because of my numb hands. WIthout further chatter, check it out HERE.

Park offers Valentine's Day snowshoe trek

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Here’s a way to take your sweetheart on a different romantic getaway.

It’s secluded. It’s beautiful. It’s far out.

It’s a snowshoeing trek into the winter wonderland of Castle Rocks State Park, south of Burley. It’s being sponsored by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

Beats the traditional dinner in town.

Sun Valley puts some fun in a groomed run

I'm too old for terrain parks. As much as I would love to catch big air, I know it wouldn't end well. But I still think terrain parks are a great idea, and I like what Sun Valley is doing. It has some amazing terrain park features, including an Olympic half pipe. But it's also doing something for people who stay grounded. Sun Valley set up a race course with tightly banked corners that looks awesomely fun, and a great way to put some excitement in a boring groomed run without having to catch air.

Take a drive for eagle watching

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They're not everywhere but if you take a drive from Boise along Warm Springs Avenue to Lucky Peak Dam and beyond up Idaho 21 toward the Mores Creek arm of Lucky Peak Reservoir, chances are you'll see an eagle.

This critter was sitting in a tree behind the Ben's Crow Inn. I shot the photo with a 300mm lens so I would not disturb it. It's an immature bald eagle.

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