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Good Old Days of Custer County
The Already Extinct Snake River Sockeye

by Staff
Challis Messenger, August 19, 2018

August 19, 1993

(Darin Oswald) Two decades ago the sockeye destined to become one of the most famous salmon in the West took a solitary 900-mile swim up the Columbia and Snake rivers. "Can I tell you it will work? No. But we're going to try." And so Senator Larry Craig led off yet another meeting to discuss the allocation of lands into wilderness. Craig, Senator Dirk Kempthorne and Second Congressional Representative Mike Crapo met in Challis Friday as a part of their statewide air tour of proposed wilderness acreage. All three politicians stressed the point that if Idahoans don't come together on this issue, someone else will decide for them.

Craig explained the governor and congressional leadership have put aside their differences to work together on a wilderness bill that will satisfy Idahoans as well as the national desire for protected acreages. Craig listed certainty of management (special management areas and release language for wilderness study areas), water rights, private property rights and no net loss of jobs as the four guiding principals directing the Idaho delegation's thoughts on crafting a wilderness bill. ...


Concerned Custer and Lemhi county citizens have joined forces with a group of Stanley Basin residents calling themselves the Sawtooth Valley Boosters to put on the first Sockeye Salmon Festival and Feed. ...

The purpose of the festival and feed is to bring public awareness to the possible extreme adverse affects of the "fraudulent and misguided" listing of the Snake River Sockeye as endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act.

The Sawtooth Valley Boosters are concerned with the future of the Sawtooth Valley and its residents. By bringing sockeye from Alaska for the fish feed and having keynote speakers from the legislature and congressional delegation address the attending audience, it is hoped the public will come to realize there is not a shortage or endangerment to the already extinct Snake River sockeye salmon. ...


The third sockeye salmon of the season has returned to historic spawning grounds on the headwaters of Idaho's Salmon River, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The 22-inch sockeye was removed from Redfish Lake Creek August 10 and transported to nearby Sawtooth Fish Hatchery.

Although earlier reports stated that both of the previous sockeye were males, biologists now believe one of them may be female. As the late October spawning time approaches, sockeye change appearance, and the sexes become more distinguishable. If it is a female, it will be the first one to return since 1991.

Last year, only one male sockeye returned to Redfish Lake. The sperm from the 1992 fish, dubbed "Lonesome Larry," was frozen in liquid nitrogen in hopes that some year -- possibly this year -- it could be used to fertilize the eggs of a returning female.

Historically, runs of sockeye numbered into the thousands, but in 1991 only three males and one female made the 900-mile migration from the Pacific to spawn in Redfish Lake. Sockeye were listed as endangered. ... Between 1940 and 1952, the Yankee Fork dredge extracted gold from the riverbed while destroying natural conditions along a 5.4-mile section of the river. (Express File photo)

August 19, 1968

Studies of the Idaho and Salmon River Breaks Primitive Areas in Idaho are soon to be undertaken by the Forest Service to determine their suitability for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System. ...

The 1,232,744 acre Idaho Primitive Area administered by the Forest Service's Intermountain Region is in the Boise, Challis, Payette and Salmon National Forests. The Salmon River Breaks Primitive Area, comprising 217,185 acres, lies just north of the Salmon River in the Bitterroot and Nez Perce National forests of the Forest Service's Northern Region. ...

The two Primitive Areas are separated by the Salmon River. A proposal which reflects the study findings will be published by the Forest Service and public hearings are tentatively scheduled late in 1971.


Personnel from the Challis Ranger District are continuing the watershed restoration work at the head of Garden Creek and Aspen Creek this summer.

About half the planned project was completed last summer. Last summer's work included construction of 2-1/4 miles of protection fence, construction of water retention furrows and trenches, and the reseeding of 125 acres of meadow. ...

August 18, 1943

The following communication was received by Dade Hughes, water superintendent of Challis, from H.C. Clare, Director, Public Heath Engineering, Department of Public Health at Boise, regarding the water supply of Challis:

"The City of Challis, Idaho, is to be commended because it has modern facilities for the treatment of water which it supplies to its citizens. Such treatment would insure safety of this water for use by these citizens. It has been known for years that the old belief in 'Pure Mountain Water' was and is a myth. Any fisherman or hunter who goes into the most remote areas finds that someone has been there before him and that his predecessor has 'left his sign.' It is also known that the water of mountain steams does not adequately 'purify itself' while flowing over rocks, etc. in the stream bed. ...

"The taste of chlorine in the water of any town that you might visit is an indication that the water is safe to drink. The taste of chlorine in the water of Challis is also an indication that your city officials have adequately provided for the safety of water they are furnishing for you and that your water superintendent is 'on the job.' ..."


BOISE -- H.A. Reed, 67, who has served nearly 11 years in the Idaho penitentiary for the second degree murder of G.M. Reed, Challis storekeeper, died within the prison walls Monday of last week.

Warden Sam Poarch said death was attributed to a heart attack.

The aged man was scheduled to be released from the prison next January 21. Serving a 25 years to life sentence, the parole board last December commuted his term to 20 years flat with time off for good behavior. Reed entered the prison October 21, 1932.


Forest Service News

Robert New is the new patrolman on Warm Springs Creek near Robinson Bar, and Bob said last Saturday that he and two bear accidentally ran into each other on the creek, one brown and one black. Bob said, "All I had to do was holler and they sure took off." He didn't seem excited about it at all.

Women play important roles in fire control on the Challis Forest. To date we have an even dozen on the payroll, classified as follows:

We are extremely well satisfied with the performance of all the girls and have full confidence in their ability and willingness to do their jobs well and conscientiously.

Those on lookouts and patrol are especially to be commended. Their jobs have heretofore been filled by men only, the lookout station being considered no place for women when lightning zigzags to earth and thunder shakes the buildings.

These are not easy jobs, as some may imagine, for there's plenty to keep a lookout busy. For instance, at Cougar Creek the United States Weather Bureau has a weather station for recording wind velocities, maximum and minimum temperatures, humidity and precipitation.

In addition the Forest Service has wood cylinders for measuring fuel moisture content. Observations are taken several times daily .... These data are radioed to the Weather Bureau daily during the fire season and from them the daily weather forecasts are made up. ...

Standards of detection are high -- a lookout is given 15 minutes to pick up a smoke. This means that the entire area of the circle, of which their lookout is the center, must be carefully scanned each quarter hour. A lookout's tour of duty is technically 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week. Actually they are on the job from daylight to dark and during storms at night they may be on the job a full 24 hours watching for strikes. No Sundays or holidays are theirs during the fire season. ...

August 18, 1943

Mrs. George Keyser of this city received the sad tidings of the death of her brother, Neil DeVore, last Sunday.

The young man met his death on July 25th in the second drive at the Marne. He had been in the United States Navy for seven years and desiring to get in the thick of the fighting, enlisted in the Canadian army when his enlistment in the Navy expired 10 months ago.

Although the young man has never lived here, still it brings the big conflict closer to home when a brother of one of our neighbors is taken by a Hun bullet. In extending sympathy to the bereaved ones let us remember that he died in a glorious cause and not in vain.


The Jack Bradbury bungalow just west of town is completed and is one of the pretty homes of the county. ...


During the hot weather the City Meat Market will be open on Sundays from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Positively no later than 11 a.m. ...

Good Old Days of Custer County; The Already Extinct Snake River Sockeye
Challis Messenger, August 19, 2018

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