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A Walk in the Wild

Learn conservation while hiking with ICL

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I like you. So take a hike.

I'm only telling my friends, like you, to take a hike because I know about some really awesome ones coming up in Boise.

The Idaho Conservation League is hosting a series of free hikes all over the state, including a steady schedule of Boise-area hikes. The Summer Hiking Series began in May and runs through September with a variety of excursions to match any outdoor enthusiast's preferences.

"These hikes are a great opportunity for folks to get into the beautiful Idaho outdoors," says ICL's membership coordinator, Aimee Moran. "And they can learn about conservation; it's so important to protect the beautiful spaces out our back door."

Idaho Conservation League is an organization for Idahoans who care about the state's natural beauty, wilderness, clean water and the overall quality of life. Established in 1973, the ICL and its members aim to preserve Idaho's beauty through citizen action, public education and advocacy.

The hikes are a way to increase public awareness of the need to fight for preservation. They are a benefit to current members first, says Moran, but if extra space is available, ICL opens up to community participation, and hikers can register on the Monday before each hike.

If people like the hikes, if they like the terrain they hike, they can pony up the membership dues and join the league and have first dibs on future hikes. "The more members, the more powerful we are—power in numbers," says Moran. "It means more help for us when we go to the legislature and say, 'This many people care about these issues.'"

All the outings are led by seasoned hikers, all of whom are ICL members. The series covers a lot of explorable land in the area, and covers a lot of terrain variations. "We try to create interesting hikes for everyone," says Moran. "Some hikes are strenuous, one to two days of hiking, but others—like the one at Shaeffer Butte called the Old Timers Hike (two miles on July 1)—are for anyone."

And the hikes usually have a little of anyone and everyone: older people, younger people and in between, says Moran.

The ICL rates the difficulty of each planned hike on its schedule, which is available on the ICL's Web site, so hikers will know what to expect. But ICL cautions that all hikers should be in good physical condition and shouldn't forget to bring day-hike necessities such as water, snacks, sunscreen, a rain shell, first aid kit and sturdy shoes.

Generally the guides take the group through woods and meadows, hills and vistas. "Last month we went to Dry Creek," says Moran. "We went for a couple of hours and we saw birds and wildflowers, and it was lovely."

What could be better than enjoying our shared land and taking a hike in Idaho's splendor? See you at the hike, friend.

For more information on the Idaho Conservation League or its Summer Hiking Series, call 345-6933 or visit www.wildidaho.org.

Questions? Comments? E-mail sports@boiseweekly.com.