Midway - The Soldier Hollow Clubhouse at Wasatch Mountain State Park and architectural firm VCBO, received a Citation Award from the American Institute of Architects Western Mountain Region. Awards are given based on the highest standards of design, including user needs, site, context, climate, and environment. Only 19 of 159 projects were selected for recognition in categories of honor, merit and citation.

This new honor comes after the Soldier Hollow Gold Course at Wasatch Mountain was named one of America's Best New Courses in the Golf Digest January 2006 issue. A nationwide panel of more than 800 judges evaluated the courses on shot values, design variety, memorability, resistance to scoring, and aesthetics. Rankings appear in the January issue of Golf Digest.

In addition, the Utah Golf Association has selected the Gold Course for this year's Utah State Amateur in early July. Later that month, the Silver Course has the distinction of hosting a qualifying event for the USGA U.S. Amateur Championship. Golfers from Utah and surrounding states will play 36 holes on the Silver Course, and qualifiers will proceed directly to Hazeltine for the U.S. Championship.

Season golf passes are now available for Wasatch Mountain and Soldier Hollow golf courses. The pass is $1,000 and covers green fees for one year from the month issued (cart rental not included). The pass is valid at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course Monday through Friday, and at Soldier Hollow Golf Course seven days a week.

Green fees with cart for the 2006-2007 season at both courses are $18.50 weekdays for nine holes and $19.50 weekends; $17 weekdays for juniors and seniors. For more information, please call (435) 654-1791.


February 24 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Cocoa and Constellations: Enjoy a cup of steaming cocoa as local astronomer Ray Cyr teaches basic winter constellations at 6:30 p.m. In addition, don't miss out on viewing Mars, Saturn, and minor Leonid meteor showers (weather permitting). Space is limited. Registration is required. For more information, please call (435) 628-2255.

February 25 Great Salt Lake State Marina - Salt Lake
SLC Track Club 15K Race- To register, visit

February 25 Rock Cliff Nature Center/ Jordanelle State Park Francis
Track Me If You Can! Join the park naturalist from 10 a.m. to noon and learn basic tracking skills necessary to understanding local wildlife. Bring snowshoes or borrow a pair from the park. Pre registration is required. Day use fee is $7 per vehicle with up to eight people or free to Utah State Park pass holders. For more information call (435) 782 3030 or (435) 649 9540.

February 25 Wasatch Mountain State Park - Midway
Snowshoe with a Naturalist: Winter is a great time to explore the environment, and snowshoes are a great way to do it. Join the naturalist for a two-hour snowshoe hike in Mill Flat to get moving and get connected to your winter surroundings. Meet at the visitor center at 10 a.m. Snowshoe rentals available. For more information, please call (435) 654-1791.


PRICE, UTAH--This week, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) released the results of a fisherman survey at Scofield Reservoir. The year-long study, conducted from December 2004 to November 2005, provides fishery managers with important data to guide them in setting stocking rates and management strategies.

Scofield Reservoir is one of the most popular lake fisheries in Utah, second only to Strawberry Reservoir. Situated on the Wasatch Plateau, Scofield is about one hour from Provo, and attracts a lot of anglers from Utah County. In fact, 70% of all fishermen come from the Wasatch Front. Surprisingly, only 17% come from nearby Carbon County with another 3% trickling in from Emery.

During the course of the year-long study, Scofield fishermen were interviewed eight times a month. The DWR interviewer collected information on the type of fishing being done, the length of time anglers fished, how many fish were caught, and the size of harvested fish. Once the data were analyzed, some interesting results surfaced.

Fly fishermen in float tubes or pontoon boats enjoyed the highest catch rate. This is probably because fly fishermen are much more invested in their sport. As a whole, fly fishermen are very selective about how they fish--tailoring their fly, line and presentation to specific, local conditions and fish feeding behaviors. The overall annual catch rate for all types of fishing was well above the DWR management objective.

Interestingly, as an angler group, ice fishermen boasted the second highest catch rate. Utah's 365 day a year fishing season has proven to be a boon for the adventurous outdoorsperson. It seems that ice anglers have the highest catch rate late in the season (February and March). This should give cabin fever sufferers an extra incentive to get outside right about now.

During the 2004-05 study, the DWR estimated that 80,000 trout were caught, while nearly half were harvested. This amounted to a whopping 40,000 lbs. of trout kept by anglers! The average sized rainbow trout measured 14 inches, while the average cutthroat was 3-inches longer. During the study, the largest trout reported taken was a 6-lb. cutthroat caught after ice-out. Which trout was most often caught? Rainbows turned up 93% of the time. Cuts comprised a mere 7% of the take.

The DWR stocks Scofield Reservoir each year with 450,000 fingerling (3-inch) and 150,000 sub-catchable (6-inch) rainbow trout. Juvenile fish grow fast in this nutrient-rich water. Cutthroat trout continue to reproduce naturally, spawning in tributary streams. The cutthroat fry hatch and grow in Pondtown, Bear, Mud and Upper Fish creeks, finding their way to the reservoir as they mature.

A new game fish made its debut at Scofield last September. For the first time, the DWR planted 100,000 5-inch tiger trout. Tiger trout are the sterile hybrids of brook and brown trout. Because no energy goes into spawning, tigers grow big fast. Renowned for both beauty and fighting ability, the tiger infusion will turn up the fun factor. By summer, the fast-growing tigers will be pan-size or better.

Scofield is one of Utah's most popular family fisheries. Every year, thousands of bait dunkers dot the shoreline in pursuit of a fresh trout dinner. No special tackle or expensive equipment is necessary to bring home a mess of fish. Grandparents and parents can provide their kids with good fishing action from a lawn chair on the bank.

Rediscover family fun, take a kid fishing. As always, Scofield will be great!

Winter Returns to Pelican Lake

After a few months respite, winter has finally returned to Pelican Lake.

Located about 20 miles southeast of Roosevelt, the lake is one of Utah's best ice fishing waters.

"It's been a real odd weather year for Pelican Lake," said Ron Stewart, conservation outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "First Pelican was slow to freeze; we didn't see safe ice until the second or third week of December. Then the weather turned warm and the winds managed to blow the ice off the lake by the end of the month.

"It struggled through January and now, finally, we have the return of winter," he said. "The lake is not completely frozen, but there was 5 to 6 inches of ice on the northeast corner as of Friday, February 10. Pelican still has open water in the middle and stretching out to the northwest corner, so anglers need to be very careful."

"Pelican usually has some of the hottest ice fishing in the state," said Ed Johnson, UDWR fisheries biologist. "It can be spotty, however, as bluegill usually move in schools. The fishing will be hot for a while, then it slows down and the angler has to wait for the next school to move in."

Johnson said now is the time to fish. "Ice opens up the entire lake to fishing. Once it gets thick enough to be safe, just walk out and fish," he said. "If you want to fish the middle, no problem; you don't need a boat and it's a great time to fish."

Never tried it? Here are a couple of Johnson's techniques to help improve your chances of catching a fish.

"In a shallow lake like Pelican, I usually start at the edge of the reeds and then punch a series of holes going out into deeper water," Johnson said. "In deeper lakes, I do something similar, using a rocky point or another likely source of structure. Then pick a hole and start fishing. A group may spread out, some [fishing] shallow and some deep.

"I like to use a small jig head and "tip" it with a meal worm or night crawler," he said. "Another good method is tipping a fly. Small offerings will attract bluegill, trout and maybe a bass; larger offerings might only attract the bass as they have bigger mouths. I'm not sure it makes much difference on the color, but I usually use white, yellow and chartreuse."

Fish finders that are designed to work under the ice can be useful, but if you don't have the money to buy one, Johnson suggests a method for finding fish that has worked for him.

"Let your line out and send the fly or jig all the way down until it stops," he said. "Then reel in a couple of turns so the jig is suspended off the bottom by a foot or two. It seems like there are always a few fish down near the bottom. Sometimes the fish like to see the bait jiggle or jigged and other times they like it "dead-sticked," [which means holding it] completely motionless. If something doesn't take your jig after a few minutes, then try another technique, bring it higher or move to a new hole."

"Ice fishing is a good family activity during the winter as everyone can get out and have some fun," Stewart said. "When taking the family out, make sure everyone has good waterproof boots and plenty of layers of clothes. Wool and synthetic fabrics are better than cotton as they maintain their insulation even when [they're] wet."

No special equipment is needed although the smaller ice fishing poles are easier to handle (a good pole and reel set sells for around $20). Bring a bucket or cooler to sit on. Plenty of food, drinks, dark glasses and sunscreen are also essential.

"The final ingredient is to stay flexible and have fun, even when the snowball fight overruns the fishing," Stewart said. "When the fun stops and the kids begin to get cold, it's time to pack up. Remember, if they have fun, they will want to go another day."

Trout Limit Raised at Panguitch Lake As Treatment to Remove Utah Chub Nears

Panguitch -- Effective immediately, the daily trout bag and possession limit at Panguitch Lake and it tributaries has been raised to 8 trout of any species or size.

This change will remain in effect until further notice, the Division of Wildlife Resources has announced.

Panguitch Lake and its tributaries will be treated with rotenone to eliminate Utah chubs about two weeks after the ice cover melts from the lake. All of the fish in the lake, including trout, will be removed during the treatment. The limits are being temporarily liberalized to allow anglers to harvest trout that would otherwise be lost because of the treatment.

The lake will be restocked with fish as soon as possible after the treatment. After the lake is restocked, the regulations listed in the 2006 Utah Fishing Proclamation for Panguitch Lake go into effect again.

Utah Chubs Affect Fishery

Located southwest of Panguitch in the Dixie National Forest, Panguitch Lake is one of Utah's most popular fishing waters. Every year, thousands of anglers flock to its shores to try their luck at catching a limit of trout from its chilly, high mountain depths. Nearly 70 percent of the anglers that fish Panguitch Lake are from out of state, mostly from Nevada. Several "fishing lodge" type businesses at the lake depend on nonresident anglers for their livelihood.

Utah chubs were introduced illegally to the lake prior to the 1950s. These nuisance fish were probably used as bait, and some were released into the lake when they were no longer needed.

Utah chubs are native to the Great Basin area, but not to Panguitch Lake. They're very competitive fish, and when they become abundant in lakes, they displace the trout. Today the trout population in Panguitch Lake has declined to the point that less than 5 percent of the total fish in the lake are trout.

This is not the first time that this has happened. "We've treated the lake three times in the past to remove chubs, most recently in 1991," said Mike Ottenbacher, acting Southern Region aquatic manager for the DWR.

The lake was treated in the past with rotenone, which is a natural plant product that completely biodegrades in the environment. Rotenone has been approved for aquatic use by the Environmental Protection Agency. At the concentrations used to kill fish, rotenone is not toxic to humans, other mammals or birds.

After the 1991 treatment, the lake was restocked, and it became a great fishery again. "Panguitch has always been a very productive lake," Ottenbacher said. "Fish planted at 7 or 8 inches can grow to be nearly twice that size in a single growing season."

Committee Formed to Address Problem

To address the current problem with chubs, the Panguitch Lake Advisory Committee was formed and was given the charge write a management plan for the lake. The committee is comprised of business owners from around the lake and Garfield County, local anglers, a Dixie National Forest fisheries biologist, a member of the Southern Regional Wildlife Advisory Council, public officials and a Utah Wildlife Board member.

The committee faced several challenges, including how to get rid of the chubs, how to keep Utah chubs and other problem fish out of the lake in the future, and how to do all of this without causing undue financial hardship on the businesses that thrive on fishing at Panguitch Lake.

The committee met several times in 2005 and came up with a plan that will provide a sustainable, quality fishery at Panguitch Lake. It includes a rotenone treatment to get rid of the chubs, the continued stocking of rainbow trout to maintain a family-type fishery, the use of predator trout (Bear Lake Bonneville cutthroat trout and tiger trout) to keep chub numbers low if they return, and regulations designed to maintain good fishing.

"This is a big challenge for us," said Doug Messerly, Southern Region supervisor for the DWR. "There are so many considerations that have to be taken into account in the management of this lake.

"First of all, because of the size of the lake, it will be costly," he said. "Nearly $250,000 has been budgeted for the purchase and application of the rotenone. It's expensive, and as you might imagine, requires special handling.

"Secondly, once the fish are gone, so is the fishing. The businesses around the lake are dependant on good fishing through the summer months. Without fish, they have a very difficult time financially. We feel like our plan addresses most of the concerns and, if all goes well, everyone will come out of this reaping the benefits of an excellent and sustainable fishery for some time to come."

Treatment Should Happen in Mid-April

The plan calls for the rotenone treatment to take place about two weeks after the ice is off the lake. That traditionally happens in mid-April. The rotenone will take about three weeks to detoxify, after which the lake will be restocked with catchable size (8- to 10-inch) rainbow trout. A few brood-stock trout of larger size may also be stocked to make a few trophy-sized trout available immediately to anglers.

"We have to treat all the springs and tributaries to the lake as well, to assure that we get all of the chubs out," Messerly said. "Normally, we would close the lake to fishing for a time, plant small fish and allow them to grow for the next season.

"In this case, we're hoping to get a complete kill with the treatment and are going to plant catchable-size trout soon afterwards to get fishing back quickly," he said. "If all goes well, and the weather cooperates, it may be possible to have Panguitch Lake up and running before Memorial Day in May of this year."

Nongame Wildlife Need Dollars

If you care about songbirds, river otters and other nongame wildlife, the best time of year to help them is right now. Just write in the proper code on your 2005 Utah State Income Tax form and donate the amount you want to give to the Utah Nongame Wildlife Fund.

The code for the fund is 01. The code and dollar amount you want to give can be written on any line between 21a - 21f on the tax form. Then write your total contribution on line 21.

Utah's nongame wildlife need your help.

Nongame Wildlife Need Funding

"Most Utahns don't realize it, but hunters and anglers provide almost all of the funding to manage wildlife in Utah," said Greg Sheehan, Administrative Services Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "They provide this funding when they purchase hunting and fishing licenses and pay special taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Because most of the money we receive comes from sportsmen, it's used almost entirely to benefit wildlife that people can hunt or fish for."

Sheehan says the money received through the nongame tax checkoff is used entirely to help wildlife for which people don't hunt or fish. "For people who care about nongame wildlife, the tax checkoff is a convenient and easy way to help," he said.

How Nongame Wildlife Money is Used

Last year, Utah taxpayers gave $23,964 to the Utah Nongame Wildlife Fund. The funds were used to support several important programs that benefit nongame wildlife.

The DWR's nongame avian program uses the money to fund surveys of raptor and songbird populations in Utah. The management decisions biologists make through the information they obtain helps ensure birds as common as yellow warblers and American robins, and as rare as peregrine falcons and yellow-billed cuckoos, will thrive for years to come.

Biologists have also used the money to learn how much habitat is available in Utah to support Mexican spotted owls. They've developed this habitat model using GIS technology and results from nearly 15 years spent surveying owls in Utah's remote canyons.

Biologists in the DWR's nongame mammals program use these contributions to help endangered and sensitive species. Through their work, river otters now live in southern Utah, a black-footed ferret population is being established in the northeastern part of the state and important information is being gathered about pygmy rabbits and prairie dogs.

"We appreciate every dollar we receive from Utah taxpayers," said Kevin Bunnell, mammals coordinator for the DWR. "The more funding we receive, the more we can do to help these animals and keep them off the federal Endangered Species list."

If You've Already Filed Your Taxes

If you've already filed your taxes, there's still a way to help. The DWR accepts donations for nongame wildlife throughout the year. These donations can be sent to Division of Wildlife Resources, P.O. Box 146301, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84114-6301. Please indicate, either on the check or on a note attached to the check, that the money is for Utah's Nongame Wildlife Fund.

"We encourage everyone who wants to help Utah's nongame wildlife to donate," Sheehan said. "It's a great way to get a good feeling during tax time or anytime during the year."

Women Can Learn Shotgun Shooting Skills at Upcoming Clinic

Salt Lake City -- Women can learn the basics of shotgun shooting by attending a clinic that begins March 4 in Salt Lake City.

Sponsored by the Division of Wildlife Resources, the annual "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" spring shotgun clinic will be held at the Lee Kay Public Shooting Range, 6000 W. 2100 S. The clinic begins March 4 and runs for six Saturdays in March and April. Each class runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost to attend is $25 per class or $125 for all six weeks.

The shotgun clinic is for women who have never touched a gun before and would like to learn how to shoot a shotgun in a safe and supportive environment. It's also for beginning or intermediate shooters who would like some pointers or need help refining their skills.

The experienced and friendly father-daughter team of Gene Ekenstam and Louise Ekenstam Bradshaw have taught women's shotgun clinics for the National Rifle Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the BOW program for nearly 15 years.

Beginners are encouraged to attend all six weeks of the clinic. Loaner guns are available, so you don't need a gun to take the clinic.

If you're a more experienced shooter looking for some pointers and help with your technique, plan to come to at least two or three of the clinics. No matter who you are or how much experience you have, you're sure to enjoy the camaraderie and excitement that occurs when a bunch of funloving women get together and make new friends and learn a new sport. Come "have a blast" this spring!

For more information about the clinic, call Louise Ekenstam at (435) 8826328. To receive a registration form, e-mail Jill West at or download a registration form from the DWR Web site at .

If you can't attend all six classes, you can still register for the ones you can attend.

Deer Captured As Chronic Wasting Disease Study Continues

Moab -- On Jan. 30 and 31, the Division of Wildlife Resources captured 35 deer (27 bucks and eight does) on the LaSal Mountains east of Moab. The deer became part of a three-year deer movement and behavior study that's underway in southeastern Utah.

DWR biologists hope the study will shed some light on how chronic wasting disease (CWD) is transmitted among deer.

Lead researcher Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease specialist for the DWR, contracted with Pathfinder Helicopters to help capture the deer, which were fitted with radio collars and were released. Deer were caught on the north, east and south ends of the LaSal Mountains. Placing radio collars on the deer in these different areas will provide researchers with a balanced picture of the animals' movements across the mountain range.

The radio collars were fitted with Very High Frequency (VHF) and Global Positioning System (GPS) transmitters that will allow McFarlane to locate animals by aircraft or satellite. The GPS points she takes will be used to examine the movements of deer in relation to areas where CWD-infected deer have been found on the LaSals.

Capturing the 35 deer marks the beginning of the second year of the study, which is designed to study the movements, migration and reproductive behavior of mule deer on the LaSal Mountains. McFarlane is hoping the study will provide her with the information she needs to draw conclusions about whether the movements of deer, and the congregation of deer in various areas during different times of the year, is tied to the transmission of


Since the fall of 2002, almost 10,300 deer in Utah have been tested for CWD. Of those, 26 have tested positive for the disease. Eighteen of the positive animals came from the LaSal Mountains, where it's estimated that 2 percent of the buck population has been affected.

CWD is a neurological disorder that is fatal to deer and elk that contract it. There is currently no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans, however.

For more information about CWD, visit the DWR's Web site at

Kevin Conway Award Honors Those Who Are Helping Wildlife

Groups and individuals across Utah are working hard to make the state a better place for wildlife.

For years, many of their efforts have gone unnoticed, but that's about to change. Starting in 2006, one of them will be recognized with a statewide award.

The Kevin Conway Award will be given to the organization or individual that has done an exceptional job of improving places in Utah where wildlife live or educating others about the state's wildlife resources.

The award is in honor of former Division of Wildlife Resources Director Kevin Conway, whose vision of improving habitat for wildlife in Utah has spread to groups and individuals across the state.

Conway passed away in 2004 after a valiant battle with cancer.

In addition to the award, a scholarship in Conway's name will be made available yearly to a wildlife management student at Utah State University, where Conway attended school.

Conway's wife, Karla, has already pledged the first $500 to the scholarship.

"We think this award will become the 'Heisman Trophy' for conservation work in Utah," says Bill Fenimore, policy advocate for the Utah Audubon Council. Fenimore spearheaded the idea for the award. "Once word gets out about the award, we're hoping it will spur organizations and individuals on to do even more to help the state's wildlife," he said.

Fenimore says everyone in Utah wins when there's more and better habitat for wildlife and when Utahns are taught to appreciate and help the state's wildlife.

"It doesn't matter if you're a hunter or an angler, if you're an avid bird watcher or someone who just enjoys seeing wildlife in your backyard," he said. "Everyone's quality of life is better when there's plenty of wildlife for everyone to enjoy. And I believe this award will help provide more wildlife for everyone. The award not only honors those who are doing so much to help wildlife, but it will encourage others to follow in their footsteps."

Fenimore says more than 60 groups have received letters informing them about the award. The diverse mailing list includes groups ranging from hunting and fishing organizations to water conservation districts. "All of these groups play an important role in helping wildlife in Utah," he said.

Fenimore says nominations for the award will be accepted over the next few months. DWR Director Jim Karpowitz will appoint a committee of people to narrow the list of nominations down. That narrowed list will then be taken to Mike Styler, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, who will determine the final award winner.

The first Kevin Conway Award and scholarship should be presented in late 2006. The student who receives the scholarship can use it during the 2007 school year.

For more information about the award and the scholarship, contact Fenimore at (801) 525-8400 or

Utah Signs Seven State Water Agreement

Salt Lake City, Utah -- Utah recently signed an informal agreement with the six other Colorado River Basin States, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Wyoming, which could potentially avoid bickering over the use and storage of water from the Colorado River. "I truly believe this is an historic document, and someday we'll all look back and say it was a good thing to do," said Larry Anderson, Director of the Utah Division of Water Resources in the Department of Natural Resources.

The Colorado River is managed by a complex set of compacts, court decisions, treaties, state laws, federal laws and other agreements referred to as the "Law of the River." The new agreement does not replace the "Law of the River", but rather adapts it to reflect the current needs and realities.

"In simple terms, the agreement makes provision for coordinated operation of Lakes Powell and Mead during times of low reservoir conditions. It attempts to manage Lake Powell and Lake Mead to minimize shortages and avoid curtailments. It identifies actions the Lower Basin can take to conserve water. It recommends a specific proposal for implementing shortages in the Lower Basin. Finally, it recognizes the need to look out of the basin for additional water supplies to meet future needs in the basin," said Anderson. "The plan carefully considered all needs ranging from power generation to recreation activities on the lakes."

The benefits to the Lower Basin States are:
1. The probability of Lake Mead dropping below the critical elevations of 1,050 and 1,000 are reduced by more than 10%.
2. The magnitudes of shortage in the Lower Basin decrease greatly.
3. A new category of water is created called "Intentionally Created Surplus".

The benefits to the Upper Basin States are:
1. The Upper Basin will have 20 years to continue develop its Colorado River allocation without challenge from the Lower Basin.
2. The likelihood of a Lower Basin call is reduced.
3. Pushes the Lower Basin to start looking outside of the Colorado River Basin for water to meet its future needs.

The agreement has been sent to Interior Secretary Gale Norton. The seven states hope Secretary Norton will include the agreement as the preferred alternative in her draft environmental impact statement, due out later this year.

"If approved, it should be bring 20 years of peace on the river," said Anderson.


PRICE, UTAH--It may come as a surprise to some to learn that prairie dogs are seasonally protected in Utah. Just like game animals, prairie dogs now have "open" and "closed" seasons. From April 1-June 15, all prairie dog hunting is prohibited by law across the state.

This closure protects all prairie dogs during their breeding and brood-rearing seasons, in order to promote successful reproduction and survival of young. After June 15, hunting is permitted only for the whitetail and Gunnison species. The threatened Utah prairie dog is afforded year-round protection under the Endangered Species Act. Additionally, the population of whitetails residing in Coyote Basin of northeastern Utah remains protected, because it serves as prey base for the black-footed ferret, another federally-protected species.

Utah prairie dogs occur in southwest Utah. Gunnison prairie dogs are found east of the Colorado River. Whitetail prairie dogs are present elsewhere in Utah. Surprisingly, all prairie dog species have suffered dramatic population declines in the last hundred years. Some research suggests a downturn by as much as 98% since the late 1800's. Habitat destruction and fragmentation, incident to European settlement, is primarily responsible; although disease, drought and human persecution have contributed to the species' plight.

BLM Asks Public for Nominations to Fill Vacancy On National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board

The Bureau of Land Management is requesting public nominations to fill a vacancy on the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. The position to be filled represents the category known as Public Interest (formerly Public at Large), and the selected individual will serve out the remainder of a term that expires July 8, 2008.

The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board advises the BLM (an agency of the U.S. Interior Department) and the Forest Service (an agency of the U.S. Agriculture Department) on the management, protection, and control of wild horses and burros that roam public lands administered by those agencies.

The nine members on the Advisory Board represent a balance of interests. Each member has knowledge or special expertise that qualifies him or her to provide advice in the following categories: wild horse and burro advocacy; wild horse and burro research; veterinary medicine; natural resources management; humane advocacy; wildlife management; livestock management; and public interest. Members must also have a demonstrated ability to analyze and interpret data and information, evaluate programs, identify problems, work collaboratively in seeking solutions, and formulate and recommend corrective actions.

Advisory Board members serve three-year terms, on a staggered-term basis, with one-third of the Board subject to appointment each year. The Board meets at least two times a year and the BLM Director may call additional meetings when necessary. Members serve without salary, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses according to government travel regulations. In accordance with Section 7 of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, Federal and state government employees are not eligible to serve on the Board.

Any individual or organization may nominate one or more persons to serve on the Advisory Board. Individuals may also nominate themselves. Nomination letters and resumes should include each nominee's (1) name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, if applicable; (2) present occupation; (3) explanation of qualifications relevant to representing the public interest; (4) the name of the nominee's nominating organization or individual (or an indication that the individual is self-nominated); and (5) a list of endorsements by qualified individuals and/or letters of endorsement. Nominations should be sent to the National Wild Horse and Burro Program, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, P.O. Box 12000, Reno, Nevada 89520-0006, Attn: Ramona Delorme; phone 775-861-6583 or fax 775-861-6618. All nominations should be submitted by March 31, 2006.

The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act mandates the protection, management, and control of wild horses and burros to ensure a healthy, viable herd population that thrives within the limits of other public land resources and uses. In managing wild horses and burros that roam public lands in the West, the BLM and Forest Service gather excess animals and offer them to the general public for adoption. The BLM also sells older wild horses and burros, in accordance with a law enacted by Congress in December 2004.


Innovative Designs Throw Away the "Rule" Book 182 Entries Received From Around The Globe

Adam Malcom, a graduate student in the University of Virginia's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program, was awarded the $5,000 grand prize in the first Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition sponsored by the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA). The award was presented during ceremonies at the Miami Boat Show on February 16.

"Boaters complain that life jackets are uncomfortable, restrict movement, or make you hot. So we decided to sponsor a competition to encourage innovative ideas to design a life jacket that more boaters might wear," said BoatU.S. Foundation President Ruth Wood.

Competition criteria included wearability; reliability; cost; and innovation. What was notably absent from this list was the need to adhere to any of the established life jacket design regulations.

"We received 182 submissions from armchair inventors, average boaters and students from as far away places as China and Australia," said PFDMA Executive Director Bernice McArdle. "Some designs focused on improving existing life jacket models with new technology or style enhancements. Other designs were completely outside the box with little or no regard to current design guidelines, while others blended the two. Two design elements emerged as judges' favorites: the use of high-tech fabrics that could improve upon current designs, and devices that were the least obtrusive," she said.

Malcom's winning entry was essentially the latter - a slender belt worn around the waist. The unit would stay out of the way and not retain body heat. When activated either manually with a ripcord or automatically via a CO2 gas cylinder, slender, symmetrically-arranged air bladders stored inside the belt inflate rising up to surround the wearer on all sides. No secondary action, such as sliding flotation over the head, is necessary. You simply float much like you would in an inner tube.

Born into a boating family, Malcom owns both a fishing boat and sailboat and plans to use the $5,000 to jump-start a career as an independent inventor. "We frequently don't wear our life jackets aboard for the same reason as everyone else - they are uncomfortable and restrict movement. But I know how important they are so my design focused on remedying those aspects," he said.

The five Honorable Mentions went to:

· Sean Denham, a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, majoring in Industrial Design proposed a T-shirt life jacket that blended a thin layer of kapok sandwiched between layers of neoprene built into a nylon/spandex shirt that also provided UVA sun protection.

· Lisa Ma, Wayne Chang and Peter Tong of I3 Design in Pittsburgh, PA proposed a series of stylish "shirts" made with an inflatable fabric and a transferable C02 inflation kit that kept costs down.

· Another student, Nicholas Weigel who attends Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI, proposed using a two-part foam that expanded to fill clear a buoyancy tube that went around the wearer's neck.

· The "High Tide PFD" designed by Andrew Valentine, another Virginia Tech student and classmate of Honorable Mention winner, Sean Denham, had a sleek, stylish buoyant vest design. High-tech fabrics would keep the body cool and earth-friendly recycled styrene beads were used for flotation and body-conforming comfort.

· "Aqua-Aid," designed by inventor Mario DiForte, Jr. of Baltimore, MD. A press of a button inflates a 12" x 13" brightly colored vinyl float that's packed into a small, wrist-worn case.

In addition to Wood, competition Judges included Virgil Chambers of the National Safe Boating Council; Tim Smalley of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; West Marine's Chuck Hawley; Norm Lemley of the U.S. Marine Safety Association; and John Adey of the American Boat & Yacht Council.

For more information or to see the winning entry as well as the Honorable Mentions, go to .

The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit education and research organization primarily funded by the contributions of 630,000 members of BoatU.S., the nation's largest recreational boat owners association. The Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association is an affiliate of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), a leading trade organization representing the recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more that 80% of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers in the U.S.

New Avalanche Transceiver Training Park Opens at Solitude

SOLITUDE, UTAH (February 10, 2006) Solitude Mountain Resort has teamed up with Wasatch Backcountry Rescue to open up the third transceiver park in the Wasatch Mountains.

With backcountry travel at an all time high, rescue training facilities have never been more welcome. While many backcountry travelers have the required equipment for safe travel, they do not have the proper education or practice in utilizing their equipment.

Located in the northwest corner of Solitude's entry 1 parking lot, the rescue facility will allow users to practice finding one to four buried "targets" in the snow using their avalanche transceivers (provided by user) and probes (provided by Solitude). A flashing light and siren indicate when a target has been found, and the rescue time is recorded.

Says Solitude Ski Patrol Assistant Director Keith Sternfels, "We are elated to have this state-of-the-art rescue facility at Solitude Mountain Resort. With our backcountry access gates and the increasing number of backcountry travelers in Big Cottonwood Canyon, we are constantly looking for opportunities to educate and prepare those enthusiasts and thus ensure greater safety beyond resort boundaries."

Funded entirely by Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, the training facility is free to the public and is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.

Solitude Mountain Resort, a year-round, family-friendly destination, receives more than 500 inches of the Greatest Snow on Earth™ every year and is located just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport.


Comments needed on Yellowstone and Grand Teton Winter Use Plan alternatives.


Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

The BlueRibbon Coalition, in cooperation with the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) and the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association (WSSA) coordinated two special meetings with Park Service Planners and members of the Snowmobile Community.

At these meetings held on January 17th in West Yellowstone, Montana and January 27th in Jackson, Wyoming, our group discussed the current Winter Use Planning process with John Sacklin, Yellowstone Park Management Assistant, and Gary Pollock, Grand Teton Management Assistant.

The Park Service, using a paper version of a PowerPoint presentation, updated our group on the current EIS process. This process is developing a long term plan for Winter Use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The meeting brought to light several areas of concern.

I will address each area of concern for the two parks.

First, winter use issues in Grand Teton National Park must be considered on their own merits versus simply dragging them along on the coattails of a winter plan for Yellowstone. This park unit is distinctly different from Yellowstone and deserves to be treated differently. But thus far, throughout the previous winter use planning processes, they have not been. And the Range of Scenarios presented by the planning team clearly suggests that there will, again, not be meaningful consideration of the CDST (Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail), Jackson Lake and Grassy Lake Road even though they are presented as "critical elements" of the scenarios.

The following components of the alternatives need to be considered in the range of alternatives for Grand Teton National Park.

Allow non-BAT snowmobiles to be operated on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST) since 100% of this trail is immediately adjacent to plowed highways used by other motor vehicles.

Allow non-BAT snowmobiles to be operated on Jackson Lake for fishing access since BAT snowmobiles cannot safely pass through unpacked and drifted snow.

Allow non-BAT snowmobiles to depart from Flagg Ranch on the Grassy Lake Road in order to provide access to national forest trails located on the Targhee National Forest.

Allow up to 50% of daily snowmobile entries on the CDST and Grassy Lake Road to be used by commercial snowmobile outfitters.


Second, in the case of Yellowstone National Park the following must be considered in the range of alternatives.

Our first concern is related to "guiding requirements" which is listed as one of the `critical elements' of the Range of Scenarios for snowmobile entries into Yellowstone. From our discussions with the Park Service staff, we understand that this may range from the existing
"100% commercially guided", to a percentage of "non-commercially guided" ,to potentially "unguided" access for a percentage of snowmobilers. We believe that all three scenarios deserve careful consideration and analysis during this EIS process.

Please ensure that all three of the following scenarios are included and receive meaningful consideration during the analysis of alternatives.

A percentage of "commercially guided" snowmobile entries, not to exceed 70% of the total daily entries.

A percentage of "non-commercially guided" snowmobile entries for 30% to 50% of the total daily entries, where the `group leader' has taken some type of certification course to lead up to 10 people into the park.

A percentage of `unguided' snowmobile entries for 20% to 30% of the total daily entries, where all members of the group have watched a video or taken some type of educational short course.

Our second concern over the issue of snowmobile access to and consideration of reopening all Yellowstone `side roads' to snowmobile visitors.


Please send the two form letters linked above as soon as possible. The time is short since the preliminary alternatives will be released on March 14th. Please act today to apply public pressure. Your letter will make a difference!

Note: BlueRibbon wants to publicly thank the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association (WSSA) for developing these two form letters!

Former NBA Star, Charles Barkley Kicks off the 2006 Tree Room Author Series

As Sundance Resort Presents the Fourth Year of its Successful Series With An Ongoing Series of Dialogues - On Race in America

Sundance Resort presents the fourth year of its Tree Room Author Series in partnership with Karen Dallett of the Spotted Frog in Park City, Utah. This year's series continues its exploration of the controversial issues surrounding Race in America today in an ongoing series of dialogues, featuring noted authors on the subject. The season opens with former NBA star, Charles Barkley, author of Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man: Speaking My Mind on Race, Celebrity, Sports and American Life.

In addition to Barkley, other 2006 authors include Derrick Bell, author of Silent Covenants: Brown vs. the Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform; Essie Mae Washington, Dear Senator: A Memoir By the Daughter of Strom Thurmond; Douglas Brinkley, author of Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Coast; and Cornel West, Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism.

"Sundance is proud to present its fourth year of the Tree Room Author Series. This year promises to expand on the ideas and experiences that have made this series so successful," said Eric Sather, General Manager.

To bring these award-winning authors to Utah, Sundance is once again partnering with The Spotted Frog, in Park City, Utah. "As an independent bookseller, we are delighted to partner with Sundance for the Tree Room Author Series," said Karen Dallett, owner of The Spotted Frog. "This allows us to bring highly-acclaimed authors and spotlight their unique ideas in a relaxed and intimate setting."

Series Schedule

March 11
Charles Barkley, Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man: Speaking My Mind on Race, Celebrity, Sports, and American Life

Charles Barkley is no stranger to controversy. The outspoken former NBA star is the author of such books as I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It and Sir Charles: Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley. In his latest book, Barkley deals with moving past taboos and talking openly about racial issues. The book is a bit more serious than its title might lead you to believe and in it Barkley interviews thirteen prominent Americans including Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Tiger Woods and Morgan Freeman, among others regarding such topics as race, welfare reform, economic and social discrimination and creating opportunities for minorities.

May 20
Derrick Bell, Silent Covenants: Brown vs. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform

Derrick Bell is a scholar of law and currently a visiting professor at New York University's Law School. He began his career in the Department of Justice and then became a civil rights administrator, and eventually a tenured law professor at Harvard University. He has written several books, including the best seller, Faces from the Bottom of the Well. In the 1960s, Bell handled and supervised hundreds of school desegregation cases. His current book, Silent Covenant explores the landmark Brown decision.

May 27
Essie Mae Washington, author of Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond. Essie Mae Washington's memoir acknowledges that the late Senator Strom Thurmond, one of the leading voices of racial segregation was her father. Washington's story is one that was seven decades in the making. Washington tells her story with candor, elegance and spirit.

June 10
Douglas Brinkley, Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast. Brinkley is noted as a political and historical consultant and commentator, and an award-winning historian and author. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio and serves as official historian of NBC News. Brinkley was last at Sundance in June of 2005 to discuss his book, The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the Heroic Feats of the U.S. Army Rangers. Brinkley is director of the Theodore Roosevelt Center for American Civilization at Tulane University. Other recent publications include the New York Times bestseller Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company and a Century of Progress, and The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation with Stephen E. Ambrose. His latest book Great Deluge discusses the issues of racism, poverty and social injustice that became painfully apparent during the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

December 2
Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism. Cornel West, professor of African-American studies and philosophy of religion at Harvard University, has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. A noted social and economic philosopher, he has taken his struggle for racial equity to the national spotlight. His best-selling book, Race Matters, touched a nerve in the American public and triggered a national debate on race issues. His latest book, Democracy Matters is a critique of the deterioration of democracy in America post 9/11.

See printable schedule

Subscription Information
Subscriptions can be purchased in advance for $450, which includes the cost of the lecture, a signed copy of each author's latest book, discussion, brunch and gratuity. Alcohol is not included. Subscriptions include all five authors, Barkley, Bell, Washington, Brinkley and West, and are available immediately. A limited supply of single tickets may go on sale two weeks prior to the event. If available, single tickets will be priced at $95 per person. Advance reservations are required. Tickets are available by calling the Sundance Activities Desk at 801-223-4567.

Women's Retreat Featuring Victoria Moran Author and Life Coach, featured on Oprah and in O Magazine

An Enrichment Weekend for Women April 27-30th, 2006

With Spring just around the corner, there's no better time for a Retreat, to replenish, revitalize, and renew oneself. This all-inclusive Women's Retreat allows each participant to experience everything that Sundance has to offer. This Retreat makes a great Valentine's gift, for that special someone in your life; and with Mother's Day fast approaching, this Women's Retreat would make an ideal gift. This Enrichment Weekend would also be a fun weekend for you and your friends to experience.

Sundance offers an insightful enrichment weekend for women, April 27th-30th, 2006. Join us for a unique event that promises to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. Increase insight into women's wellness with workshops and lectures. Awaken creative energy with classes in our Art Shack that may include pottery, painting, jewelry making or photography.

Enjoy the unsurpassed beauty of Mt. Timpanogos in spring with a naturalist guided hike and relax in the Native American inspired spa with the power of healing touch. Dine in the Foundry Grill and Tree Room where seasonal cuisine and intimate ambiance combine to make a truly special culinary experience. The weekend will include a performance by Bluebird Cafe award-winning singer/song writers. Then, wake up to mountain splendor in a Sundance Suite exquisitely appointed with rustically elegant décor.

Featured guest, Victoria Moran, author of such books as Lit From Within: A Simple Guide to the Art of Inner Beauty, featured on the Oprah Wynfrey Show; Creating a Charmed Life: Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Busy Woman Should Know; and Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit. Moran's articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal; Woman's Day, Body and Soul, Weight Watchers Magazine, Natural Health and Yoga Journal. She has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including two appearances on Oprah. She recently took on the Holistic Dictionary column in Martha Stewart's Body and Soul magazine.

Moran's work has been noted in such publications as USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Fitness, Allure, Health, Self, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, Woman's World and O, the Oprah Magazine.

For more information on this retreat, please call 800-892-1600

A Romantic Escape

Enjoy a romantic escape with your Valentine with Sundance's special Romance package. Sundance has all of the ingredients for a complete getaway for two. The package includes two nights in one of our elegantly rustic suites furnished with western and Native American accents and a fireplace that completes the romantic setting. Also included: breakfast for two each morning in the Foundry Grill, one dinner for two in the award-winning intimate setting of the Tree Room and two luxurious sixty minute spa treatments. Package starts at $880 for two people based on double occupancy.

For reservations, call 800-892-1600.

TOC's 2005 Golden Moose Awards

The Outdoor Channel recognizes the best programming and the fan favorites

Temecula, Calif.--At the sixth Annual Golden Moose Awards Party held during the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, The Outdoor Channel (TOC) presented awards to the producers, editors and other team members who produced the best and most favorite outdoor shows of 2005. An estimated 2,500 outdoor industry leaders, television personalities and outdoor community friends joined TOC in the celebration.

This year's winners are listed below by category (followed by the shows that were nominated for that award.)

General Categories:

1. "Best Open"--Winner: Track and Trail Adventures with Wally Dallenbach. (Adventures North, North American Whitetail TV, Professional Walleye Trail, Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell)

2. "Best Graphics"--Winner: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World--Hunting (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World--Fishing, The Next Bite, Professional Walleye Trail, Thompson Center Game Trails)

3. "Best Camera Work"--Winner: Outdoor Passion (America's Outdoor Journal, BackLand Outdoors, Hunting the Country, Turkey Call)

4. "Most Informative"--Winner: Turkey Call (Engel's Outdoor Experiences, Game Trails, In-Fisherman Television, Limb Saver's Outdoor America)

5. "Best Editing"--Winner: Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell (Bio Logic and Drury's Wildlife Obsession, Deer and Deer Hunting, Jack Brittingham's World of Hunting Adventures, NeWave Motorsports Hour)

6. "Best Freshwater Footage"--Winner: The Next Bite (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World--Fishing, Fishing Across America, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, In-Fisherman Television)

7. "Best Saltwater Footage"--Winner: Mark Sosin's Saltwater Journal (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World--Fishing, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, Limb Saver's Outdoor America, Shallow Water Angler)

8. "Best Commercial"--Winner: Scent Blocker's Body Lock Fleece (Scent-Lok Stampede, CXT, Quackhead Calls, Hunters Specialites)

9. "Best Waterfowl Footage"--Winner: Primos' Truth About Hunting (Hunting Across America, Hunters Specialities, Jack Brittingham's World of Hunting Adventures, Shotgun Journal)

10. "Best Turkey"--Winner: The Wild Outdoors (Bowhunter Magazine TV, Hunting the Country, Primos' Truth About Hunting, Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell)

11. "Best Big Game Footage"--Winner: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World--Hunting (Getting Close, Ghost Stories, Track and Trail Adventures, Wild Outdoors)

Fan Favorites:

12. "Special Interest"--Winner: Championship Bull Riding (4X4 TV, ATV Television, Gold Fever, World of Outlaws)

13. "Variety"--Winner: Jackie Bushman Show (Cabela's Memories in the Field, Call of the Wild, Jimmy Houston's Outdoor Adventures, Limb Saver's Outdoor America)

14. "Fishing"--Winner: Hank Parker's Outdoor Magazine (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World-Fishing, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, In-Fisherman TV, America's Outdoor Journal)

15. "Hunting"--Winner: Archer's Choice (Hunting and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, Primos' Truth About Hunting, Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell, Ten Nugent: Spirit of the Wild)

Gallivan Center Events Announced

Check out just some of the exciting things coming up this year at the Gallivan Center! We look forward to a great year of activities and events.

Don't miss out on any of the fun. Sign up now to join the Gallivan Center e-mail list and get all the latest information on concerts, special events and other goodies going on at Salt Lake City's Outdoor Living Room!

To sign up, visit:

Drawing Winner

Everyone that joined our list before February 3rd was eligible to win a drawing for a gift certificate to any Gastronomy restaurant. Congratulations to our winner Bruce Beck. Watch for more contests in the future!

* - * - * -* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

Ice Rink Events

Customer Appreciation Night - FREE SKATING- Wed, Feb 22, 6:45 - 9:00 pm

Luau on Ice- Sat, Feb 25, 6 - 7:30 pm

LAST DAY FOR SKATING - Mon, Feb 26, noon - 7 pm

For Ice Rink hours, lessons, or other activities call 535-6117.

* - * - * -* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

Free Winter/Spring Events

All will be held on the Gallivan Center stage

Envision Utah - hosting open discussions regarding affordable housing

Wed, Feb 22nd, 8am - Noon

Glass Art Guild - glass art display

April 19-20, 4pm-8pm

Highland Bagpipe Experience - bagpipe lessons and demonstrations

March 10, 6:30-8 pm

* - * - * -* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -* - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - *

Save the Date!

Mark your calendar now for our most popular events. Details are on the way for a season that promises to be the best yet here at The Gallivan Center, Salt Lake City's Outdoor Living Room!

Lunch Bunch

Local performances spicing up your lunch

Weekdays at noon from May 15 to August 22

Bike Bonanza

Cycling activities & bike tour w/Mayor Anderson

May 19, 4-8 pm

VIVA SLC! & The Big Slick

A Vegas experience in SLC including music and Texas Hold 'Em tournament

June 9 - Hold 'Em Qualifying Tournament

June 10 - Concert and Party

Come Alive Concert Series

The popular live music series returns!

Wednesday evenings, June 21-Aug 2

Summertime Blues Concert

An offshoot of the Blues & Brews concert focusing "soul"-ly on the Blues

July 15

Celebration of Utah's Cultures

A Days of '47 event highlighting the many cultures and ethnicities in Utah

July 22

Rock 'n' Ribs

BBQ competition and rock concert - a can't miss combo

August 26

Utah's Brewersfest

Enjoy the finest local beers on tap and some toe-tappin' tunes

Sept 16

Gospel Choir Concert

Let the music move you as local gospel choirs rock the Gallivan Center

Sept 29

SBA Approves over $1 Billion In Disaster Loans To Businesses Affected By 2005 Hurricanes

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $1.05 billion in low-interest disaster loans to 12,455 Gulf Coast and Florida businesses that survived the devastating 2005 hurricanes.

"The SBA remains strongly committed to helping businesses recover and rebuild. Disaster assistance to survivors of the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes remains our top priority," said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto.

"These businesses will lay the foundation for a renewed economic base in the affected region. This is now the largest disaster response in the SBA's 52-year history and we will stay on the ground until our job is complete," he said.

There are two types of disaster loans designed for businesses. A business of any size may obtain loans to finance the reconstruction of business that has been physically damaged. Small businesses may receive an economic injury disaster loan if they have been economically impacted by a disaster.

Overall, the SBA has approved nearly 60,800 loans for $4.3 billion to homeowners, renters and businesses in the declared disaster area, surpassing what was previously the largest response to date, the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

In addition, decisions have been rendered on over 57 percent of all loan applications, and damage inspections have been conducted on nearly 244,900 properties. The SBA has already processed almost 97 percent of the disaster applications for economic injury disaster loans. More than 214,000 loan applications have been processed; disbursements have been made in 38 percent of the approved loans.

More than 1,900 loans totaling $369 million have been made to small businesses in the affected areas through the SBA's two regular (non-disaster) business loan programs. The first is the 7(a) general business loan guarantee program. The other is the 504, Certified Development Company loan program used for financing fixed assets.

For more information on the SBA's disaster assistance programs, please visit:

Image is Key for Firearm Industry Future

LAS VEGAS--Image is everything. And some observers believe the firearm industry has some work to do to build customers for the future.

Surveys show a majority of today's Americans support hunting, shooting and Second Amendment freedoms. But our society is changing, warns business growth expert Steven S. Little.

The perception of sportsmen and sportswomen among the non-shooting and non-hunting public--or bluntly stated, "overcoming the bubba factor"--will play a big part in attracting tomorrow's new hunters and shooters, he said.

Little delivered his message to an audience of the shooting industry's future leaders at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show.

Little--a senior consultant for Inc. Magazine and a non-hunter and non-shooter--said spotlighting hunters and shooters as conservationists is one way to reach the mainstream.

"It was news to me that hunters and shooters consider themselves to be conservationists. I did not know that. And whose fault is that? Is it my fault for not knowing it, or is it your fault for not telling me?" he asked.

"The people who care about the wetlands are the ones who are in them every day. The city people who say they care about the wetlands, they're not there. You are. Let them know that you are the ones doing what's right," said Little.

Another strategy for the firearm industry is to create an image appealing to women and minorities, whose influence in American society will continue to grow.

Little used NASCAR as an example of achieving monumental growth through restructuring its image. In the last 10 years, NASCAR has reached out to minorities, women and others outside its majority fan base and its popularity and sales have skyrocketed as a result, he said.

"In 10 years, they took NASCAR from redneck to sheik," Little said.

The face of the American customer is changing quickly, Little said, noting that by 2050 only 4 percent of the U.S. population will be white. And the impact of global forces like China is already affecting the way U.S. companies do business and it will continue to do so.

"China is huge and it will continue to be huge in this industry," Little said. "There are 300 million people in China who live in a higher standard of living than people in America. It's the greatest wealth creation in history."

"Your job as the future leaders in this industry is to spend 50 percent of your time on tomorrow," Little said.

Refuge Association Applauds President's Emergency Request for Wildlife Refuges

Bush budget provides $132.4m for Gulf Coast national wildlife refuges damaged by hurricanes

Washington, D.C. ? The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) today called on Congress to follow President Bush?s leadership in addressing 2005 hurricane damages to Gulf Coast national wildlife refuges.? As part of the president?s new $72.4 billion supplemental funding request?including funding for Iraq, terrorism and hurricane recovery?$132.4 million is requested for clean-up and facility repair needs at 61 Gulf state refuges.

Last year's hurricanes devastated wildlife refuges in the Gulf states,? said NWRA President Evan Hirsche.? ?We applaud President Bush for his comprehensive proposal to repair the damages and address a fundamental need for our national wildlife refuges.?

In an earlier emergency supplemental request to Congress, the Administration asked Congress for $60 million for hurricane recovery on national wildlife refuges.? This second supplemental brings the president?s total request for refuges to over $190 million.

The president has sent a clear message to Congress that repairing hurricane ravaged refuges is a national priority,? said Hirsche.? ?For the sake of America's wildlife heritage and the millions of annual Gulf Coast refuge visitors, we urge Congress to approve the President's request.?

A nonprofit established in 1975, the National Wildlife Refuge Association is the only organization dedicated exclusively to protecting, enhancing and expanding the National Wildlife Refuge System, lands and waters set aside by the American people to protect our country's diverse wildlife heritage.? With the support of more than 110 refuge Friends group affiliates and individual members in all states, we have worked to make the Refuge System stronger and better able to address the growing challenges of conserving wildlife in our country.? For more information, visit .