Trails Protection and Wildlife Management as Winter Wanes 

At risk trails need a break from citizens, and wolf population culled

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Hiking always seems like such an innocuous activity, but there never seems to be a shortage of controversy surrounding it. And like most things, it's usually brought on by a few who don't follow the rules.

Case in point No. 1: This is the time of the year when Foothills trails are most at risk. The combination of regular precipitation with warmer overnight temperatures means Boise's beloved trail system is one muddy mess made worse when hikers and bikers don't stay off the wet trails.

If you love the trails, stay off of them until they are either dry or frozen. You can get trail condition updates and suggestions online at ridgetorivers.cityofboise.org.

But it's not just the trails closest to Boise that are facing hard times. Case in point No. 2: Not only are people using muddy trails near the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, but access to the trailhead is being threatened because of some dog owners who are being far from respectful.

The area has been a designated on-leash area since 2010 in an effort to keep dogs out of the cemetery, but a trailcam placed in the cemetery area showed that 70 percent of dogs are still off-leash on Veterans Trail No. 114.

Veterans Cemetery officials are now warning that if dog owners don't start following the rules, the popular trailhead--which provides access to trails between Dry Creek and Horseshoe Bend roads--may be closed.

No shortage of controversy surrounds anything that has to do with wolves in Idaho, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials are tasked with the unenviable duty of managing the species.

IDFG recently finished a wolf-control project in the Lolo Zone in Northern Idaho, killing 14 wolves from a helicopter in an effort to reduce the population in an area where wolves have flourished and are being blamed for the drastic decline in the region's elk herds (BW, Features, "Predator and Prey," April 7, 2010).

The 14 wolves are in addition to 11 killed by hunters during the season, 11 taken by trappers and six killed through earlier agency control actions.

Three of Idaho's 13 wolf-hunting zones have closed for the season, with the majority of the rest open through the end of March. As of press time, 240 wolves had been killed through hunting and another 101 have been taken by trappers.

Get updated totals on Idaho's wolf harvest at fishandgame.idaho.gov

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