Pre- Polar Bear Ride with Perry Brothers

Perry Brothers Honda World is gearing up for a pre-polar bear ride Monday the 28th!

They are going to take a ride around the loop and back on the old Bingham highway to make sure bikes and backsides are ready for the Polar Bear Ride March 12th. All makes and models are welcome. They will be leaving the store at 10:00 AM and stopping at Virg's diner in Erda for lunch. Hope to see you there!

Perry Brothers Honda World
10764 S 300 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84095
(801) 572-9800

Please visit their website at the following location:

Help Division of Wildlife Resources with Survey

A CPM group in Vernal was recently commissioned to research the feasibility of implementing a DWR merchandise line. The goals of this project are to build an alternative revenue source, increase awareness and brand image, and foster a better public image. Please take a few minutes to complete a brief survey that will help them better identify key components of this recommendation. Click on the link below to be directed to the survey website. All responses will be confidential and are greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your response,

The "Go Wild" CPM group

Camping Limitations on BLM Land Near Moab

The Bureau of Land Management announces new limitations on dispersed camping in six areas within the Moab Field Office. Limiting camping to existing campsites in these areas will help preserve the scenic and natural values that campers come to Moab to enjoy. The limitations will prevent the proliferation of disturbed areas, and will promote the cleanliness of dispersed campsites for the enjoyment of the public.

Dispersed camping will be limited to marked and designated sites in the area north of Highway 313, south of the Blue Hills Road, west of U.S. Highway 191 and east of the Dubinky Well Road. In addition, dispersed camping will be limited to designated sites in the area where the Hurrah Pass Road crosses Kane Creek, around Dripping Springs in Ten Mile Wash, on the west side of Spanish Valley, within one mile of developed recreation sites in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area and along the Pack Creek and Black Ridge Roads. There is no fee to use these dispersed sites, but campers are required to carry out all garbage, including solid human body waste. There is also no wood cutting allowed within these areas.

For more information, please contact Russ von Koch, Moab BLM, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, Utah 84532 at 435-259-2100 or visit our website at .

Information from Friends of Utah Rivers Council

Speak out now against damming and diverting the Bear River! On Tuesday, H.B. 47 - which would remove the sales tax now allocated to water development projects like damming and diverting the Bear River - passed through the Senate Natural Resources committee. Please ACT NOW and speak out against this bill - write a letter to your senator telling them to vote NO to H.B. 47 and oppose Bear River development. If you don't know who your senator is, or would like sample talking points, contact Erinn at 801-486-4776 or .

Happenings at the Council:

Victory at the Capitol! S.B. 39 was successfully killed in the Senate Natural Resources Committee at the beginning of February. S.B. 39 would have taken 25% of the budget surplus (after other requirements were met) and put it in the dam construction fund. Along with H.B. 45 and H.B. 47, S.B. 39 was part of a trio of bills to provide funding mechanisms for water development projects such as damming and diverting the Bear River. Thanks to the Council and our members, we were able to kill S.B. 39 and help prevent putting the wheels in motion for dams on the beloved Bear River. Thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators!

House Bill 45 passes House and Senate: H.B. 45, which removes an essential safeguard from the Bear River Development Act, passed both the House of Representatives and Senate this month. As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, this bad bill is now waiting to be signed into law by Governor Huntsman. Though this bill provides a mechanism to get the ball rolling on planning and preconstruction costs for dams and diversions on the Bear River, a bill giving the state the money to spend has yet to be passed. Remember - the Council and our members killed S.B. 39 (see above), and it is imperative that you tell your Senators to speak out against H.B. 47 as well!

Hike Antelope Island: It's time to think Spring - and to start getting out and exploring Utah's rivers! The 2006 Explore series kicks off with a hike on Antelope Island on Saturday, March 18. Join Erinn Neyrey, River Defense Coordinator, for a leisurely hike while discussing the effects damming and diverting the Bear River will have on the Great Salt Lake's ecosystem. Space is limited to 12 people! Contact Lisa at 801-486-4776 or to RSVP and receive meeting times and locations. Visit for a complete listing of the Spring 2006 events.

City Creek Cleanup: Join the Council and Judge Memorial High School on Saturday, March 25 for a cleanup along the banks and trail of City Creek. A dedicated Judge student volunteer organized the cleanup in partnership with the Council. All ages welcome - space is not limited, but please RSVP so we can accommodate all participants! Contact Lisa at 801-486-4776 or for details and to RSVP.


Abandoned mines in Utah threaten water quality: A myriad of abandoned metal and mineral mines exist all across Utah. In addition to posing threats to those who enter the old mines, many of them are seeping toxins into surface water throughout the state. This Salt Lake Tribune article discusses the threats and what's being done to clean them up.

New oil and gas plans for the Green River basin: In a February 21 lease sale, thirty parcels of land totaling 55,000 acres along the Green and San Rafael rivers - an area near and dear to the hearts of river lovers - were initially offered for oil and gas leases by the BLM. The stretch of the Green River adjacent to where the parcels are located was found eligible for Wild and Scenic designation in the Draft Resource Management Plan conducted by the BLM Price Field Office. Thus, the lease offering is not consistent with the BLM's initial findings. Due to protests by environmental organizations and river outfitters, the 30 parcels were temporarily withdrawn from the lease offerings. BLM officials say it is likely that further analysis of the parcels in question would support energy exploration and development, allowing them to be leased in the future. Please ACT NOW and send a letter in opposition to oil and gas leases along the Green and San Rafael rivers to the BLM Price Field Office. Contact for talking points and BLM contact information. See the Deseret Morning News and Salt Lake Tribune for more information.

Larry Keel Performs Monday February 27

Larry Keel & Natural Bridge will perform at the Spur Bar and Grill, located at 350 Main Street in Park City Monday February 27. Their telephone number is 435-615-1618.

Flatpicking Guitar master Larry Keel is a dedicated force in preserving and creating American Mountain Music. Delivering powerful and honest performances, Keel and his 4-piece Bluegrass band Natural Bridge are a breath of fresh air in the traditional Bluegrass market of today, paying their deepest and dearest respects to the forefathers of Bluegrass who laid down the laws of how it should be played and sung- with joy, and from the heart. Following the role models of such legends as the Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Flat and Scruggs, Reno and Smiley, and Bill Monroe, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge includes the following talented line-up: Jenny Keel (bass fiddle, lead and harmony vocals), Mark Schimick (mandolin, lead and harmony vocals), and Andy Thorn (5 string banjo).

Larry Keel has had for a very long time a very clear vision of what he wants to do with his musical talents, and the guiding principle is this: to nurture and preserve our American musical heritage while letting it inspire Keel's own original writing and playing. As he pays his deepest respects to the masters who invented Bluegrass, Keel has become a master himself of Bluegrass, as well as of his own music. Larry Keel is a true heir to the Bluegrass legacy, and his talents as a guitar genius, as an innovative and expressive singer-songwriter and as a bandleader place him amongst the best of the purveyors of American Mountain Music.

Larry Keel was on the bill of 17 festivals in 2005 including: Bonnaroo (TN), High Sierra Music Fest (CA), Floyd Fest (VA), Jugbay Jamfest (MD), Smilefest (NC), Aiken Bluegrass Fest (SC), Firelake Fest (SC), Georgia Mtn State Bluegrass Fest (GA), Massanutten Bluegrass Fest (VA), Bele Cher (NC), Stillwater Getaway (NJ).

New Projects and Speciality Shows
** Del McCoury Band records Larry Keel's "Mountain Song" and releases it on his new album, The Company We Keep.

** Keller Williams and the Keels Grass is now available at and at Larry Keel shows.

** "Larry Keel and Natural Bridge" reviewed in the upcoming publications: Bluegrass Now Jan '06, Dirty Linen Feb '06

** "Keel Brothers, Vol. 2" has a release date set for spring 2006


Park City, Utah (February 23, 2006) - Park City Mountain Resort welcomes the world's top skiers and snowboarders to compete at the 2006 World Superpipe Championships in the new, 22-foot wall, Eagle Superpipe. This invite-only event will be the first major competition following the 2006 Olympic Games and will feature many of the top athletes from the Olympics and X-Games.

"We love that we can relive some of the Olympic glory in one of the best halfpipe venues," said Jim Mangan, director of action sports marketing at Park City Mountain Resort. "The halfpipe is one of the biggest in the world and it will help showcase the talents of these rider's at their highest level. "

The field of athletes will compete for a piece of the $90,000 prize purse in a best of three-run format. On Saturday, March 11, two-time World Superpipe Champion, Keir Dillon, competes against a field of snowboarders, including the 2002 Olympic gold medalist Ross Powers and this year's bronze medalist Markku Koski. Also, fresh from the Torino Games gold medalist Hannah Teter, returns to the U.S. to battle against a strong field of women snowboarders including Australia's up-and-comer Torah Bright and 2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark.

The men's skier event will take place on Sunday, March 12. Park City All-Star and X-Games Ten halfpipe champ, Tanner Hall, will face off against X-Games runner-up Simon Dumont.

The event is free to the public and will include live music, food, and giveaways.

Park City Mountain Resort encompasses 3,300 acres, 3,100 vertical feet, nine bowls and eight peaks offering Signature groomed runs, bumps, powder, trees, terrain parks and the Eagle Superpipe, North America's largest superpipe. The Resort is conveniently located 36 miles away from the Salt Lake International Airport, offering more than 500 non-stop flights daily. For more information about Park City Mountain Resort visit our blog at or our website at .

350,000 Gallons of Hazardous Materials Threaten Wildlife Refuge Five Months After Hurricane Rita

February 23, 2006 (Washington, DC) - More than 1,400 barrels of toxic liquids and gases are sinking further each day into a low-lying marsh within the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) in southwestern Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Rita, which passed directly over the refuge in September, 2005.

A report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and just released to the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) finds that 115,000 - 350,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and gases - full of everything from oil and bleach to propane and four missing chlorine gas containers that kill immediately upon exposure - are

contained within those barrels.

"An additional unknown number (of barrels) are undetected or not visible," the report says. "It is likely that, without the address of these issues, Sabine National Wildlife Refuge will be at significant risk of chemical and physical damages for decades."

The barrels have contributed to a six mile debris field which can be seen from space and is believed to be one of, if not the longest, in the state. The debris field was caused by damage to nearby oil and gas facilities, which saw more than 70 platforms and drilling rigs completely destroyed and more than 40 extensively damaged. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been granted authority to work on refuge lands; the Department of the Interior is paralyzed to act due to a lack of funding, and current proposals before

congressional appropriators appear too small to make any real difference.

"This is really a simple question - do we want to clean this up now, while the impacts and costs are relatively manageable, or do we want to wait until this becomes a massive Superfund cleanup project?" asked Evan Hirsche, Chair of the Cooperative Alliance For Refuge Enhancement, a group of 21 nonprofit organizations fighting to secure critically needed funding for wildlife refuges.

The destruction at the refuge is devastating the wildlife it is supposed to protect. But it is also putting groundwater for local people at risk as well as the local economy. The closing of the refuge's main trail is crushing for locals, who rely on it for ecotourism dollars. The area has lost as much as $1.5 million in tourism daily. Even if the tourists did

come, they'd be greeted with dead animals such as alligators, small mammals and fish scattered throughout the refuge.

The report offers three recommendations: first, to develop a detailed plan for the removal of hazardous materials using lessons learned from other sites after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; second, to conduct surveys to identify buried debris items; and third, to continue to monitor the persistence of debris piles that remain after the termination of removal


"Even with all of this seemingly bad news, there is still a glimmer of hope," said Mr. Hirsche. The Bush Administration recently requested $132 million to clean-up and repair hurricane-damaged wildlife refuges in the Gulf region. "If we can get Congress to approve the President's request, we can save future generations a dollar tomorrow for what we can spend a dime on today."

Bryce Canyon Country - Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival

We invite you to join us for upcoming events and activities in Garfield County, Utah.

June 8 - 10 - It's time to start planning your summer fun, and what better way to "kick off" summer than to come to the Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival. This year it will be held June 8, 9, 10, 2006 in Panguitch, Utah. Our theme for this year is "The Road Less Traveled". We want you to go down a different path and try something new and fun!

We are so very proud to announce that Blanche Young will be our national teacher. If you have never taken a class from Blanche Young, you have missed out! Her classes are full of wonderful techniques, humor, shortcuts, and good common sense, things that will stay with you forever. Blanche will be teaching her Navajo, Zuni or Zulu as a one or two day class (if you want to complete the top at the Quilt Walk take the 2 day class). This is a fabulous class and the quilts are incredible.

The website is up at . We are still adding pictures, but we couldn't wait to share it with you. Registration deadline is May 6, 2006. So get your registration forms in as soon as possible. If you have any questions please email me at .

If you have been to the Quilt Walk before we would like to invite you to bring your projects from past years. We want blocks, strips, finished quilts, unfinished quilts whatever you will share with us. We would like to see what you have done! Also bring a friend who hasn't been before, or bring a group and come play with us. We have many events planned for the 3 days and we can't wait to see you!


Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

I want to shout out a special thank you to all BRC members who contacted their state legislators after receiving our last Utah Action Alert. Thanks in large part to concerns expressed by the OHV community, minor amendments were made to HB 355, a bill that would subject OHV user's stiff fines for not reporting "accidents," even if no injury occurred.

Sadly, I must report to our members that the minor amendments did not fix HB 355's flaws.

Let me make one thing clear at the outset. BRC supports fair and effective legislation that provides the Utah State OHV program with information needed to implement the OHV Safety Program.

However, subjecting Utah's OHV families to stiff fines for failing to report "accidents" that do not result in personal injury does nothing to achieve this goal.

This requirement is imposed only on you, dear OHV user. If you are severely injured in say, a mountain biking accident, the reporting requirement does not apply to you.

If you think that sounds arbitrary and discriminatory, you aren't alone. Nearly all of Utah's statewide OHV organizations oppose such a discriminatory reporting requirement, including the Utah Snowmobile Association and the Utah Trail Machine Association.

All outdoor recreation involves some risk of personal injury. The OHV community long ago stepped up to the plate and taxed ourselves to impose a mandatory training program for all OHV users under 16. (See: )

I know of no other outdoor recreation community that is as pro-active on safety training as OHV users.

Unfortunately, I must also report that HB 355 passed out of the Transportation Committee and is now headed to the Rules Committee. Once it leaves the Rules Committee, it will go to the House floor for a final vote.

Although it may be some time before it gets to the House floor, we do NOT recommend waiting one single minute!

Frankly, it is our opinion that such arbitrary and discriminatory legislation should die a quick and sudden death. The only way this will happen is if thousands of OHV users express their opposition to this lousy bill. Calls and emails must flow like a mighty river, lest we face this bill next year and the year after until it finally passes.

It is essential that you contact your state legislator immediately and ask them to oppose HB 355. Ask them why they would support an accident reporting requirement on OHV users, and not on other outdoor recreation activities such as skiing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting, horseback riding and base jumping.

Navigate your internet browser to Find the contact information for your representatives and place a call or email TODAY.

Be brief and be polite. Simply tell them you STRONGLY OPPOSE HB 355.

You might take the opportunity to inform your legislator that many years ago Utah's OHV community stepped up to the plate and taxed ourselves to implement one of the most effective OHV safety programs in the entire nation. You might mention that a Utah OHV Safety Certificate is required for young OHV users. You might even want to include a link to the program so that they may learn more about this excellent program.

Tell them our community is obviously concerned about safe operation of OHV's. Tell them we support programs that work, not criminal penalties for minor accidents that result in no personal injury whatsoever.

BLM's February Oil and Gas Lease Sale Nets $9.4 Million

Salt Lake City, Utah--Utah BLM's February quarterly oil and gas lease sale netted $9.4 million dollars today. Of the 78 (114,993 acres) that were offered for lease, 59 parcels (82,641 acres) were sold with bids ranging from $2 to $1,100 per acre. Parcels that were not bid on will be open for noncompetitive bid for the next two years.

The high bids were received by International Petroleum of Salt Lake City for parcels in the Richfield Field Office. The high bid by acre was $1100 ($1.3 million for the 1180 acre parcel), and the high bid by parcel was $1.6 million ($800 per acre for a 2036 acre parcel). Bidding in this area was particularly competitive with all 18 parcels from the field office
receiving bids. Recent discoveries in what is known as the "Central Overthrust" belt have prompted new interest by energy companies.

"The sale results reflect that Utah is at the heart of the Rocky Mountain oil and gas frontier," said Terry Catlin, Utah BLM Lead for Oil and Gas Leasing. "Utah public lands are playing a critical role in meeting the region's energy needs, particularly with natural gas development. With the active bidding we saw on parcels throughout the state today, it's clear
industry is interested in potentially untapped oil and gas reserves."

Catlin noted that every parcel is scrutinized prior to the sale to determine if they can be offered in compliance with, among others, the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act and in conformance with the Resource Management Plan/Land Use Plan. To ensure the protection of other resources, numerous
stipulations and stringent requirements are placed on leases that are issued. These may include seasonal occupancy restrictions to protect wildlife and limits on surface disturbing activities.

Once an operator proposes exploration or development on a BLM-issued lease, the Bureau carries out further environmental analysis and determines the site-specific need for various types of impact-limiting or "mitigation"
measures. These measures may include:

- revegetation (to control soil erosion and helps curb the spread of weeds)
- strategic placement of structures and machinery with colors that blend in with the landscape,
- establishment of buffer zones so affects to wildlife habitat are minimized, and -
- burying powerlines and pipelines under or adjacent to access roads to protect wildlife and minimize visual impacts.

In addition, many operators routinely use Best Management Practices, such as remote sensing to monitor well production, to minimizes surface impacts.

Less than one percent of the acreage managed by the BLM experiences surface disturbance from oil and gas activity. Government estimates indicate that Federal lands contain about 68 percent of all undiscovered U.S. oil and 74
percent of undiscovered natural gas. A detailed oil and gas inventory by the Interior and Energy Departments found that Federal lands in five key Western geologic basins - located in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico - contain nearly 140 million trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

That is enough natural gas to supply the 56 million homes now using natural gas for the next 30 years.

The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and the 1987 Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act authorize leasing of Federal oil and gas resources. The 1987 law, which amended the Mineral Leasing Act, requires each BLM state
office to conduct oil and gas lease sales on at least a quarterly basis.

This sale was consistent with the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and with the BLM's existing land-use plans, which guide management of all activities on BLM public lands.

The BLM carries out its land-management mission under the authority of the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which directs the agency to manage the public lands for multiple uses while protecting the natural, historical, and other resources of these lands. Environmentally sound production of domestic energy from fossil and renewable resources is a part of the BLM's multiple-use mission, and energy from Federally managed sources accounts for more than 30 percent of America's energy production.

Bureau of Land Management and Public Lands Council Urge Public Lands Ranchers to Buy Wild Horses

The Bureau of Land Management and the rancher-based Public Lands Council (PLC) are urging public lands ranchers to consider buying older wild horses that must be sold under a recently passed law. The appeal, made in separate letters signed by BLM Director Kathleen Clarke and PLC President Mike Byrne, is going out to more than 15,000 livestock operators across the West who hold BLM-issued grazing permits or leases. The PLC represents the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the Association of National Grasslands on public land
issues affecting ranchers.

In his letter to public lands ranchers, PLC President Byrne writes: "We recognize and appreciate that many of you already provide support to wild horses and burros through water use and grazing on private lands intermingled with the public lands. We are asking you to consider continuing to help by purchasing some of the older horses."

The opportunity for ranchers to buy wild horses could mean that many of the horses gathered from public lands in Utah could find homes. According to Utah BLM Wild Horse and Burro Lead Gus Warr, in Utah approximately 550 animals are planned for capture and removal this summer. All animals removed will be taken to a BLM facility in either Delta or Salt Lake County in preparation for adoption or sale. Many of the older horses from those gathers would need homes or they would be sent to long-term holding facilities.

In an accompanying letter, BLM Director Clarke, who notes that the BLM has some 7,000 sale-eligible horses in its pasture holding facilities, calls the PLC's effort "most gracious and welcome." Pointing out to ranchers that the BLM will deliver loads of 20 or more horses to any destination, Clarke writes, "I am committed to wise and responsible use of BLM's fiscal resources. The cost of maintaining horses in holding consumes more than half of our agency's wild horse program budget. Reducing holding costs will enable the BLM to commit greater resources to the accomplishment of
rangeland health and wild horse herd management goals."

The BLM-PLC appeal comes as the BLM implements a law enacted by Congress in December 2004 that mandates the sale of certain wild horses and burros - specifically, those more than 10 years old or those that have been passed over for adoption at least three times. In implementing this law, the Bureau has been reaching out to groups and individuals that are interested in buying these animals for long-term care. As of January 2006, the BLM has sold more than 1,500 wild horses and burros of the 8,400 that were immediately affected by the sale-authority law.

Public lands ranchers and all others who are interested in buying wild horses should call the BLM at 1-800-710-7597, send an e-mail to , or talk to a local BLM manager.

The BLM manages approximately 22.9 million acres of land within the state of Utah. Of these acres, 2.8 million acres are managed for the protection and control of wild horses and burros, on 22 different Herd Management Areas. Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros; this responsibility includes removing includes removing excess numbers of animals from the public rangelands to ensure that herd populations are consistent with the land's capacity to support them. According to BLM Utah's latest figures,
there are about 2,700 wild horses and burros roaming BLM-managed lands, a population that exceeds by some 400 the number that can exist in balance with other public land resources and uses. Approximately 200 animals are
adopted annually across the state.

Since the legal enactment for the sale of older wild horses in 2004, Utah has sold 10 animals to the public within the state that meets the sale criteria. Those animals went to the National Mustang organization based out of Cedar City.

Removing excess numbers of animals from the public rangelands to ensure that herd populations are consistent with the land's capacity to support them. According to the BLM's latest figures, there are about 32,000 wild horses and burros roaming BLM-managed lands in 10 Western states, a population that exceeds by some 4,000 the number that can exist in balance with other public land resources and uses.

For further information about the BLM's wild horse and burro sales program, see For information about the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption program, which is separate from the sales program, see .

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land--261 million surface acres--than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.8 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation,
livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands.

Firearm-Related Fatalities Remain at Record Lows

REPORT SHOWS 48% DECLINE IN 10 YEARS . . . A new report from the National Safety Council shows that accidental firearm-related fatalities remained at record lows in 2004. Statistics in the council's "Injury Facts 2005-2006" indicate a 48 percent decrease over a 10-year period ending in 2004.

The council's most recent data show 106,742 U.S. residents died in accidents of all types. Less than 1 percent involved firearms. The most common deadly accidents involved motor vehicles, poisonings and falls, claiming 74 percent of all accidental deaths.

"Increased awareness of gun safety and responsible firearms storage have undeniably played a huge part in keeping these numbers at their lowest levels ever," said Doug Painter, NSSF president.
Other new findings from the National Safety Council include: accidental firearm-related fatalities among children ages 14 and under declined 17 percent when compared to the previous year; there were 700 accidental firearm-related fatalities in 2004, the same number as the previous year; and accidental firearm-related fatalities continue to have the largest percentage decrease of all measured types of accidental fatalities.

OLYMPIC BIATHLON . . . Germany, Norway and Russia are dominating men's and women's biathlon--a sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting--at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics. The three countries have claimed 14 of the 18 medals awarded so far. Clouding the competition, however, are ongoing allegations of biathletes using banned substances. Television times for remaining biathlon events are: men's relay final, Tuesday, 6 to 8 a.m. on USA; women's relay final, Thursday, 6 to 8 a.m. on USA. The men's 15km medal event will be shown by NBC between 8 and 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.

SETTING THE (SAFETY) RECORD STRAIGHT . . . Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident in Texas two

weeks ago has generated immeasurable coverage by the media, some of which even poked fun at the incident. But while it was a prime opportunity to focus on hunter safety, it was almost as rare as a hunting accident to find safety statistics mentioned anywhere in the television or print media. In a column in Thursday's New York Post, John Lott and Joni Ogle wrote, "A Nexis search of news stories found that in all the avalanche of news coverage none of the national television news broadcasts on [last] Sunday and Monday mentioned gun-hunters' safety record. Only three of the 76 newspaper and wire stories through Monday had mentioned anything about these accidents being rare."

OHIO REACHES OUT TO FIRST-TIME HUNTERS . . . First-time hunters in Ohio will be able to purchase apprentice hunting licenses starting July 1 under the Families Afield law signed last week by Gov. Bob Taft. The Division of Wildlife will be selling the new licenses at $24 for adults and $10 for youths 17 and under. The law requires that new hunters be accompanied afield by an experienced adult hunter. Initiated and led by a coalition including NSSF, the National Wild Turkey Federation and U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the new law will help Ohio build on in its recent successes in attracting newcomers to hunting. Ohio's youth deer hunting season has helped the state's total of young hunters rise from 34,459 in 2002 to 39,491 in 2003 and 41,562 in 2004, according to the Division of Wildlife. Ohio is the second state to pass Families Afield legislation. Pennsylvania signed similar legislation into law in December.

NSSF ADDS RSS NEWS UPDATES . . . For those interested in staying up-to-date on firearms industry news, press releases from NSSF are now available as RSS/XML feeds. The new feature allows users of My Yahoo!, My AOL and My MSN as well as news readers like Google Reader and NewsGator to add NSSF to their list of news updates. Visit to learn more, or simply copy and paste the address in the preferences of your news reader.

MISSISSIPPI FORMS SPORTSMEN'S CAUCUS . . . Legislators in Mississippi have formed the Mississippi Sportsmen's Caucus, becoming the 28th such state body in a national network focused on promoting a pro-sportsmen's agenda in state government. "The Sportsmen's Caucus is an important step in building coalitions, strengthening opportunities and enhancing our state's outdoor activities," commented Senator Lynn Posey (D-Union Church). "As a bi-partisan legislative group, we will work to expand access to outdoor sports."

PRO-SPORTSMEN CANDIDATES LEAD NARROWLY IN POLLS . . . With less than 10 months until Election Day, polls on races in California, Pennsylvania and Missouri indicate candidates who have positively supported firearms-related issues are holding narrow leads. In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) leads potential challenger State Comptroller Steve Westly (D) 39 percent to 34 percent, but is neck and neck with State Treasurer Phil Angelides (D) 41-40 percent, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell (D)--who has a mixed record on firearms issues--leads potential challenger and ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann (R) 48 percent to 36 percent, a Quinnipiac University poll shows. In Missouri, U.S. Sen. Jim Talent (R) has taken a 46-41 percent lead over challenger State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) after months of trailing, a Rasmussen Reports poll shows.

DUCK HUNTER SURVEY FINDINGS RELEASED . . . The National Flyway Council (NFC) and the Wildlife Management Institute have released the results of the "National Duck Hunter Survey 2005." The survey--the first of its kind--was responded to by more than 10,000 duck hunters from all states. Some of the findings included: Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of duck hunters said they spend over $250 each year on duck hunting and one-fifth (20 percent) said they spend over $1,000 each year. Twenty percent of duck hunters said they "frequently" access the Internet for duck hunting information, while 49 percent said "once in a while" and 31 percent said "not at all." To view results from the survey, visit .

HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST ATF . . . The U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security heard testimony Wednesday from a Virginia gun show organizer and others who reported abuses by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at a Richmond, Va., gun show last August. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on the hearing in Thursday's edition. The complete testimonies of Annette Gelles, owner of Showmaster Gun Shows, the show's organizer; firearms dealer James Lalime; and firearms business owner John White are available at the House Committee on the Judiciary's Web site.

GOLDEN MOOSE AWARDS . . . At its sixth annual Golden Moose Awards celebration, held during SHOT Show in Las Vegas, The Outdoor Channel presented awards to producers, editors and others involved in producing its best and most popular outdoor shows of 2005. An estimated 2,500 outdoor industry leaders, television personalities and outdoor community friends joined TOC in the celebration. The awards will air Feb. 25 at 11 p.m. on The Outdoor Channel.

PA. MAPS THE HUNT . . . A detailed online mapping system is making it easier for Pennsylvanians to search for places to hunt, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Scott Klinger, director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's bureau of land management, says the mapping system is especially helpful in highlighting the state's millions of acres of private land signed up in farm game, forest game or safety zone access programs. "We've had this great public access program, and it's been a stealth program. Nobody knows it's out there or how to find these places," Klinger said. Detailed maps are available for all of the state's 67 counties at . The online maps were created with the help of an NSSF Hunting Heritage Partnership grant. The grants have been provided to selected state wildlife agencies for the past three years in an effort to help boost hunter participation in their states.

SHOOTING SPORT ROTARIANS . . . One of the world's largest civic organizations, Rotary International, has officially sanctioned a new networking group called "International Fellowship of Shooting Sport Rotarians." Rotary, which has 1.2 million members and 31,000 clubs across 167 countries, created the new fellowship to promote worldwide friendship through sport shooting, serve communities through shooting sports fundraising, and promote international understanding and peace.

SPORTING CLAYS AN OFFICE GETAWAY . . . "You've done the company golf tournament, pig roast, clam bake, cocktail party, camping trip and community service day. You had fun. Maybe you didn't. But there's one corporate outing you may not have tried: sporting clays," writes the Providence Business News' Ryan McBride. McBride notes that a number of Rhode Island businesses are giving their employees the chance to try the shooting sport often called "golf with a shotgun."

CANADA'S GUN REGISTRY PRICE 'UPSETTING' . . . Canada's gun registry was originally promised by its Liberal creators to cost no more than $2 million. New Public Security Minister Stockwell Day says Canadians "are going to be upset" when they find out the real cost--estimated at more than $1 billion, reports The Canadian Press. "Some of these numbers, when we get out all the numbers and when the auditor general releases them all very soon, eyebrows are going to go up," Stockwell said. Conservatives are considering scrapping the registry and redirecting the money to public safety, an election promise made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

CURT GOWDY DIES AT 86 . . . Legendary sportscaster and beloved outdoorsman Curt Gowdy died Monday, the Palm Beach Post reports. Not only will Gowdy be remembered for calling some of the greatest moments in baseball and football history, but for his undying appreciation and support of America's oldest traditions, hunting, shooting and fishing.

Firearm-Related Fatalities Remain at Record Lows

NEWTOWN, Conn.--A new report from the National Safety Council shows that accidental firearm-related fatalities remained at record lows in 2004. Statistics in the council's "Injury Facts 2005-2006" show a 48 percent decrease over a 10-year period ending in 2004.

The council's most recent data show 106,742 U.S. residents died in accidents of all types. Less than 1 percent involved firearms. The most common deadly accidents involved motor vehicles, poisonings and falls, claiming 74 percent of all accidental deaths.

"Increased awareness of gun safety and responsible firearms storage have undeniably played a huge part in keeping these numbers at their lowest levels ever," said Doug Painter, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry.

NSSF directs and funds a number of initiatives focused on firearms safety, including Project ChildSafe®, which, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice, will have distributed more than 35 million free gun safety information kits, including gun locks, across the country by the end of 2006. NSSF also distributes safety literature and videos that emphasize outreach to schools. Additional support is provided for hunter safety programs.

"Continued persistence in communicating the importance of firearms safety will only help drive these record numbers even lower," Painter added.

Other new findings from the National Safety Council include:

There were 700 accidental firearm-related fatalities in 2004, the same as the previous year. Firearm-related fatalities are down 48 percent from the 1,356 accidents reported in 1994.

Accidental firearm-related fatalities among children ages 14 and under declined 17 percent when compared to the previous year.

Firearms accounted for only 1.1 percent of all accidental injuries to children ages 14 and under, down from 1.3 percent reported the previous year.

Accidental firearm-related injuries were down 3 percent among teenagers (ages 15-19) when compared to the previous year.

Accidental firearm-related fatalities continue to have the largest percentage decrease of all measured types of accidental fatalities.

NSSF, formed in 1961, is the trade association for the firearm industry. It directs a variety of outreach programs to promote greater participation and better understanding of shooting sports, emphasizing safe and responsible ownership of firearms. For further information, visit .

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 .

Striper Fishing: It's Red Hot at Lake Powell

Page, Ariz. -- Striper fishing in the southern portion of Lake Powell is 'red hot' right now. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is receiving reports from anglers who are catching dozens of fat fish.

Among those anglers is Drew Cushing, community fisheries biologist for the DWR. Cushing spent the weekend of Feb. 18 fishing the southern portion of Lake Powell with two of his friends.

"We really did well at Halls Creek Bay, all the way back among the trees," Cushing said in an e-mail sent to several co-workers. "We tried to stay in the old river channel because it was just loaded up with nice stripers. We caught about 40 fish between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. We weighed a few, and most of them weighed between 4 and 5 pounds, with several that were between 6 and 8 pounds."

Cushing said he and his friends caught most of the stripers by trolling with Down Deep Husky Jerks and deep-running Bombers.

"It seemed that if you got one fish to bite in a school, the rest would become active, and you could keep fishing that school and keep catching fish," he said. "There were countless times that one of us would hook up, and we would have several other bites or fish on other rods at the same time."

Fish the Southern Portion

Whether you find success similar to Cushing's depends on where you fish. Wayne Gustaveson, DWR fisheries biologist at Lake Powell, says, right now, the southern portion of the reservoir is the place to go. He provides the following report:

Lake Powell is fishing like two separate lakes.

The northern lake is typical for February, with challenging fishing for most species. Forage was abundant last fall. Fish are fat and have gone dormant for the winter. Walleye, stripers and bass are caught sporadically on deep-diving lures trolled near brushy cover where the bottom depth is 25 feet.

The southern lake, accessed from Wahweap or Antelope Point, is the place to be. Forage was scarce last fall. Stripers are hungry, making them vulnerable to anglers. If planning a lake trip, go south for better fishing.

On Feb. 22, the lake elevation was 3,591 feet and the water temperature ranged from 47 to 50 degrees F.

Two patterns are working well in the southern portion of the lake

First, stripers are cruising main channel canyon walls from the dam to Navajo Canyon. Best catches have come from the barricade line in front of Glen Canyon Dam. Tie the boat to the west side of the barricade line, and cast anchovy pieces on a small jig head toward the wall. Chum often. Stripers usually hit as the bait is sinking. If no fish are caught within an hour, try a different location. The power plant intake, Antelope Canyon and Navajo Canyon are likely locations to find cruising stripers.

Second, some striper schools and individual fish are still in the backs of the canyons, from Warm Creek to Rock Creek. Schools hold at 25 feet and make periodic sojourns into the very shallowest water. Canyons with sandy beaches, where aquatic weeds and sunken tumbleweeds have emerged, are the best spots. Small sunfish, hiding in the weeds, are vulnerable to predators as the weeds dry up. Use suspending crank baits (e.g., bevy shad) fished with a stop-and-go retrieve for best results. In very shallow water, a rattletrap fished along the bottom is effective.

Walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass are taking advantage of the displaced bluegill as weeds dry up. Fish the same suspending crankbaits and rattletraps near emerging brush piles and aquatic weeds to catch a variety of predators guarding the cover for a chance to eat a small fish.

For current Lake Powell fishing information, visit on the Web.

Ice Fishing 'Heats Up' at Flaming Gorge

Dutch John -- After a slow start, Flaming Gorge Reservoir has started to produce some hot ice fishing. A recent survey in Wyoming found 117 anglers in 54 parties caught 331 fish through the ice in a single day.

According to Wyoming Game & Fish Biologist Bill Wingert, 73 percent of the fish caught were rainbows and 26 percent were lake trout. The biggest catches of the day were a 41.5-inch lake trout and a 39-inch lake trout.

"Recent cold days have extended the safe ice (the ice is at least 4 to 8 inches thick) from the Confluence area of the reservoir south to approximately the Pipeline," said Roger Schneidervin, regional fisheries manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "The reservoir [also] has ice in Sheep Creek, the Canyon, Dutch John Bay, Linwood Bay and Antelope Flat, but it has newly formed over the President's Day weekend and [is] not to be trusted yet. We can see numerous pressure ridges and likely a few small areas with open water, so please check the ice conditions carefully."

Schneidervin said the last two boat ramps that were open, Cedar Springs and Antelope Flat, now have ice in front of them, and that has shut boat fishing down for now.

New Ice Should Produce Good Fishing

"Rainbow trout fishing should be good under the new ice," Schneidervin said. "In the more northern areas, ice fishing for rainbows has been good to excellent in 10- to 15-foot depths using small spoons or ice flies tipped with a mealworm or piece of nightcrawler. Floating a nightcrawler/marshmallow combo or Powerbait just off the bottom is also effective.

"Effective lake trout fishing techniques include vertical jigging with tube or bucktail jigs tipped with a minnow or sucker meat," Schneidervin said. "White or chartreuse colored 3-inch tube jigs, on a 3/16 or 1/4 oz jig head tipped with meat, has been particularly effective.

"There are many small- and medium-sized lake trout in Flaming Gorge, so please take advantage of the new eight-fish lake trout regulation and harvest a limit."

The new regulations allow anglers to keep up to eight lake trout, but only one can be over 28 inches.

For more information, call the DWR's Northeastern Region office at (435) 781-9453.

See Hundreds of Tundra Swans

Pure white tundra swans are making their annual spring migration through Utah right now. You can celebrate their return at two events hosted by the Division of Wildlife Resources in northern Utah this March.

Tundra Swan Day - March 4 and 11

This year, you'll have two opportunities to view tundra swans as the DWR hosts its Sixth Annual Tundra Swan Day. Tundra Swan Day will be held on two different Saturdays this year.

March 4

On March 4, Tundra Swan Day activities will be held at the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area (WMA) west of Centerville.

DWR biologists and volunteer naturalists will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with spotting scopes and parabolic dishes people can use to both see and listen to swans. Admission is free.

Naturalists will also conduct "behind the gates" van tours for anyone who would like to visit parts of the WMA that are normally closed this time of the year. The van tours are free.

For more information, call the DWR's Northern Region office at (801) 476-2740.

March 11

The following Saturday, March 11, Tundra Swan Day activities will be held at the Salt Creek WMA west of Corinne.

DWR biologists and volunteer naturalists will be at the WMA from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with spotting scopes and parabolic dishes people can use to both see and listen to swans. Admission is free.

Wasatch Audubon Chapter volunteers will be among those assisting visitors at the Salt Creek WMA.

For more information, call the DWR's Northern Region office at (801) 476-2740.

Moonlight Walk in the Marsh - March 14

In addition to the March 4 and 11 activities, the DWR will team up with the Wild Bird Center of Layton for a "Moonlight Walk in the Marsh" on March 14 to listen to swans and other waterfowl.

The activity will take place at the Farmington Bay WMA. Admission is free. Those interested in attending should meet at 6 p.m. at the Wild Bird Center located at The Layton Market Center,1860 N. 1000 W. in Layton.

You can also visit the WMA at 5 p.m., where DWR naturalists will conduct some bird viewing before the tour begins later that evening.

For more information, call the Wild Bird Center at (801) 525-8400.

Watching and Listening To Swans on Your Own

If you can't attend either event, great opportunities are available to watch and listen to swans on your own.

One of the best viewing opportunities is at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, where you can view swans from your car as you drive along the refuge's 12-mile auto tour loop.

Phil Douglass, DWR Northern Region conservation outreach manager, says he heard large numbers of swans feeding at the Ogden Bay WMA on the evening of Feb. 20. He also said that students touring the Farmington Bay WMA on Feb. 21 were thrilled to see and hear tundra swans at the WMA that day.

In addition to the Swan Day locations, he says the Ogden Bay WMA parking areas at 5500 W. in Hooper (on the dead end just north of 4000 S.), and 7500 W., about one mile south of SR-39 (12th Street) in West Warren, are two great places to listen to the "swan song" this spring.

Douglass says the swan migration will peak within the next three weeks.