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The End of an Era

Congratulations and Farewell 

Johnny, Jenna, and Jane Rafting Down the River

After EIGHTEEN years of working for Sawtooth Adventure Company, it is finally time to introduce and say goodbye to Johnny Landward. Johnny is a treasured aspect of this operation, doing everything from guiding to booking to managing all of our river guides and their trips. Over the years he has seen just about every trick in the book from our river guides and guests, making a lasting impression on everyone he interacts with. 

Over the Years – 

During Johnny’s early years at Sawtooth Adventure Co., he was a paddle guide on the day stretch. Before this, he guided in Jackson but heard of work in Stanley. From here, he chatted with his brother who knows the owner (Jared), and set up a date to meet. After chatting over a beer, he decided that he was able to make the move to Idaho to work on the Upper Salmon. 

Throughout his first years at SAC, Johnny was an outstanding paddle guide. He always wanted to make sure that guests would have the best experience possible. In fact, Johnny would even prepare the lunches for our 10 AM trips almost every day just to make sure that nothing was missing and all the guests would be fed well and happy. Down the line, all of this enthusiasm and care for guest experience pushed him up into the world of multi-day guiding on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon. However, all of this enthusiasm also won him the job of doing new guide orientations and ultimately becoming the full-time manager of Sawtooth Adventure Co. 

For many, it is the job of guiding that draws people in, but it is the people they meet that keeps them around. This is exactly what happened with Johnny. Although he and his wife met while teaching skiing in Park City, UT, they both ended up guiding for SAC and Rocky Mountain River tours (our sister company). Jenna worked on the Salmon River for ten years – eight of which were working for SAC. Not to mention, she was the lead guide for the Main Salmon when the current owner, Jared Hopkinson, bought the company Rocky Mountain River Tours. 

The Highlights

When asking Johnny what his favorite memory from his Summers in Stanley is, he responded with no hesitation that it is raising his daughter Jane alongside his wife Jenna. These summers consisted of living in the room above the Stanley Fly Shop, along with spending an ample amount of time camping around the Sawtooths and Redfish Lake. However, the most memorable part has been watching Jane grow up to love Thursday Street Dances and swimming in the Alpine Lakes. 

Although watching his family grow has been his favorite memory, his best-loved part of his job is the problem-solving that occurs every day. Johnny says that “every day is a puzzle”. This could not be a more accurate description of what it is like to manage SAC, especially this year, with almost 20 guides needing to be worked into the equation. However, this is a double-edged sword due to the time commitment that this puzzle requires. 

For the Future

Now that Johnny is finally relinquishing his position at Sawtooth Adventure, he looks forward to spending more time with Jenna and Jane. In true Johnny spirit, he is aiming to become a school Social Worker where he can help children in families in Salt Lake City. Although, after eighteen years of dedicating his summers to guests and the river, he is excited to have time during those warm months to explore different places with his family. 

Thank you Johnny for all that you have done over the years! You and your family’s enthusiasm will be missed in Stanley, but we wish you the best in your next endeavor! 

With much love, 

The SAC Pac

Idaho’s Dark Sky Reserve

Looking Into The Night

As people flock from the city to the mountains, there are constantly individuals who are amazed by the stars that light up the night sky. When you are in large cities, the bright artificial lights from buildings create light pollution. This pollution cancels out the stars above and makes them more difficult to see. However, when you move away from the city and into the mountains, you are able to experience the magic that the night sky provides. In order to preserve this, Idaho has created the “Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve”.

Photo By Jesse Delamotte 

About the Reserve 

The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve encompasses a vast amount of land throughout the Sawtooth National Forrest. This land (and the sky above it) covers almost 1,416 square miles! This stretches across multiple towns, one of which includes Stanley. 

This reserve was put into place in order to protect the land, animals, and natural environment. Starting in 2017, Ketchum, Idaho was the first to being this process. Since then, many of the surrounding towns have followed suit and adopted the concept of preserving visitors’ ability to see ample amounts of stars in the night sky.

Protecting Animals

Even before recorded time, the one thing that animals could count on was that the sun would rise and set every day. They knew to look for the light and what it meant. However, humans have developed a strong relationship with artificial lighting, this system has now been thrown out of order. Now, animals, such as birds, can easily get disoriented by glaring city lights. 

Birds that migrate or hunt at night navigate by moonlight and starlight. However, artificial light can cause them to lose their sense of direction. In the end, this may lead them in the wrong direction, or, even worse into a dangerous cityscape. For example, every year millions of birds perish by colliding with buildings that are artificially illuminated during the night. By limiting the amount of light that is put out into the night sky, issues such as this one could be mitigated.

How Towns are Helping

Over time, producing light consumes a large sum of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, almost 35% of light is wasted by unshielded and poorly aimed lighting. As a result, this adds up to almost $3.3 billion and 21 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.  

However, there are multiple things that towns are doing in order to reduce their light use. The primary action that is being taken is for homes and businesses to install dark sky-friendly lighting. This means that towns are pushing for residents to install fixtures that direct light downward on areas that need to be illuminated. By doing this, it limits the glare and up-lighting into the night sky. Along with this, choosing bulbs for outdoor lights that provide warm white light with a yellow glow rather than a cool blue light is extremely helpful.

Ultimately, all of this effort is to preserve the ability for future generations to look into the night sky and be amazed by the galaxy above them. Similarly, this reserve benefits the animals in the area by eliminating unnecessary light pollution that affects their natural circadian rhythm. So, the next time you visit Stanely, Idaho take a look up into the night sky and take a gander at the stars that whirl above.

Idaho Hot Springs

Hot Springs All-Around

Photo By: Andrew Burr – Middle Fork Hot Spring

To some, Idaho is merely known for its potatoes. However, for others, Idaho is an endless playground filled with hiking, biking, and exploring different hot springs. From roadside pools to backcountry pockets, there are ample hot springs to search for while visiting. 

White Water Rafting and Hot Springs 

After going out on a white water rafting adventure, taking an evening hot spring soak is the best way to wrap up an epic day. People of all ages are bound to enjoy hanging out in the relaxing water as it steams up from the ground. 

Sitting right along the river, the Sunbeam Hot Spring is a group favorite. Having the option to jump between the cool water from the river and the warm hot spring water is a special treat. Along with this, there is plenty of space and multiple pools which can be shared amongst different groups. Pro tip: bring a lunch with you and hang out at the pools for an afternoon of relaxing fun! 

Why So Many?

You may be wondering why there are so many options for hot springs in Idaho. Overall, there are about 340 hot springs to choose from when searching for a pool to relax in. These pools are the result of leftover energy heating water near fault lines. The groundwater in these areas is heated either by the circulation through faults to extremely hot rock in the Earth’s crust, or by shallow bodies of molten rock. 

From here, the heated water percolates to the Earth’s surface and seeps out of the ground to create pools of enjoyable warm water. However, all of this movement means that the water collects an ample amount of minerals on its way to the surface. The main mineral that is carried to the surface is a sulfide compound. This compound is part of the reason that hot springs have that distinct “rotten egg” smell. However, it is not the only part of the equation.

The main cause of this smell is the result of a bacterium that feeds on the sulfide compounds as they rise to the surface. This creates hydrogen sulfide which is the true source of the odor. 

The Ultimate Stanley Day 

To start your day in Stanley, make sure to stop by the Stanley Baking Co. for a delicious breakfast before heading out on your adventure. Next, head on over to Sawtooth Adventure Company for white water rafting, e-bikes, and paddleboard rentals. Following your white water excursion, head on down to Sunbeam Hot Spring for a nice relaxing soak by the river. After everything is said and done, you can end your day with a stop at Redfish for dinner and an evening on the lake. At the end of the day, you can’t help but look back on a fun day spent in Idaho!

Sawtooth Rafting: Dams and Fish

Whitewater Rafting and Lower Snake Dam Removal 

 

 

Recently, there has been a lot of chatter about the removal of the Lower Snake River Dams. These include Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor. This debate is due to many factors. Some of which is that the dams are in need of repair or removal, and that there is the constant issue of declining fish numbers. One of the primary reasons that this is such a fought-over issue is that the proposal claims to need $33.5 billion dollars in order to be put into motion. 

Reason For Removal

One of the main reasons that the removal of the Lower Snake River Dams is extremely beneficial, is that it would drastically improve the Salmon run. Historically, almost 130,000 adult salmon and steelhead have returned to the Snake River in the spring and fall to spawn. However, since 1950, this number has dropped below 10,000. Along with this, according to the nonprofit Save Our Wild Salmon, all four Snake River Salmon, and Steelhead populations are listed under the Endangered Species Act. Moreover, removing the four Lower Snake River Dams would aid in restoring the fish by knocking down barriers that stand in their way. 

Why it is Important to Keep The Fish Populations Up

Similarly, it is extremely important to restore the fish population due to their impact on the river. This being said, Salmon are a supreme component of the river’s ecosystem. Salmon runs act as the gateway for an extensive amount of marine nutrients. These nutrients get carried from the ocean to rivers during Salmon runs. Ultimately, these vital nutrients are dispersed and utilized by over 50 species of animals which can include birds, insects, and other fish.

One extremely important aspect of this “nutrient spreading” is that the dead fish expel nitrogen to the surrounding soil and plants. This results in an influx of greenery growth, which in turn oxygenates the land. Without the Salmon runs, this ecosystem would be disrupted, therefore causing an imbalance in the water and land. 

Sawtooth Adventure Busses Showing Support 

Seeing that our company is based at the headwaters of the Main Salmon, the return of the Salmon is an extreme part of our everyday life. Due to the debate surrounding the Lower Snake River Dam removal, we have decided to show our support by educating our guests. Along with this, we have painted our busses to look like the fish swimming through the river. As you drive through Stanley, you can now see a freshly painted Cutthroat, Steelhead, and Sockeye swimming through town. This is meant to support the idea that fish should be swimming freely through the river to get from point A to point B.

Idaho Is Too Pretty To Litter

Leave No Trace in the Sawtooths

 

Here in the Sawtooth Range, there are endless opportunities to get into the mountains. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, or running through the trees, you will have the opportunity to experience all of the beauty that these outstanding mountains have to offer. However, over the last couple of years, there has been a large influx in the number of people that are using this area to recreate. Ultimately, this means that more people are using the trails along with the infrastructure that supports them. In turn, this results in the need to educate people about Leave No Trace in order to maintain the vibrant land that surrounds us. 

Why Leave No Trace 

Some may ask, why is the concept of leaving no trace so important? The answer to this is that outdoor enthusiasts aim to leave the land in the same, or better, condition than they found it in so that current generations and future generations will be able to experience the outstanding beauty that exists in the outdoors. 

How to Leave No Trace: 7 Principles 

The Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics has developed seven key concepts which help recreators preserve the land while still having fun. These principles include: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors. All of these can be found on the Leave No Trace website, which also goes into more detail about how to perform these principles in an effective way.

Simple Ways to Help 

One simple way to leave no trace in the outdoors is to pack out what you pack in. Even for small hikes and day trips, this is a concept that sometimes gets neglected. Not only do you want to pack out any trash that may come from granola bar wrappers, but you also must pack out any food waste, personal waste, and gear that you bring with you. 

For example, a common misconception is that you are able to leave any “biodegradable” food scraps. This is not the case due to the fact that the apple core you just threw out onto the side of the trail is not native to the area, and therefore leaves something behind that was not previously there. This is just one of many examples that can be used, but ultimately the key takeaway is to A) make sure to follow the seven Leave No Trace Principles and B) Make sure to educate those around you in order to preserve the land and its beauty for the next generation.