Tuesday, April 26, 2016

usbackroads destination-Highway 78 and CJ Strike Reservoir, Idaho


usbackroads destination-Idaho Highway 78 and CJ Strike Reservoir, Idaho

Just out of Mountain Home there was also CJ Strike Reservoir. In 1973 I got to know a United States Air Force couple stationed in Mountain Home.  They were the ones that introduced me to Bruneau Sand Dunes and also this spot CJ Strike Reservoir. In 1973, Boise had a population of about 30,000 people.  Today, the metro Boise area is 616,561 people. Places in southwest Idaho that were at the ends of the earth in 1970 have now more in common with Seattle and San Francisco than Idaho!

There are signs, signs, signs, everywhere saying mostly don't do this!  It is still a special spot. One just has to realize that you are sharing it with LOTS of people.


The CJ Strike is a wildlife management area. You will be sharing it lots of duck and upland bird hunters in the fall. And if you like hiking and walking without a gun there is a short window when the area is open to human entry and prior to the hunters arriving. Of course, you can always get a dog, blaze orange vest, and a shotgun and go for a walk that way.  Trust me, I have done lots of great walks with a shotgun.  At the end of those days, Bugaboo's eyes always ask "tell me again, why you thought this would be a good area for a bird hunt?". Notice that the area is closed for human entry until July 31st.


Outside of hunting season CJ Strike is popular for fishing. I forgot to mention that prior to fishing season it is bird watching season (with binoculars, not guns). Several these folks were out and about when I came through in late March. I almost asked if they would like Bugaboo to "point" some birds for them, but decided to let them find them on their own. Here is the link for CJ Strike on the Idaho Birding trail.

There are lots of campgrounds.  Including fancy campgrounds from Idaho Power to simple BLM campground. Here is the link to the BLM facilities in the area: Cove Area Recreation Facilities. The area is close to the BLM managed Birds of  Prey Conservation Area.  Be sure to download the PDF file on the Birds of Prey area. There is a link for the download on the Cove Area Recreation Facilities web site.

Idaho Power has provided several campgrounds in the area that have docks and other amenities for those people fishing. There are boat docks directly behind this campsite at Cottonwood Campground.


This is what the campground looks like.  A bit raw, but plenty of room.


And, of course, signs signs everywhere.  Did you notice that quiet hours start at 11:00 pm??  Must be a party spot in the summer. As always, click on the picture to enlarge.


Leaving CJ Strike I was heading west on Highway 78. Pretty soon, I saw BLM trailheads for trails heading out to the Owyhee desert and ,of course, the turn-off to Silver City.  After all these years I still have not made it to Silver City!  It looks like the town is growing again.  I pretty sure nobody was living there in 1973, but now it has FOUR businesses. Here is the link to Silver City, Idaho.

The Owyhee Mountains are full of stories. Here is a song written and sung by Ian Tyson: Claude Dallas.  And a link to a summary of the whole incident: https://thebluereview.org/claude-dallas-myth-comes-life/.  Lots of  interviews, tv shows, and other stuff if you search Claude Dallas on the net.

For natural resource agencies the killing of  Bill Pogue and Conley Elms was a wake up call.  Throughout the west there are lots of folks like Claude and they were always assumed to be harmless. The attitude was that the "wilderness" was a safe place far from the mayhem of the cities.  Here is a link to FS Law Enforcement killed in line of duty. The Fish and Wildlife law enforcement employees. The National Park Service law enforcement employees.  I didn't find any listings for BLM. Hopefully, this is not an oversight, but that BLM has been blessed.

The manslaughter verdict instead of murder did surprise and dismay many in the natural resource fields.

It is an interesting part of  the west.  These days it is right outside the third largest metro area in the Pacific Northwest. This corner of Idaho, Oregon and Nevada remains as it was for a hundred years or more.

Idaho in the 1970's ran a advertising campaign that "Idaho is what America was".  There are portions of  Highway 78 that remind of "Idaho before it became part of today's America".  

An interesting drive. I hurried through the area since the forecast was for snow in the Blues by nightfall. So my schedule was set so I hit Pendleton before the snowfall. Next time your in the Boise area, instead of I-84 try Idaho 78.

Last note.  I found this link to a western states travel map. It shows web cams, accidents, traffic advisories including the verbage on those yellow electronic signs, remote weather stations along the road, google traffic flows, and even mountain passes that currently require chains. The site is well designed.  You just hover over the symbol and a pop-up comes up showing the webcam or traffic advisory. Once you leave the symbol, the pop-up disappears.  

Great website.  It is non-commercial in nature.  Not sure who runs it....but thanks.  Invaluable resource for anybody that drives a road.