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Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Hosts Meeting to Build Community Amongst Guides and Outfitters

KAMIAH, Idaho:— On April 4 th and 5 th , around 60 outfitters and guides from 28 companies that connect the
public with the forest, mountains, and waters of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests met at the Supervisor’s
Office in Kamiah, Idaho. The Forest was joined by co-hosts which consisted of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides
Association and the Idaho Outfitter and Guide Licensing Boards. Micah Miller, the Acting Recreation Program
Manager for the Forests explained, “Our objective is to enable outfitters and guides to provide quality experiences
to the public and safely enjoy the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, regardless of their skill level.”


packed house attended the annual Outfitters and Guides meeting in Kamiah

This meeting, which has taken place regularly for 21+ years is unique to the Northern Region of the Forest Service.
While other forests meet one-on-one with guides, this opportunity to build community amongst the people who
administer (and work on) the landscape and the businesses that connect people with the land is exclusive to the Nez
Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Miller said that “Outfitters and Guides are pivotal in drawing visitors to our
forests and introducing them to the wide breadth of recreational experiences we offer. This meeting gives outfitters,
guides, and agency personnel an opportunity to meet each other, reaffirm our partnership, build coordination and
communication between land and water outfitters, line officers, and permit administrators. This annual meeting not
only builds mutual understanding, it also fosters a modern, streamlined program on the forests.

The meeting addressed a number of current topics, with an intense focus on the fee offset program. This relatively
new program enables outfitters and guides to perform maintenance on the National Forest in lieu of fees to the US
Treasury. The program, which is relatively new to the Forest Service, but outfitters and guides have already
maintained about 175 miles of trail, supplied Forest Service and other trail crews working in the backcountry, and
have performed many other actions that improve the recreating experience for Forest users. As of this year, the

Audience members listened attentively during the presentations

Forest ranked #3 in the nation in fee-offset trail maintenance accomplishments After a lunchtime barbecue hosted
by the Forests employee association, the Idaho Outfitter and Guide Association and the Idaho Outfitter and
Licensing Board led presentations and discussions. These included new changes in regulations for outfitters and
guides and a presentation by Idaho Fish and Game about their regulations and enforcements. Afterwards, a spirited
discussion took place of the dangers of unlicensed outfitters operating illegally and how self-policing through
community action could help ameliorate this problem. The day ended with breakout sessions with guides from
specialized areas such as river guides meeting with government staff who work in their area of expertise.

The second day of the meeting was for guides and outfitters only. Many of the same topics from the previous day
were discussed. Attendees shared expertise, provided ideas for improvement, and strategized for the upcoming
season. But, most of all, they built community around their shared experiences and their love of the landscapes and
resources of North Central Idaho.



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